How to Stock Your Pantry

How to Stock Your Pantry

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Emergencies can happen at any time and without warning. Many of them can be extremely scary situations, and if you aren’t prepared, things can get even worse. This is why you should have a pantry stocked with foods before the storm so that your family has something they can fall back on until your situation improves. Follow these tips to learn how to stock your pantry. 

I call my pantry my in-home grocery store. There is something about not having to run to the store for a can of this or a bag of that. Whatever, it helps me stay out of the grocery stores. I still have to go get milk and bananas for Mark’s cereal each morning, but that’s it for most days. In case you missed this post, Cooking From Scratch 101

How to Stock Your Pantry 

Are you afraid of being labeled a “doomsday prepper” like the people you see on tv? You shouldn’t. Having an emergency food pantry is actually a pretty smart thing to do and has nothing to do about living in fear. Get to work stocking your pantry with these tips.

How to Stock Your Pantry

1. An Established Pantry Takes Time

For most of us, we simply cannot afford to go out and buy an entire pantry’s-worth of food with only one trip to the grocery store. It’s not a logical decision to make because you have other expenses to account for in your budget. Stocking a pantry takes time and planning.

Keep in mind that you will also be paying a lot more if you choose to go this route, which brings me to my next point. In case you missed this post, Canned Foods I Highly Recommend You Store

2. Look For Deals

I love a good bargain, whether it’s when I’m shopping for a new pair of shoes, or when my local grocery store has an awesome sale on all of their canned goods. You will save a lot of money by waiting for those deals and then stocking up, instead of buying everything at full retail.

Just try not to wipe out the entire grocery shelf by hoarding those items, because that won’t be fair to other customers. Please ask your grocery store managers to have “case lot sales” if they don’t already. If we can have them here in Utah and surrounding states, other states should have them as well.

Read More of My Articles  What Every Prepper Should Know About Storing Potatoes

It all depends on supply and demand, I’m sure. You may be wondering where I put all this food, I have some closets that I use to stock different foods. I have a small home, so that’s my life right now.

How to Stock Your Pantry

3. Only Buy What You Will Eat

You know your family better than anyone, so don’t waste your money on food that you know your kids won’t touch, even if their lives depended upon it. Those canned mushrooms may seem like an incredibly good deal at the time, but if you’re the only one eating them, it won’t do your family any good. Stock your emergency pantry with foods that everyone enjoys.  

4. Keep Allergies in Mind

For those of you who have family members with food allergies, I’m sure that you take their needs into account every time you’re at the grocery store. You’ll want to do the same when you are creating a stockpile for your pantry so that they have something healthy to eat as well.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t still stock up on some of those food items for your other family members, but you will want to keep them in your pantry separated so there’s no mix-up. 

5. Have a Variety 

It’s actually a pretty big deal to have a variety of foods that your family can eat during an emergency. Your situation may already be tough and boring enough as it is, and if all you have are cans of fruits and vegetables to hold you over, that will be one more reason for your kids to complain.

Instead, have a variety of pastas, grains, nuts, and snacks for emergencies, so that you don’t end up with food on your walls. 

6. Buy in Bulk

Purchasing foods in bulk makes a lot of sense for large families. It saves them money on items that their family eats a lot of, and it means fewer trips to the grocery store. Consider buying foods like bagged rice, dried beans, and peanut butter that you can keep in your pantry. You will get several meals out of them by creating different dishes with these items. Bulk buying usually saves money too!

7. Preserve Your Grown Vegetables

You don’t have to rely completely on the grocery store for all your emergency pantry needs. You could also preserve the vegetables that you grew from your garden and enjoy them when they’re most needed.

Read More of My Articles  Food Storage Secrets You Need To Know

They taste better too! For those of you that have never canned before, I have lots of tips on my blog. In case you missed this post, Home Canning-Important Do’s and Don’ts

Dehydrating Posts I have done:

8. Have a Rotation System in Place

Non-perishable foods may have a much longer shelf-life, but that doesn’t mean that they never go bad. You will want to have some type of rotation system, so that you use up anything that may be nearing its expiration date.

At the same time, you will want to replenish that item with more product, so that your pantry doesn’t start to thin out. 

One way of doing this is by keeping the older dated items on the front of your shelf, and then when you purchase more similar items that have a new date on them, placing them behind the older ones.   

9. Stock Up on Non-Perishable Food Items 

Now that you have a better understanding of some of the do’s and don’ts when stocking your pantry, you need to purchase foods that will last you a long time. Here’s a closer look at some of the non-perishable food items that you should consider stocking up on. 

  • Canned fruits and veggies
  • Canned soups and stews 
  • Canned meats (beef, chicken, turkey, fish, etc.)
  • Canned or dried beans (great for chili if it’s cold outside) 
  • Boxed pasta
  • Rice 
  • Tomato sauce and paste 
  • Vinegar
  • Oatmeal (as long as you have a heating method if the power is out) 
  • Powdered milk 
  • Spices (salt, pepper, cinnamon, sugar, etc.) 
  • Condiments (mustard, ketchup, mayo, bbq sauce, hot sauce) 
  • Applesauce
  • Protein bars 
  • Beef sticks, jerky
  • Nuts, trail mix, ( keep in mind food allergies) 
  • Peanut butter (most families with children can’t go without this food item) 
  • Honey 
  • Snack items: Chips, snack cakes, fruit snacks, candy, etc. (It’s okay to fall back on comfort foods during an emergency. Just remember that most of them don’t store for very long so you will want to rotate them out regularly.)

In case you didn’t know, I was asked to write a book called, “Prepare Your Family For Survival”

Final Word

As long as you follow these basic steps, stocking your pantry can be easy while saving you money. It also prevents those last-minute extra trips to the grocery store. Your family will also be left with one less thing to worry about if an emergency situation were ever to happen to you.

What are some tips you have for how to stock your pantry? May God Bless this world, Linda. 

Similar Posts


  1. You definitely want to eat the preparedness steak one bite at a time because it will choke you financially.

    I remember as a young teen I earned a few dollars working a field for a neighbor. I took that and bought a box of 22LR, several cans of beanie weinies and a metal Boy Scout canteen and threw it all in a pack that I’d been given.
    My thought process was well I can make it a few days on this even if I don’t get anything else.

    If you spend a buck and buy 2 cans of vegetables then look at it like this: I can use that and a fish I catch or a squirrel/bird I kill combined with the Indian onions I allowed to grow in the yard to make it through one more meal for the family. Might not be what you wanna eat but you ate and fueled the body.

    The next buck gets a bag of rice. The next buck gets a can of fish. Now you ain’t gotta worry bout catching a squirrel and can stretch that meal into a belly filler with protein.

    Remember: Hunger Makes a Good Cook

    1. Hi Matt, oh my gosh, you rock as always! You can see at a young age you were on the right track of survival. I used to teach classes on food storage, and emergency prep. People would say I don’t buy anything in cans. Really, not even olives? You get the drift. We have been spoiled to have fresh everything well that’s not always going to be the case. I love the preparedness steak one bite at a time because it will choke you. AND, the Hunger Makes a Good Cook! I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! Linda

  2. Linda, another GREAT post. We try to only buy extras on sale, but if we run out of something we “need” we will pay full price. I guess you could say I’m cheap. LOL I think frugal. I also don’t buy just name brands. I buy what’s good no matter the brand. From food to clothes to appliances. Brands have never mattered to me. I like what I like. I’m planning on Spring cleaning later this week. We get our Covid shot today at 10:00 am Central time. I’ll see how it goes. Spring cleaning means the pantry as well as everything else. It may take all Spring, but it needs to be done. I’m hoping I can enlist hubby’s help.

        1. Hi Deborah, I hear you, I like to declutter. I love cleaning bathrooms, dusting not so much. Mark dusts the house and mops the floors, we don’t have any carpet). I love a clean house too! Linda

  3. Hi Linda,you are so right on most of these items! Just some food for thought! My daughter was having problems in her food pantry with small flying/crawling bugs. We would clean it out,get rid of the bugs and after awhile they would come back. Frustrated, she called a pest control co. He said that he used to work in a grist mill and knew these pests very well. They were Weevils. They were coming from her organic flower. Organic flower!? Yes! Since they do not use pesticides or herbicides on the growing plants the weevil eggs are very prolific in organic flower. So we decided to freeze the flower then keep the bags in a different cupboard in a plastic bag. So far so good.
    Thanks God Bless and stay safe…

    1. Hi Bill, oh my gosh, you know I never thought about this!! Weevils! It makes total sense, no pesticides or herbicides, bingo! This is why people put their flour in the freezer to kill them. I can’t put a 50-pound of flour in my freezer, there is not enough room. I do not get weevils BUT, I cannot find organic bread flour. This is why I do not have weevils. I have flour with pesticides and herbicides, this is a bit hard to swallow. But it’s a fact. Why didn’t I think of that! I swear I learn something NEW every single day. Thank you, my friend, Linda

  4. I live in Florida so a 50 lb bag of anything would go bad here! But I buy regular flour in 5 lb bags, freeze it, then vacuum seal the whole thing, paper bag and all (to keep the dust from sucking in to the vacuum sealer). Then I seal them into big plastic bins with tight tops, and put them in the storage shed. It works pretty well and so far we’ve not seen bug one.

    I have a pretty good sealer, and buy the pre-sized bags from one of the food bag companies. A gallon bag is a nice tight fit on a 5 lb. bag of flour. We do the same thing with sugar, etc.
    It’s more expensive than buying in bulk, but there are only two of us.

    1. Hi Tracie, I understand buying only 5-pound bags, I live in the desert where it’s really dry. I can purchase a bit more safely. My daughter lived in Maryland for a few years and she had to put in a de-humidifier. I have two humidifiers going here year-round. She had to keep cereal in the frig, crackers in the frig. It was a learning curve for both of us when I went to visit her. I would do the same thing you are doing. It’s all based on the humidity for sure. Great tips! Linda

  5. This is a great post. One thing that will help avoid or even eliminate the bug problem in things like flour is to keep it in continual rotation. I don’t have any flour stored for long term so I only purchase enough to have for current baking. When I start running low, I put that on my grocery list again. I did vacuum seal some flour with my FoodSaver (youtube video by Homestead Corner). It has been sealed for a few months now (08/2020). I am planning to open it in 08/2021 to see how it fares! If it is good, I will do this with more flour but I wanted to have a test first. My second test I plan to leave for 2 years. I did not freeze the flour first as my only freezer is the top of my apartment sized refrigerator so not enough room to freeze extras.

    I’ve also read that bay leaves in your pantry can help keep bugs out. Cucumber peels will keep ants away – save the peels and just lay them on the shelves. They will naturally dehydrate then you can toss them into the composte.

  6. One thing I can say about the crazy prepping non- preppers did? The “almost expired” canned goods were almost entirely cleaned out from supermarkets! I am seeing things best by 2024/25 already!
    I am moving in three months. We have been eating out pantry here and saving the money that we normally spend for a huge restock at our next house. The restock will be costly, but all “fresh”. This is a great reminder list Linda. Thank you.

    1. Hi Janette, it will be nice to not have to move the pantry food or at least less. It sounds like a great idea to save money and buy “fresh” when you get to your new home. Thank you for your kind words, I wish you luck in your new home. Change is good. Linda

  7. When I am fairy comfortable with my Food pantry I try to buy “extra’s” things I might not buy but found them on sale. I just bought a case of pimento’s for $2.49. That way if we do have a emergency that doesn’t mean my food has to be dull, It will have color to it. I am also like you I would rather shop in my pantry instead of going shopping in a store.

    1. Hi June, a case of pimentos for $2.49!!! SQUEAL! That’s awesome. This is why I buy pineapple and olives. I love to fancy up my meals from my pantry! Life is so good! Linda.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *