Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Pantry Lifestyle - Deepening the Pantry?

Once in awhile I will have a new reader ask why I use the term "deepening the pantry" when talking about stocking up on food and essentials.  It is good to explain it once in awhile.

I have been interested in the subject for absolutely ages, probably because my mother kept a pantry as deep as possible.  When my father was alive, he worked in a job where he was laid off every winter so the family became used to stocking up when he worked and eating from the pantry, freezer, etc. during the months he didn't.

Then in the 1990s, I was an Administrator on a Survivalist website.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Except the website was geared toward women and most who took part in it were homeschool moms and small scale homesteaders.

I was a part of that website during the time many people were getting interested in "prepping" due to Y2K.  Through my own and their experiences, I learned what people actually used from the purchases they made to stock up "just in case". 

What did they actually use?  Those items which they would have in their pantry, anyway! 

As a result of that experience, I started using the term "deepening the pantry" rather than stocking up (and certainly instead of food storage!).  For you see, preparing for possible emergencies goes far beyond buying and storing.  Anyone with the money can buy stuff and put them on shelves.  Truly being prepared is to have extra of the essentials you use all the time.

My family used most of what we had purchased.  We gave away some pails of beans because (at the time), we didn't eat beans.  We gave away some food that was dehydrated, used some of it, and eventually threw some away (that was a waste of good money!). 

We could use all the extra lighting, candles, camping equipment, etc. that was purchased... and still use many of those items today.

That is why I have written that your list for purchases should be your own grocery list.  Use a list from a website only as a spark for your imagination and not to take to the store.  Don't purchase items others tell you are absolutely necessary if you will not use them (unless you have lots of extra money and space and can set aside items other people may be able to use).  For if you do not use them now, you may not use them in an emergency.

Now, having said that... it is a good idea to own and use some essential items.  For instance, an item like an oil lamp (or multiple lamps) is a good thing to own so you can use it now (for they are quite beautiful), one which you learn how to fill and light and keep clean when there is no emergency situation.  Don't buy an oil light and lamp oil and then store it on the garage shelf.  For should you have a power outage, it won't do you any good on the shelf.

You certainly do not want a learning curve for any product during a time of crisis.

It is a good thing I learned some lessons in the nineties for I have little income now for stocking anything extra.  However, because I know what is important then I can use birthday and Christmas money to make extra purchases of important items.

I believe the times we live in make it a very good idea to deepen your pantry as much as you can given space and finances.  If you feel God has set this on your heart, then definitely do not delay even if it means only purchasing one or two items a week "extra".   Think of those items that, when you run out of them, send you to the store immediately.

By the way, just recently I heard a pastor put down people who stocked up items for Y2K.  He certainly did not have all the facts.  Y2K was a nonevent because the problem was discovered in time to fix it before the crisis could happen.   By the end of 1999, most experts believed everything would be fine but there were no guarantees.

It doesn't take an emergency to the extent of the grid coming down for God to nudge you to deepen your pantry.  It is simply a good idea. It may only be a weather related emergency that keeps you from getting to a store for weeks.  We do live in an imperfect world.

The generations before us all understood the concept of deepening their pantry every harvest season.

So I will continue to preach the Joseph Principle that it is a good thing to put back extra of what we eat and essentials we use everyday when the sun is shining and the rain is falling and the crops are coming in just fine.   Great grandmother knew the joys that could come from a nice, deep pantry... and she didn't wonder how to use military MRE packages.


Gina said...

"The Joseph Principle" is a great way to put it. My husband and I like to pick up staples when we have room in the budget to do so - extra bread to put in the freezer, canned goods and frozen items we use regularly.

Thank you for your pantry posts; I find them to be encouraging and informative :)

Scrappy quilter said...

Great post and one I believe in. We lived off our stocked pantry a number of years ago she hubby was out of work for a year. I am so thankful I listened to that still small voice.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

Granny's survivalism included dry soup powders

Time to time we ate it too.

Then again, when I was very poor but still in the apartment, I ate what was left.

Leslie said...

This is very enlightening to me, but what wisdom!! Thank you for explaining this term I've never heard. I will certainly consider deepening my pantry now. Our area did have a terrible c risis 5 years ago with a massive ice storm that left us and the whole state without power or much fuel (that is if you could get out to drive at all!). Many families including our grandparents in the countryside were without power for 2 weeks! (Thank God they did have a generator.). We were all forced to live on what we had in our own kitchens, because everything had shut down. After that our family has been much more aware of our resourses this time of year. Again, I loved reading this post of yours!

Debby said...

Love your Saturday pantry posts!!! I Grew up with our Grandmother after our Mother passed away, we didn't know anything else but going to the cellar/pantry to do our weekly shopping :) Love, love, love our deep pantry :)

Terra said...

I agree with your suggestions about having a deep pantry, and using your grocery list as a jumping off point. One thing that concerns me is having drinking water. I am thinking of buying a water filter that doesn't use electricity. Any recommendations?

Living on Less Money said...

I always enjoy your posts on 'deepening the pantry'. Have you ever written about your menus and how you approach grocery shopping on a small budget? I'm always trying to learn more. We are on a special diet for medical needs which makes ours more challenging.

Nanna Chel said...

Lots of good advice there. Here in Australia we regularly have natural disasters and are encouraged to prepare an emergency kit etc each summer. It only takes a couple of days without trucks coming into cities with food for the supermarkets before some people panic. It pays to be prepared.

Jennifer Williams said...

Thank you for your pantry posts. I love them! They are very encouraging and inspiring. :-) God bless you!

sherry said...

I've slacked off a bit in keeping our pantry up to date and organized. Thanks for this reminder and encouragement.. I use a permanent marker to write the dates on can labels so I can be sure to use up the food before it may turn bad. Yes, even canned food can take a turn for the worst. Good point to stock only what you normally eat!!!

MachelleH said...

Thank you for the post. I love the term Deepening the Pantry and the reminder to stock what we eat and eat what we stock.

Anonymous said...

My hubby worked for a nuclear power plant up until Sept. 1999 and YES indeed Y2K was fortunately discovered in time to fix it. Smaller power plants did not do so, and were covered by the larger ones during that time. But probably no one not working in them knew it. It could have been very bad. We too stocked up some, but now living as we do, have very little extra. And not sure how it will be in near or far future and now on a fixed income...very hard to know. We have to trust that GOD will guide us day by day...but what you share is indeed a good idea.

Soozie4Him said...

Brenda, so glad to see that you're back from your Christmas vacation! I'm interested in deepening my pantry and I have encouraged my grown daughters to keep things on hand in case someone gets a stomach bug - canned chicken noodle soup, crackers, jello, ginger ale, etc. But I have a question - we've thrown out a good deal of food when we lost track of the expiration dates. Most food is probably okay to eat past the date, but how do we know how far past the date and what might make you sick? How do you handle expiration dates??

moot96 AT aol DOT com

Gina said...

I have been just thinking that one of my goals this year is to get a better handle of my pantry. I have slacked this past year and it is time to restart. Once a person gets used to a well-stocked pantry, bare shelves feel like living life on the edge!