The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Pantries and Preparedness. A review.

The other day I was reading A Prudent Homemaker and she posed a question. If this was the last month to stock up for a while would you be ok? mmm
It's an interesting post about filling the "holes" or gaps in your supplies which can be found here.

To top it off then I read another thought provoking post by Brenda at Coffee, Tea, Books and Me. She wrote a beautiful article about helping others and your pantry. And she also has observed the same thing I have. That so many people seem to feel a strong desire to stock up. Helping others when you have a small income. Lovely.

So all this made me do a review. A serious review!

It was November/December last year when I first felt that I need to start stocking up. It was one of those things where you have a feeling and it keeps popping up. It won't go away. Pretty much anytime I have ever ignored one of these persistent feelings things haven't ended well. So I kind of take notice now.
Then somehow I mentioned it to Wendy that I have a cellar and after almost three years living here I did not use this. It was dark and dusty, down very steep steps and intimidating. Also it was set up for wine. So I had just kind of ignored it. Also it is small. Not like a room or anything more like a toilet sized room.
Wendy replied she would just LOVE having a cellar and found it such an exciting prospect that it made me realize how lucky I am and was another sign I should be filling this cellar!
So that is how it started.

Next I started reading blogs and trying to learn what it is good to store, how much and about preparedness generally. I was really starting from scratch! As I read I consistently saw other people like myself who had recently posted comments saying exactly what I had experienced... the consistent feeling that they should start stocking up. It was a funny feeling. I was reading comments that I could have written myself. Hundreds of them.

I already had quite a few jars and tins full of basics. Pasta, flours, beans, herbs and so on.
A cupboard full of tinned goods, sauces, mixes... cooking basics I use all the time.
Probably you would say a normal pantry for a person who cooks from scratch.
There is a whole shelf of homemade jams and things from summer.

From this decision I began to add to the kitchen supplies and stock the cellar.
I also have added to our first aid and medicine supplies and added first aid, torches and pure wool blankets to my car and Andy's van. I found the spare blankets at op shops and washed them up.

Cleaning out the cupboards was one step. As Wendy posted on The Cheapskates Club removing non food from the pantry is a good idea. You think you have good supplies then you remove all kinds of stuff you have stashed in there and suddenly it doesn't look so full! In my case water bottles, thermos, picnic plates and all sorts came out and I found new homes for them. Then I just started to gradually fill up the spaces created with things we use including canned goods, oil, sauces, long life milk and so on.
I also filled up all my jars. Some were low and filling them all took weeks alone.

Inspired by Patsy I made over a huge trunk I had found and turned it into a blanket and pillow box. This half emptied my linen press. Now there is a shelf there that I can store spare shampoo, conditioner etc.

I added bars of soap to the blanket box, linen press and clothes draws. I chose nice smelling soaps and slipped them into every drawer I could. Mel had posted how her Grandmother had heard that soap and sugar were so sought after in WW1. She was married after the war. So she lined all her draws with soap. And WW2 started. She had stored soap, fabric and sugar in large quantities as her mother in law had told her how all these things were in great shortage in the first war. She listened! And during WW2 she had all these things and was able to barter with them as well. What a smart woman! So soap is in the drawers here. And it smells really good. Stored soap hardens and when you use it up it lasts ages.

In my laundry I cleaned out a cupboard and started to add laundry powders, toilet paper and other practical things.

I put several large jars onto my cooking bench instead of in the cupboard.
Andy built me a shelf and I added a row of large (free) jars of dry goods in the kitchen. So then filling them up was another project. I added a lot of herbs, rice, different pastas thanks to those jars.

All these things greatly increased what I have stored in the kitchen, pantry and around the house.
It has been gradual. You re home something and you have new space. I am amazed how many things I have shifted and again I find more space.

Around the house I have a lot of candles in the decor. They look nice, I have lovely candlesticks (op shops mostly) and if I need them there they are. But this also saves storage space.

Next to our beds we have torches, a lantern and there are lanterns on mantlepieces.

Above the entrance to the cellar we have a torch hung on a hook. If the power is out the cellar is dark! All our stuff would be so hard to find. I would be too scared to even go down there! So we keep a torch near the door.

Now to the cellar. This is how it looked on day one... I called it The Pit of Doom.

This is now. I call it The Shop. (Mimi got me started on this name and it has stuck!)

It is really difficult to photograph. On the left the closest half is all bottled tap water. Andy drinks soda water and when each one is empty I fill it with tap water. The rest is actual bottled water,  soda water, and I am using that side also for other bottles such as oil.

The shelves are canned goods. The bottom shelves are things like dish detergent, spare toiletries and so on. However I also have a decent bathroom cabinet so most of those are in there.

On the right you can't see a kind of cubby hole. In that there are candles, torches, batteries,  matches, making tape, tarps and garbage bags.

Behind the stairs is a small space. I have spare towels stored in blanket bags.
On the floor I have stacked sealed plastic containers. These are labelled and some have packet goods ie pasta, rice, tea..  I have another that is vitamins, pain killers, asprin and so on. Another is paper goods. Week by week I add to these. It is a work in progress.

Also there is a row of long life milk on the floor.

Around the top there is a gap that makes like a little shelf. I have a row of things like honey, various jars and tins right around the whole space. It holds a lot all up.

Now I have been working on this for about eight months. It has all been little by little and doing something each week. I can't say that anytime I ever did a spectacular amount. Just lots of little bits. Little bits really do add up!

Some of it I have managed by swapping priorities. I would rather add to my pantry than get a coffee out or buy new shoes. Taking every opportunity with two for one specials, gift cards, preserving, drying, swapping and you name it!

No one has a word to say if someone collects 5000 movies on DVD or 200 pairs of shoes. But if you start a decent pantry as a back up plan for your family someone will say something ie you are not trusting in God for provision. The movie collector is not trusting in Gods provision of movies either I guess. These people will be the first at your door if the shops are shut. A decent pantry is a traditional thing, not new, and our Grandparents were not told they were not trusting God or are fearful by keeping a pantry. If they were told that they would have thought the person saying this was nuts!
We all just got away from it as we came to believe in supermarket convenience. But in so many circumstances that all evaporates. A lot of people too have come to think the government will save them in any circumstance. The governments have debts up to their eyeballs. I don't think it can go on. In any instance that is true and the governments ask that we are all prepared to take care of ourselves as in the instance of anything big it can takes weeks for help to arrive.
We are told to be watchful and be like ants. To work in summer so we have plenty to get us through winter. It is just sensible.
In Greece or Venezuela I wonder how many people actually had an inkling that they should stock up and didn't? Imagine the difference between those who did and those who did not.
During this series I have had a continuous stream of lovely letters from people saying how their pantry got them through sickness, storms, isolation, money that never came through, rioting, job loss, flu breakout, banking not working, broken leg! and having to provide for others unexpectedly. Had they not stocked up they just do not know how they would have made it. They have my admiration for being able to provide for their families even through these times! It was because they planned and acted. To me that is prudent.

For the rest of September I am taking up Brandy's mission and looking at the gaps in my pantry. I am not interested in what the Kardahsians are doing, I am interested in what I need to add to my supplies!

If you are thinking about stocking up but haven't, truly, start. It adds up amazingly. I think if you are diligent in it you will be blessed. Like Teri who prayed that she could fill her jars and shelves and so much free food came in. She was so busy working on all that food! And this last week she is still going! She did not know HOW they would add to the pantry but now she has rows and rows of preserved produce. It might be that you find amazing specials, are given produce, find a tree covered in apples like Rosanne. You will see... you will be blessed and you will know it's because you are doing a good and wise thing.


  1. Dear Annabel,
    I love your shop! It's excellent! What incredible progress you've made. I am not as advanced in keeping as deep a pantry as many others. However I'm setting and reaching goals and it's so encouraging. All the letters you've mentioned are all reasons why it's just sensible to keep a rotating stock. A few years ago things were terribly lean for my sister & her family. Even with my pantry then I was able to give her a week's worth of food at a time including frozen meats I.e., roasts, chicken, ground beef, etc...and I didn't feel a pinch. I felt happy and blessed that I could help her in that way. We are God's hands and feet. I'm never afraid to give to others out of fear that I won't have enough for my family because it all comes from Him. I too am filling in some gaps and I'm feeling good about my progress.

    I love the movie true! In 2015 where I live it is weird to have a pantry like the one I'm trying to achieve. I know there are others, but they are far and few between and I don't know of another woman in my personal real-life circle who has pantry goals. I am so grateful for the supermarket, I AM dependent upon it. However, I approach it so differently now and I can frequent it less often due to the skills I am learning.

    I don't keep a pantry out of fear. I do it because it's my job. I do it because I'd rather have drumsticks this week for .88 cents/lb and buy enough for 2-3 months so I don't have to pay 2.29/lb as the store will dictate. I do it because it enables me to be generous in other areas. I do it because it just makes sense. I don't care if people think I'm crazy. One time my sweet sister-in-law opened my freezer and couldn't believe how much meat I had. She said "what on earth are you doing with all of this!?" I replied "feeding all of your nieces and nephews!" Lol!!!

    It's not hoarding. It's not "not trusting the Lord"'s just practicing common sense in keeping a household running. Our grandmothers, aunts, and great-grandmothers knew that. Every person who looks out for their family in this way should be happy with their efforts! Thank you sweet Annabel for such a wonderful post. This is good stuff!

    Much Love,
    Colette xxx

    1. Thank you so much Colette!
      It was so wonderful how you could help your sister like that. What a huge blessing you were to her. You are right, this is about providing for our family in whatever circumstance and helps us to be able to be generous.
      Thank you for your encouragement. I just thought maybe I should make a little sign "The Shop" to sweeten up the cellar. It would make me smile every time I see it.
      I love the supermarket too and I love grocery shopping. I always think of all the people who would LOVE to have the choices we have and be able to go get just what they need. This is not most of the world! Plus I love to find beautiful fresh produce, feel I am feeding the family well and healthy food, and find bargains that stretch the budget. All this makes a huge difference to our lives. Its fantastic! Like your drumsticks it is about making wise choices. We can do really well with a set amount of money or really badly! Its choices.
      I hope you are having a good week! With lots of love, Annabel.xxxx

  2. Congratulations Annabel, you are doing a wonderful job. Thanks to you, Wendy and Cath, I also have started stockpiling. Your Greece reference was so true, and there is nothing to say it won't happen in this country. God bless. Keep up the good work helping people realize that groceries or funds may not always be available in either good or bad times.Thank you sincerely, I really look forward to receiving your emails. Christine.

    1. Dear Christine, Thank you so much for your encouragement. I am so pleased to hear you follow Cath and Wendy and are building up your stockpile. All the times I have heard that who we associate with influences us so much so (even though mainly not in person) I know following them is good for me and encourages me so much too. It is a big help having weekly goals and reminders.
      I have found it helpful having a review and am amazed how little things come together and add up.
      Thank you very much for commenting. Love

  3. Another great post today, Annabel!

    I have always bought ahead as it is the way my grandmother taught me when I first moved out of home how to keep a pantry. This was 35 years ago, so keeping only three days food on hand (which half the population do apparently!) would make me have a meltdown I think!! That was back in more (relatively) secure times, so there is NO way I would not personally keep a lot on hand in the days we now live in. It is just prudent. It was always prudent to me, and it is sensible. I have progressed from keeping a full pantry to stockpiling in the past few years. I'd like to extend it to 1 yr ahead like Cath in the next 6-12 months.

    I don't like paying full price ever, and like stocking up when I see great deals. There are many Pinterest pins about starting pantries and stockpiles and adding just $5 or $10 a week. There are lists you can download. I would just buy items like rice or tuna or whatever, and mark off on the suggested list as I find great deals rather than week by week. But adding anything each week is better than nothing! Whatever works! :-)

    I am adding a bit more at present than I normally would. Being able to stay out of the shops over summer sounds enticing! Keeping a good back up is reassuring and helpful on many levels. It gives peace of mind being prepared!

    1. Dear Kaye,
      I have just started a pinterest pantries board... well I had one but now Ive started adding to it. I love finding good sites with information and ideas. Some of them are fantastic! I like printables too.
      You are right each week something is better than nothing. Sometimes I am watching out for something but something else comes on a great special so that is it then! You have to be flexible.
      It is so nice you had a Grandmother that taught you. It goes to show what we teach sticks!
      Thanks so much for all the encouragement you give me. With lots of love, Annabel.xxxx

  4. Dear Annabel...loving the photos. I think getting ideas on how to organise your stockpile is in itself, so inspirational. Just seeing how you and Patsy go about stockpiling is educational too. Similar, but different. I try to add just $10 to the grocery bill each week, for stocking up on specials. Sometimes that means a toiletries bargain or giftware, others it's basics like baked beans, tinned tomatoes and gluten free pasta. Whilst it doesn't look like much at the start, it's amazing how quickly it all mounts up. I keep saying too, that loyalty points programmes are wonderful if you play the stores at their own game and I know the U.S. ladies are very clever about this. Here in Australia, I accrue mine without buying things I don't need (which they constantly try to get you to do), convert them to Flybuys dollars, then ONLY buy what's half price over a period of time. That way I get to stockpile the more expensive things like toilet tissue, sanitary products, dog food, laundry detergent, and personal hygiene products like deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, dry shampoo, and so on. I love too, as you've mentioned, that at any time, I can visit my Shop, and make up a hamper for a friend or family member in need, or supply a box of chocolates or lovely body wash and shower pouffe` for an impromptu gift. Home made crepes, pasta and gnocchi are great to keep on hand in the freezer too not only for eating, but for gifting, and not difficult at all once mastered. If you can make one, you can make the easy! Honestly, you should see peoples faces when you give them a basket of home made pasta and sauce, and a shaker of parmesan, or crepes, chocolate sauce and long life cream, as a thankyou! It beats a bouquet of flowers any day of the week! Wonderful post. Love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi, Every time I say "the shop" I think of you. But its the perfect name and so lovely to have. As Colette did we can be instantly helpful to someone in need. I love that. Your hamper gifts are gorgeous. I agree, better than flowers. And more helpful.
      $10 a week used well is a great amount. The half price trick with the gift cards instantly doubles their value. I always do that even if I have to wait for the opportunity. Ways to increase abundance...
      Recently I have converted to long life cream. I love that stuff!
      Yes it all adds up really fast and in a while we have a shop!
      Everyday I see people and news where I think if only that had a shop they would be helped.
      With love and thanks,

  5. Dear Annabel
    Thanks for the great post! Very encouraging. Just a quick question with regards to your water in the bottles. You said you refill them with tap water.... Just wondering if that is then for drinking or for washing, animals or drinking yourself? Would you treat it with purifying tablets first? The water storage overwhelms me a bit. At the moment I am buying bottled water, preferably in glass, but it would be cheaper to refil as you have done.
    Love Heidi x

    1. Dear Heidi,
      The water I am refilling the bottles with I will refill at least once a year. I could use it, I would boil it. But it is really for washing ie the dishes or ourselves if water was out. The proper bottle water we will use for drinking. We are also putting in a rain barrel so we would have some fresh rainwater on hand as well. It is a hard task keeping enough water but some is better than none. So manybe think in terms of some to drink and some for cleaning. I am going to do a post coming up just on water as I have found out a few things lately that have helped me decide what to do next. Thank you so much! Love

  6. This is so inspiring! I love how your cellar is coming along! Our pantry has some "holes" in it right now because of my absence which I am working hard to fix. I like the idea of the soap bars in the drawers as I have been keeping mine in a storage box by themselves. This will free up some space. Also, thank you for the laugh about the DVD owners not trusting in God for their movie provisions... Very funny and true! Preparedness is very biblical! We could name many instances in the Scriptures... Happy nesting! :)

    1. Dear Jes, Thank you! The soap hardly takes up space plus perfumes the drawers. Also moths do not like perfume smells which is a bonus. My linen smells really good too!
      Preparedness and providing for your family are for sure scriptural. I think Noah was probably called a hoarder lol.
      I do have to laugh (or you'd cry) but it is true people will say things against preparedness but think collections of anything useless are totally fine. It's kind of funny. But weird. i am very thankful for your encouragement. With love,

  7. Annabel this post is wonderfully timed! I have been reading your thoughts on building up your pantry as well as some others, and felt totally inspired, and then completely overwhelmed. To see what you have built up in less than a year is so helpful, and knowing that you did it gradually is really quite comforting.
    I have always had an 'earthquake kit', which would see us through around 3 days, plus any 'regular' food we would already have had in the house. But the more I think about the implications of a major earthquake, the more I realise that to prepare for only 3 days is crazy! The power could be off for days, perhaps no water, and roads could be too damaged to travel safely on. So I really am determined to have good supplies.
    And of course, there are any number of other reasons that a stockpile might be needed. I recently updated our insurance policies, and the income protection policy states that there is a 30 day stand down period. So for 30 days you're on your own basically. A well stocked pantry could relieve so much stress.
    A supermarket here had a one day sale, so I bought 12 bags of cereal for $12 today, it makes me happy just thinking about it! I love your pictures, they really do make me feel like they are something to aspire to. I find it so interesting that some people find it odd to build a pantry (and that they feel the need to comment!), being prepared doesn't mean you are expecting the worst!
    Thanks for showing your pantry, it's looking amazing :)


    1. Dear Jen,
      I notice there has been a huge earthquake today off the coast of Chile. They make me nervous! It is really wise being aware of the main risks of the area you live in. If earthquakes are a higher risk for you then you are right to plan supplies for a longer period of time. And the way you store things too. You probably wouldnt want my glass jars!
      If infrastructure is badly damaged, roads, buildings... then power, banks, shops, water, everything can be out for quite some time. Kind of we dont even want to think about it! But you are right to build up really good supplies.
      Well done on the cereal! What a bargain! Just keep taking advantage of wonderful specials like that and week by week you will be surprised how far you get. Make water a priority too. I have a post I am working on about sneaky ways to add water.
      It is a really good feeling and an insurance policy.
      Thank you so much Jen! Love

  8. Good morning Annabel, I remember when you just started this project. You have done an amazing job! I am so happy for you.
    I've wondered the same thing about the people of Greece, I am sure with their money problems that many Greeks would love to have my pantry or my household stockpiles.
    Even if people think my stockpile is silly, I plan to continue and just rotate.

    1. Dear Rhonda, Thank you! Yes when I started I thought where do I start! It was daunting. Now I have come this far I love it! I am at the stage now whatever I need or run out of I think "oh I have some in the shop!" It is really nice.
      Yes, many people would dream they had made a stockpile in good times. When terrible times hit it is too late.
      Lots of love,

  9. Spot on! Dear Annabel ... you are spot on! I'll be sharing this post everywhere I can!

    1. Dear Patsy, Thank you very much. I am so glad you are back! With love,

  10. Brilliant post Annabel!!

    I loved seeing the photos of the progress you have made toward stockpiling your cellar. It is coming along really well, you should be proud of your efforts.

    Wish my pantry was so tidied and organised lol!


    1. Dear Tania,
      Thanks! You should be proud of your efforts! Your garden has my admiration. Yesterday we got a short time of pouring rain. Some people had hail! Some flooded. But the rain on the garden was good.
      I hope you are having a lovely week. With love,

  11. You're doing great and doing so much good with these posts!

    I am still trying to convince my children that they need more than 3-5 days of food in the house.

    1. Dear Lana,
      If your children do have the three to five days worth that is a start and more than many people. I am giving pantry related gifts at Christmas time. A gift that might fill a gap like a box of candles or a blanket or first aid kit can be a sneaky way of helping their preparedness!
      Thank you for your encouragement! With love,

  12. Annabel,
    Such a good use for that space, very creative. And very organized. I love the shelf with your cans! Did Andy make that? The one wall if you need more storage might I suggest one of those shoe organizers that you can hang over a door. They have good sized pockets and don't stick out very far. I am glad so many are feeling the need to stock pantries and bless you for all of your posts that help all to feel encouraged to do so!

    1. Dear Vicky,
      When we first started Andy was going to build me shelves. That very week we found these shelves on the side of the road! Luckily Andy has a van so we could get them. So they were free. I think they were shop fittings. Very heavy and strong. And they fit just right. Talk about meant to be!
      I do need something kind of flat on that wall. The pockets are a perfect idea! Thank you! I hate having a blank wall too. I will try and find some of this in the next week.
      With love and thanks,

  13. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into these posts! LOVE them!
    So very much appreciate them and you!
    Please tell us, that live in the states about the milk you mention.
    Does it taste ok?
    Cows milk? rice? Soy?
    You've encouraged me today!

    1. Dear Tootles,
      Thank you! From some other US girls I think you call it Shelf Stable Milk. Here we call it UHT or long life milk. It is in cartons. It comes in various milks ie full cream, low fat etc as well as alternative milks like soy, almond etc. It is sold here next to the powdered milk section. Also it is about the same price of normal fresh milk. Mostly the use by date is around a year. It is great! I like it in coffee better than fresh milk. To me it seems slightly creamier. The taste difference is slight. Try it once chilled. Once open you treat it as fresh milk. If you notice a difference start by using it in your cooking where you wont notice. But we are used to it and dont really notice it much. I think it is a really handy thing to have. Also I store evaporated milk in tins. That is creamy and great as a cream substitute in coking.
      I hope that helps. If you find it let me know so I can tell the other ladies what it is called and where to find it as it must be a less commonly used thing there. Here it is an everyday item and I never knew that.
      With thanks,

  14. Annabel, I love your blog! Keep up the pantry ones, because a new reader could come along and become inspired!
    Has anyone thought about baby wipes? If there is no water, they make a great way to get fresh and clean, and even if there is water, a way to wipe off sweat.
    Also matches, and seeds make great bartering tools.
    People have commented about lack of electricity and water, but what about heat?
    I live in an area where we get lots of snow and it's pretty cold all winter. I am pretty sure that pellet stoves need electric to work, so what about woodstoves? We have one and use it all the time for auxiliary heat. It's a good idea to have it installed safely ahead of time and know how to use it, as well as have access to wood. And if you have a woodstove, what about a chain saw and log splitter?
    Gotta keep those pipes from freezing!

    Good blog, Annabel!

    1. Thank you so much! In a cold climate keeping warm would be a major concern. Not freezing to death would be my worry. We do not get snow or below zero. So at worst we might be cold but not in a life threatening way. If we dressed warmly we would be ok.
      But for you and many people keeping warm somehow has to be planned. On the farm we always had wood heaters and a huge woodpile that would last for months. Dad has a wood stove. So I think of these old fashioned things being the perfect solution and always keeping a big wood pile. But in the city and living in units etc I dont know.
      I also have heard of the problem of there being plenty of water but it all being frozen solid! A source of heat is absolutely necessary.
      Thank you so much for commenting. With love,

  15. Wow...I remember when you shared your first pictures of your empty pantry. My how it has grown! I've always kept a pantry but it's not as deep as I'd like anymore. I've been gradually adding to it. This week I put five chickens into the freezer that were $.88/pound. In fact I just cut them all up this morning and packaged them in meal lots for us. I need to recheck my last pantry inventory list and see what my pantry lacks. Coffee for sure! Gotta have my coffee, lol.

    1. Dear Terri, Thank you! Slow and steady progress works!
      Well done on the chickens at such a great price.
      I have to have plenty of tea and coffee. Heavens in a crisis I would be wanting those!
      Even adding one thing a week adds up surprisingly. Just take every opportunity! With love,

  16. You should be really proud of you shop and how you have built it up over the last 8mths. Mine was good but lately I have used a lot of it to save money while I was off work. i am not complaining as it saved me money I didn't have to spend (well saved my credit card). Now I'm back at work it is time to slowly add to it again.
    Deb xx

    1. Dear Debbie,
      Your pantry has done its job and helped you through the time home. That is really good and as you say not using credit has probably saved you a lot. It kept you ahead. That is what it is for.
      Now you are back at work you have had a demonstration of how handy it is! Maybe also what was most useful and what you needed most of etc. Week by week you will build it back up. It is really a fun challenge and truly it is amazing how it grows if you keep at it. I have loved seeing my "shop" grow. I love that now I can run out of just about anything and I will have a spare!
      I hope you are having a good week, with love,

  17. Great Post Annabel and really love your shop, ive just started stockpiling so its baby steps for me. I really love reading through your blog and spent quite a few hours lately doing just that, Thankyou Annabel, very Inspiring :)

    1. Dear Karen, Thank you! I am getting to the stage when I need something I think oh its in the shop! So already it is saving me trips out to the shops (and money).
      Baby steps work! Truly it has all been baby steps and this is what happens after eight months! Have a wonderful weekend, love

  18. Thanks for a great post! I quit the rat race in March with my husband's blessing and encouragement and am now a homemaker for the first time at 53. I scoured the web for blogs about homemaking and yours was one of the first I subscribed to. I too have started to build my pantry, but am nowhere near your progress! My husband is on board with it, and every Friday when I grocery shop, I pick up a few extra can or packages to have on hand. I have a small freezer, and I would be scared to lose everything if the power was out for an extended time, so I don't have much meat on hand. I'm still trying to figure out what to do about that. Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for the advice and encouragement. Have a Blessed weekend!

    1. Dear Kathy, Welcome! I am so glad to have you here.
      I am always saying that many weeks I save at home more than I could earn elsewhere! It is amazing how we can do well, save and make life lovely.
      A full freezer will stay frozen a few days if not opened. If our power went out after a couple of days I would be cooking meat on the BBQ. But longer than a few days it would be lost. However I have only lost some once and it wasnt much so overall it has been a huge saving as I never buy meat full price, usually around half price. In the pantry I keep tins of tuna and salmon as something to use as a protein in a crisis. I need more though. I have beans too which are protein. But canned meat is something I think icky thoughts about so I have to figure that one out too!
      Thank you so much and I hope you thoroughly enjoy being at home, thrive on it in fact and that your husband loves it too! Love

  19. Dear Annabel,

    I think you have done an awesome job of utilizing the existing space creatively. Your pantry looks wonderful.

    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      Waving and smiling to see you. Thank you so much! Much of it is thanks to you. With love, Annabel.xxxx

  20. Also along with the baby whips or other personal cleaning items how about paper plates, bowls and utensils for eating? I know we don't normally keep these things but in a disaster who has enough water to wash all the dishes? Also many of the paper plates can be composted. Just a thought. Also the solar outdoor lights can be brought inside to use instead of candles. Put one or more in a vase. Or use the strings of them high above the sink or in the bathroom when lights are out. Each of us has ideas and we learn from each other. !! :-) Sarah

    1. Dear Sarah, I think that is a really good suggestion. You are right that when water is precious washing up could be just out of the question anyway. I do have some plastic cups but I agree this would be very helpful so I will add some disposables.
      I do have solar fairy lights. They work really well! I am thinking more solar things are a greta idea, even a solar battery charger.
      We sure do learn from each other. And each others experiences too.
      Thank you so much for posting this. Next week I will add this in for everyone to see. With love,

  21. Wonderful Post Annabel and thank you for the photos. It really helps in a practical way to read about your pantry and that ANYONE can start stocking one. You are right, it was considered "normal" to have a well stocked pantry but we have got used to other people thinking for us on so many levels.
    Love to all, Helen

    1. Thanks Helen! I wish I had pictures on Nannas pantry and I wish I could have seen her Mums and going back all the pantries. I know Nanna Bs Mum had a larder and cellar. I bet it was full of apples for one as I know they had an apple tree. Oh I wished I saw those things!xxx

  22. Dear Annabel, I, too, remember you starting to build your pantry/cellar. Thank you for sharing pictures! You have done a great job! It can be overwhelming but week by week, it adds up!!

    I would also like to have had some pictures of my grandmother's pantry. The pantry was right off the kitchen, with full length curtains to "hide" the shelves! Great memories!

    Being prepared is so important for so many reasons. And like you said, a little organizing helps to find extra space to store food/supplies in our "stores"!!!

    I enjoy all the comments, too! Love, Teri

    1. Dear Teri, my Nan had a curtain along the bottom of some kitchen cupboards. I loved that! So pretty.
      It was great having a review. I have done more than I thiught! Also I can identify the gaps to fill. Many thanks Teri, love

  23. I have been working on expanding my pantry by following you and A Working Pantry. When I was younger and having to raise my by then 4 year old son on my own, no child support, by myself I have always had some form of a pantry.It was hard at times but I knew how to make my money stretch, with paying child care and working 3 jobs every penny counted. Now 30 years later I still try to keep my pantry stocked. To be honest there are times I let things get a little low, but I am now on the quest to get my pantry really stocked because my hubby of 20 years will be retiring with in the next 18 months.

    1. Dear Tealady,
      I think we go through different stages but some things remain the same. I was a single Mum too. Well done on raising your son!
      I would agree now is a great time to stock up and especially with retirement in the pretty near future. But it is always a helpful back up.
      Eighteen months is a good amount of time too, to make a real difference in what you have stored. It seems certain items go on sale at different times of the year. You will cover them all over that a,punt of time.
      Thank you so much for commenting, love Annabelxxx

  24. This may be the best post I have ever read on being prepared for many scenarios. Your 'shop' is fantastic! You have noted very common sense reasons for stocking up on not only food, but basic supplies. This post is a 'keeper'.

    1. Dear Joy, I replied and it is one post down! Sorry! Love

  25. Dear Joy, Thank you so much for such kindness. I just discovered your blog! I am about to read... and I just saw a beautiful quilt you made. Have a wonderful week! With love,


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