My own "pantry" started out of necessity. The Lord of the Manor suffers from degenerative bone loss and it became unsafe for him to go up and down the basement stairs. We needed to move our canned food storage to the main level. Then the pandemic of 2020 happened and we re-evaluated our vision of what the future held for us and decided we needed a working pantry.
A working pantry is different from a Prepper pantry. We're not prepping for the end of the world. We're preparing ourselves to weather financial and/or medical difficulties. We're "prepping" to be prepared for every day life. There's a bit of a difference.
We selected the bedroom that used to be my home office before I moved to the sunroom. Since I wanted to do some home canning, we decided wooden shelves would work better than metal. We measured the space on either side of the window, measured quart and pint jars, measuring commercially canned items, and built our shelving units accordingly. We used a cleat system to be able to easily adjust shelf heights depending on what jars I use.
Mason jars should not be stacked. With that said, I will stack the small four-ounce jelly jars because one, they don't weigh much, and two, it's only jelly which won't ruin a meal if a jar loses its seal. I will never stack quart and pint jars. One thing we did do was make a few wooden U-shaped inserts to slide over pints so that we could "stack" a second tier of pints to conserve space.
Once the shelves were in place, I carried all the canned goods up from the shelves in the basement to their new home and took an inventory. Setting up the spreadsheet was a good way to know what we actually had on hand and where the holes were in what we use all the time.
An added bonus was I was able to move appliances we don't use every day out of the kitchen cabinets to the pantry and free up a lot of space to better access what we do frequently use. That was a definite win!
When the pandemic hit, we set a goal of having a six-month supply of necessities on hand at all times. Our necessities are not only food, but also first-aid items such as bandaids, laundry supplies, pet food, garbage bags, fuel for the grill, fuel for the John Deere 1023, fuel and oil for the chainsaws, and his medications.
As of this writing, we're not quite there but getting close. It's not possible to build a pantry in a week. We made the plan and earmarked an extra ten dollars a week for pantry building with the stipulation we would obtain the items on our list as they went on sale. There were times when we exceeded our budget, such as last summer when fresh apples were harvested and at the produce stands, but being flexible in other areas balanced it out. Having canned apples for apple pie was wonderful!
Then there is the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are prepared for unseen events. Snowed in for three days? It's not a problem if you can "shop" your pantry.
If you're reading this, I urge you to develop a working pantry. You owe it to yourself to have that level of preparedness. Get creative with your space if you need to. Keep it budget-friendly and stock only those things you actually use.
It's not about hoarding. It's not about doomsday. It's about being prepared.
The Lady of Holly Tree Manor