$avings $aturdays...Using Up Our Old Pantry and Freezer Items

1942 Armstrong Flooring Advertisement
 This year I am starting the first three months by using the oldest things in my pantry and freezer and only buying fresh milk, eggs, produce and maybe a “hot deal”.  I have spent the last year using up items we don’t use a lot or that have gotten too expensive so my pantry has less infrequently used items and more of what we use all the time.  It’s also easier to keep track of.

Some of my pantries..
Clockwise, top right: 2009, 2010, 2015, 2022

I'm a firm believer in the "pantry principle", I shop to restock my pantry and freezer with basics and good deals and cook from the pantry and my freezer instead of shopping for a weekly menu.
I don’t take an big inventory of my pantry anymore…every time I use something, I count the quantity still left on the shelf and check it against my spreadsheet inventory when I take off the item I use.  My husband is excellent about telling me when he uses something; he often leaves a scrap of the wrapping with the item name on it by my computer so I can take it off the inventory.
I keep an organized list of the things I regularly buy, along with the last price I paid for the amount I bought.  What I have added to that inventory spreadsheet for the last several years is a column that calculates how much of each item we have used.  I transfer the yearly amount we have used to my next year’s spreadsheet.   This information helps me focus on buying amounts we will actually use and also what needs to go on the menu.
I usually keep just staples like baking supplies and canned goods in my food pantry in quantity.  I only stock one extra of condiments, oils, and things you wouldn’t absolutely need in an emergency…just enough to not force a trip to the store just for that item.  I store the oldest items in front; boxes of like items help in this effort.
You may also want to start keeping track of what you throw away - what can you do to eliminate that waste?
Treat your household as a "business" - and become a better steward.


  1. I absolutely adore looking at pictures of pantries! I've even cut out pictures of old-timey pantries and/or shelves of preserves in root cellars. These are taped onto the inside of my kitchen cabinet doors where I see them often. I spent several minutes this morning gazing at the pics of your pantry in the various years. Thanks! :o)

  2. Not as disciplined as you but always stock up for winter. I do inventory meat in freezers.
    I am also using up random items.
    Love the kitchen photo from 1942. Looks like there are some kind of bins behind kitchen sink. Never seen a set up like this.

    1. The 1942 pix is obviously a dream kitchen...my dad and grandfather were building contractors and I never saw anything as nice as those old Armstrong advertisement kitchens. What kitchens of that era did have was pull-out breadboards, pull-out flour and sugar bins that would hold 100#...I'd like that again too! Women cooked and baked regularly back then and their kitchens were designed for it.

  3. Great tips for pantry management...Thank you! Jen in NS


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