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Attack of the Pantry Monster

As this reaches the blogosphere, my family and I are driving away on a week-long camping retreat to Maine....really it's my first extended vacation in about 15 years. To say I'm looking forward to it is an understatement!

My mother always made us clean the house before we went away...as a kid I HATED it, but there really is something mentally taxing about coming home from a week of R&R to a messy house. So I spent the last few days putting my duckies in a row and attacking everything with Lysol and the vacuum cleaner. In the process, I've been making note of some areas where my organizational skills are - ahem - lacking. The pantry is my current nemesis....we are really well stocked in there, but I haven't cleaned it and re-organized in, well....ever. I started to poke around for stuff that we could bring along for snacks and such, and found a bunch of Stage 1 baby foods. Did I mention that DS is 18 months old, and has been eating off my plate for the last 9?

It's starting to turn into my worst nightmare in there - stocked with food that I could completely forget about...thus flushing my fabulous savings down the drain. I've already had a few moments where I overbought on fruit and the week got too busy to bake, and we ended up hosting funerals for watermelon, mango, and bananas. I can't help it - I'm like a kid in a candy store when those sales flyers come in, and I have caught myself being a bit overzealous.

I think the process of menu planning will help keep me in check, even if I dive into the Once a month cooking pool I will be buying more with the intent of cooking it all relatively quickly. I decided to invest in a big whiteboard to hang over the stove - on it I can write up the menu plan for the week, with space for important appointments and a running list of "needs". It will force me to do my weekly menu by Friday or Saturday when the sales start, but I think I can handle that.

I'm also going to poke around for tips to organizing around the house. OrgJunkie.com has some useful tips on getting started (hence the name!). I'll be reading this post on organizing your pantry for ideas to attack my particular monster. And this article from MSN, The Emergency Fund You Can Eat has good quick-reference tables for storing foods, and reminds me not to go too crazy just because something is on sale.

I need to be thrifty AND smart...good habits now will help as our family expands, and I have more to keep track of. I'm going out to get that whiteboard today, and I think I will pick up some more Lock & Lock containers and wire shelf organizers while I'm at it. Coming home to a clean house AND a clean pantry would be HEAVEN!!

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Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

I find that menu planning helps a ton! Before I found Menu Plan Monday we wasted and threw away food that never got used.

By the way, check the internet--you can find recipes to use some of that baby food (like the fruits and veggies). We used ours up making muffins and such.


Anonymous said...

You should be careful using Lysol around the house - it's #1 on the list of cancer-causing household products. Just FYI...