Our spreadsheet has both food and non-food items on it, and a couple of cross-referenced columns for things we buy only at Sam's Club and/or Costco. Theoretically, I should be able to check the spreadsheet and see if we need to make a run to the big box store but it only works if I keep the spreadsheet up-to-date, which I've admitted to doing a not-so-great job of.
In this past year, we moved the pantry to an unused bedroom. The Lord of the Manor has some physical limitations and it's not safe for him to go up and down the stairs. Thankfully, our house is a rancher so building a shelving unit was both practical and easy for him. (Silver lining - the den is now all MINE.) The pantry is still growing as I add more home-canned items, but it will never be huge. If we have enough guests at once, plenty of room remains for them to sleep comfortably in that room and to easily grab a midnight snack of the Little Debbie of their choice.
In the future, we will likely add to the spreadsheet. We don't really know everything we have in the shed or in the bins marked "electrical" or "plumbing." It's likely we often purchase little things like fittings when we should have checked the bins first. I have a lot of gardening stuff and I really should keep a list so I know what fertilizers and weed killers I have on hand, and how old they are.
Taking the occasional inventory of the pantry is the only way I know to stay organized enough to be able to honestly say I'm saving time and money by having a working pantry. We won't go into detail about how well the pantry served us during the pandemic of 2020. Suffice it to say it did, and it's been worth all the effort we put into it.
Take the time to plan a pantry and begin to work your plan. It won't happen in a week, or even a month. Building it to a good working level takes time, but it truly is worth it. If you'd like to know more about how we set about getting ready, you can visit the static page in this blog at Building the Pantry.
The Lady of Holly Tree Manor