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Recently, a wonderful website called Keeper of the Home started a series about Cooking More Real Food. It is a two week or so series that focuses on ways that we can organize our lives, and in the process make the time to cook more real, whole foods. The first step in the series started Tuesday, and involved taking inventory of your pantry so that you can know what foods you already have available to you. I wanted to share my progress with you all, so you could get a glimpse into my life (/pantry).
- The first step in the process was to set aside some time to really go through your pantry. I would say it took me around an hour to an hour and a half to get everything taken out and then put back in again.
- Next, I cleaned out my entire pantry and dumped everything on the floor. You know what I see in this picture? Lots of room for improvement. I see myself as someone who eats pretty well, but after cleaning out my pantry I realize that we have a lot of junk. Please don't judge me for the large pack of diet cokes. We've really been working on cutting out artificial sweeteners (and had done a great job!) and then cokes went on sale, and we're going camping this weekend, and everything just fell apart! I will add though, that we've been drinking these cokes for the past two days or so, and both me and my husband have had terrible stomach aches. He's not convinced they are related, but I am! This will be our last pack of Diet Cokes for a while.
- Next up, I printed off an inventory sheet so that I could write down everything that is in my pantry. I tried to divide it up into categories so that things would be easier to find on my list when I'm using it later, but it is still a little messy. I did find some things in there that I didn't even know I had (like a full box of trash bags, organic almond milk, and an extra bag of whole wheat flour!) I also tried to combine things that I had more than one of if it fit. I combined two opened jars of peanut butter, extra containers of salt, refilled my brown sugar bucket, etc.
- Finally, I put everything back on my pantry shelves. Keeper of the Home also added the step of wiping everything down in the pantry, like the shelves. As you can see from my pantry, I have wire shelves so they don't really get messy. I did have some spilled honey on the floor, which I cleaned up and wiped out the corners, which can get kind of messy. Basically take the opportunity to clean it up before you put everything back in. Here's my after picture. I only wish I had taken a before picture so you could really see the improvement, but I'm happy with the outcome.
- After that, put the inventory list on the inside of your pantry door so that you can mark things off as you use them. I actually am in the process of making a "household" notebook, so that is where mine will be going. In order for the inventory to really be useful though, you have to mark things off as they are used to keep it current, so put it somewhere that you'll remember where it is and use it! I often put things on my grocery list and pick them up, only to find that I already had some at the house, so I'm hoping that this pantry inventory will help me to avoid that and thus cut down on the amount of things I am buying.
I am very excited for the next few steps in Keeper of the Home's Cook More Real Food series, so stay tuned for my documentation of my changes! The biggest lesson that I learned from this first step was that I have a lot of room for improvement in the kinds of foods that I buy, and I am very open to learning more and continually bettering my shopping and cooking habits! I think part of my problem is getting rid of some of the foods that I have that aren't good for us (like cake mixes and sugary cereal). Most of these things were bought while I was still playing the "grocery game" and I just can't seem to bring myself to get rid of them for some reason. We have literally had boxes of cereal since October that we haven't even opened, and yet for some reason I can't let them go! I'm really going to work on consuming/throwing away the foods that we have that don't move us in the direction of being healthy, so this pantry inventory was a great first step to see what I am working with!