I get a chance to see the wording people use in the search engines to find Laurel Plum Online. (My apologies to all of those trying to figure out how to fix their sinks aka “Plum a Home”. ) Since writing about organizing the pantry, there are frequent search attempts looking for how to set up or stock a pantry.
To round off the Kitchen Series, I want to talk about menu-planning and grocery shopping a bit. It seemed like a good time to talk about stocking the pantry for those who are looking for the information.
Printable Pantry Lists Out on the Internet
There are many, many lists out on the net that list all kinds of things they recommend you to have on hand in your kitchen. I advise you to ignore them. Most are not truly bad, but you can spend a lot of money purchasing the things on them only to have a ton of things go to waste. A friend compared lists like that to the big bridal registries that include all kinds of bar ware and the like, but then left off the simple practical things such as wooden spoons. The registry suggestions seem to make sense and everything on them sure look pretty, but the lists just do not really fit the way most of us really live.
None of us shop, cook or eat the same. I do not know what part of the world or country you come from. I do not know what grocery stores, farmers markets, personal gardens or other food sources you have available. I do not know what food sensitivities or health concerns you may have nor your health/diet goals. I do not know if you watch sales or shop in bulk. Neither do the list makers. Even comparing my pantry to those of a couple of friends living close by that do have the same culinary skills and food interests, our pantry staples are still very different from each other.
Most of the “how to stock your kitchen lists” look at the entire grocery store and include everything but the specialty items and branded boxed foods. There are very few people that use all of that stuff.
I can tell you a good way to develop a list that will work just for you.
The first and most budget friendly way is to forget pantry stocking for the sake of pantry stocking. Start planning your menus and limit your grocery list to the ingredients you need for the menus, plus as few other things as possible.
You will spend much less on your grocery bill and you will have much less waste. We will go more into menu planning and more into grocery shopping in the next few articles.
The ingredients you buy most often are YOUR staples. So, the next best thing is to start using a grocery list every time you shop and save them for a while. Then make a list of the items that show up most often.
I have tried many of the different ways of keeping grocery lists. I have used a simple notebook and pen, a list on the computer, printable grocery lists, software and several other ways that seem to work at the time. Honestly, I seem to always revert back to the simple 3 x 5 spiral notebook (this is the one I use) with a pen dedicated to that notebook. It always sits in the same place in the kitchen so it is readily available. There is not a right or wrong way to keep a list. As always, find what works best for you.
If you are looking for grocery lists, there are many to choose from.
- List Plan It – the total household planner package including grocery lists and menu planning pages
- WebMomz.com – simple and pretty printable
- WorkingMom.com has a printable and an online interactive version
- Squawkfox.com - direct pdf link to a printable
- GroceryWiz – online interactive wizard
- The Cookbook People – your choice of an online interactive pdf or printable version
- Mocha Bay Design – simple printable
- GroceryList.org – “The Ultimatest Grocery List” leaves nothing out
- Printable Checklist – simple online make your own checklist tool (click on add item and you will quickly see how it works)
- Real Simple Products – a pre-printed pad available at most Target stores
That should get you started.
P.S. If you came here using a search on how to stock your pantry, compare some of the pantry staple lists you have already found to the grocery lists that try to include as many typical grocery choices as possible. Don’t they look very much alike?