Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Organize your Pantry and start stocking up on Specials


How are you doing with your new Paleo habits? Are you steadily eating away at that elephant? Remember you need to keep reminding yourself until it becomes automatic.

Here's you're next habit. When you feel comfortable, then it's time to work on the next step. But not before. Don't rush this. Remember Kaizen is about changing your life one tiny step at a time.

Check the list below. If you are still working on some of these habits then keep doing that until you no longer need to think about them.  Only then are you ready to move on.  Nobody is rushing you and nobody is keeping track.  This is YOUR plan and you decide when you're ready.

"A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step"

. .... then another, and another.... Take your time, do it right, and you'll build a solid base for a lifetime of easy and healthy Paleo eating.

  1. I have bags in my freezer with bones and leftovers for stock, and I plan to make it regularly on my basics day.
  2. I have a large salad for lunch most days, and I plan to make eggs, chicken etc. for my lunches on my basics day.
  3. My freezers are organized and inventoried, and I make at least two extra meals a week for my freezer.
  4. I have a regular weekly shopping day, and I never shop without a list.
  5. I plan my menus and schedule cooking time each week, and I keep notes for future use.


Habit # 6 - Organize your Pantry and start stocking up on Specials

Today we're going to work on the money-saving part of this plan.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I don't use a lot of coupons and you'll never see me on the Extreme Couponing show, but I do try to save money on my food whenever I can without spending a lot of time and effort.

And I especially try to save money on non-food items to have more to spend on better quality food.

There are two parts to my plan. The first part is to start stocking up on basics when they are on special. When you've worked out a few menu plans you will have a good idea of what meals you want to cook on a regular basis and what food you will need for them.

A lot of this can be bought ahead of time and stored in either your freezer or your pantry.  And we all use a lot of cleaning and paper supplies that are always going on special.

This is actually a very simple thing to start.  Allow a certain amount of money from your weekly budget for stocking up.  If money is tight it doesn't have to be a lot.  People have started with as little as $10 a week and done this successfully.

What you do is when you are making your shopping list check the flyer for your store online.  Most stores have them now.  If not, you probably get one with your mail.

You don't have to shop at 3 or 4 different stores or drive all around town.  I'm not recommending any extremes here.

All you do is look for the loss leaders, and mostly these are advertised on the front page.   These are the things the store has marked down below cost to entice you in with the hopes you will then buy lots of other stuff.  ( Which of course you won't because you shop with a list.)

The way I look at it, you're shopping there anyway so you might as well check these out.  Because when we eat Paleo we don't eat a lot of processed food, there aren't going to be lots of food items every week, but there will be some.  And there are bound to be at least one or two cleaning and paper items on special as well.

If there is nothing available, don't spend the money on something else.  Put it into a special envelope or jar and keep it until next week.  What often happens is after a few weeks of nothing interesting 3 or 4 items come on special all at once, so if you've saved up on the lean weeks you will be able to afford to stock up in the good ones.

The second part of the plan is storage.

It's imperative that you have somewhere to keep those food items and supplies once you buy them. We've already talked about your freezer.  Today we're talking about storing foods that don't need freezing.

The normal option for these is of course a pantry, and if you are lucky enough to have one as part of your kitchen, then you are set.

Always put your new cans and boxes behind the older ones so the older ones are used first.  If you have a large pantry you can probably store all your extra paper and cleaning supplies there as well.

If you don't have a pantry then you will need to improvise, but there are lots of options.  You can use extra kitchen cupboard space if you're lucky enough to have it.  As you can see above, it's amazing how much you can get into a cupboard if you organize it well.

Then there is shelving or other storage areas you have in other rooms.  It doesn't have to be in the kitchen.  It just needs to be somewhere relatively easily accessible. You can convert an unneeded closet in another part of the house into a pantry like this one from inmyownstyle.com where you can read all about how she set up hers.

And at pinterest.com you can find other interesting food storage solutions like this shelf unit set up in the basement.

If none of these option are available, then you just need to get a bit creative. A small shelf unit can be covered with a round circle of wood and a table cloth as above, and used in just about any room.

There are very nice looking storage units that can do double duty in your living room such as this one, and smaller ones that can be used as end tables as well.

You can even use your garage for some storage as long as the temperature is not too hot or too cold.  Ceiling storage like this is a great way to use wasted space and is especially great for cases of bulky items like paper towels or toilet tissue.

Here is a nifty gadget you can install that can be lowered for easy access from beyondthegaragedoor.ca

And of course there is always under the bed.  Don't laugh, this is actually a pretty reasonable alternative.  You can get neat little rolling units that fit right under each side of the bed and you will be amazed at how much you can keep in there.

 One word of caution.  If you are using space other than a pantry that is easily accessible, keeping a list of what you have stored and where is absolutely vital.  Keep it where you keep your freezer list and use it the same way, recording each time you add or subtract. You can probably find one to match your shopping and freezer lists so check those links first.

Here is another one that you can print out : http://organizedhome.com/sites/default/files/printable/notebook_food_inventory_larder.pdf

You don't want to be like a friend of mine who found 14 cans of smoked oysters under her bed when she moved. The "best by" date had expired over 10 years before! Little wonder her cat loved hiding under there.

 So to summarize, your new habit is to set up a storage pantry area and to start stocking up on specials when you see them.  How much or how little doesn't matter.  What matters is that you start.

 Oh, and yes.  Use them when you need them instead of going out and buying at regular prices.  This is not an emergency stash, it's smart everyday shopping.

The next time you shop in your pantry and not in the store you can pat yourself on the back and say ....

 “Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw

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