I didn’t spend much time thinking about having a prepared kitchen until 2020 happened and we ran very low on things we really needed. That changed my mindset a bit, so today I’m sharing how to make a prepared kitchen.
I think the last couple of years have changed the perspectives many of us have held. I never thought there would ever be a supply shortage on goods and supplies we needed.
Never did I think that we would be rationing toilet paper and flour.
I’m not one to fill my home with items we don’t use on a regular basis, but I have started making sure that things we do use are always on hand.
This doesn’t mean that I go out and buy everything on the shelf. Rather, I purchase a few extra every time I go to make sure that if there is a shortage, we have what we need to get through the next few weeks.
We have six people in our family, which means we go through a lot of toilet paper and a lot of food since all of our meals are eaten at home.
What items should you stock up on for a prepared kitchen?
In a prepared kitchen, you should have items to pull from that will have a long shelf life. Be sure to choose items that you will actually use.
For our prepared pantry, I have items that we use on a regular basis. I simple doubled (or tripled) up on the amount I purchased so I could tuck some away.
I prefer not to buy things that will go to waste, or that we won’t eventually eat. For example, I won’t buy a bunch of ramen simply because it stores well.
I’d rather have beans and rice because we will, eventually, eat all of those things.
What are good Prepper Pantry Items?
A prepper pantry is one that has a reasonable amount of food in case there are short-term shortages. I was ill prepared during the initial supply issues during 2020 and I’d rather not have to experience that again, so I add a few extras here and there to keep our “extra” pantry filled.
I like to choose items that are easy to store and that won’t go rancid.
- Canned goods– beans, fruit, tomatoes, rotel, corn, tuna, etc.
- Jarred goods– pasta sauce, salsa, pesto, etc.
- Dry goods– pasta, rice, beans. oats, etc.
- Sauces– maple syrup, honey, ketchup, bbq sauce, etc.
- Baking goods– flour, yeast, sugar, etc.
- Bakery items– bread, buns, etc. (these go in the freezer)
- Deli items– lunch meat, hot dogs, cheeses (these go in the freezer)
How do you store things in your Prepared Kitchen?
Storing things, especially if you have a smaller home, can be tricky. I like to squish as much as I can in my regular pantry, freezer, and fridge.
We do have a spare closet we store other pantry items in and a stand up freezer for things that need to be kept frozen.
Finding pretty storage containers can help when it comes to finding a place for such things. Storing things in an organized way also helps you make use of every inch of space.
Pantry Storage Containers
- Canned Goods– If you are short on space and want to have canned goods in a cabinet, this storage rack works great.
- Under Shelf Baskets– I love these slide on baskets. I not only use them for food, but I use them to store linens on, too!
- Clear Storage Boxes– These storage boxes make it easy to find what you’re looking for and it keeps things in place. I get really irritated when packets of taco or chili seasoning are flopping all over my shelf. 😂
- Glass storage Containers– You can, certainly, choose plastic containers that look just like this, but I prefer to stick with glass if I can. These work great for dry goods, such as oats, beans, rice, cereals, popcorn, etc. They also look nice enough to set out on a counter, if you have room for them.
- Baskets– Baskets are a great place to stack up canned goods or boxed goods in a way that doesn’t have to take up cabinet space. You can place the baskets on top of shelves or even around the home if they have a lid. Here is one with a lid that actually looks a lot like the wicker basket we have in our living room.
Where to shop for bulk items to fill your Prepared Kitchen
If you’ve never bought in bulk before, you might not know the best places to look. I live in the Midwest, so where I shop might be different than what you have available, but it will give you an idea.
- Aldi-I like to buy flats of canned goods, sauces, pasta, etc. which Aldi sells. It makes it easy for me to stack the flats (short boxes that hold grocery goods) on our basement floor. This means I’m not taking up cabinet/pantry space. Your storage space doesn’t have to be pretty. Use what you have, even if it’s just a corner of your basement.
- Sam’s or Costco– This is a great place to buy bulk items. I find that storing some of these things isn’t super easy considering they come in massive containers, so I put them into some of my smaller, storage jars/baskets. This is also a great place to get paper goods, pet food, flour, meats to store in the freezer, deli meat, etc.
- Azure Standard– I started using Azure when my kids were itty-bitty and I’ve seen a lot of people jumping on the bandwagon lately. We started using Azure because you could get bulk items that were from small farmers/sources and that were organic. The prices are great and the food quality is super high. You order everything online and then you pick them up when the truck arrives in your town. It takes a small amount of planning to make sure you are at the “drop point” when the truck arrives, but I promise it isn’t difficult and it is so worth it to get the great products.
Favorite Azure Standard Items
When you create your account with Azure Standard (not sponsored, btw) you get to shop from their online store.
They offer home goods, food items, health and beauty stuff, and more. You add them to your cart and check out.
When you check out, you will put your location and choose a drop off date and location. Mark this on your calendar!
They will email you the exact time when the truck will arrive on the date/location you chose. It might not be exactly what you chose, simply because the truck might run into traffic, construction, accidents, etc.
You go to the location and they load your car with your items! It is that easy! I will share some of my favorite items from Azure.
- Pastas- Azure Standard has wonderful, wholesome pastas that come from great family owned businesses.
- Produce- Their produce is organic and from small farmers that tend to their crop with the utmost care.
- Oils and Sauces
- Nutritional Products/Supplements
- Beeswax candles
What if there are no supply issues?
When I add to my pantry overflow, my goal is to put things away that we will use. I don’t hesitate to use items from my prepared pantry storage if I need something.
This ensures that nothing goes to waste and I don’t fill our home with foods that won’t serve us well if we are in a pinch with food supply struggles.
What Non-Pantry Items should you have?
- Toiletries- soaps, toothpaste, razors, toilet paper, deodorant
- Pet Supplies- food, kitty litter
- Cleaning Supplies- Laundry detergent, Dish soap, hand soap, dishwasher detergent
- Household items- batteries, paper towels, candles, lighters
- Health Care Items- supplements, medicines, etc.
Why should you store things away for your Prepared Pantry?
The point of this post isn’t to cause panic or concern, but rather to encourage people to be prepared in a logical way.
Do you need to have enough food for a year? No, I don’t think so, but it’s also okay if you do. I plan for enough to get us through a month of no grocery shopping. We might not be eating high on the hog, but we will at least be eating.
I think the past two years have taught us to not count on the supply chain to always be in tip-top shape.
Having a few extras on hand is always a good thing, especially when you have lots of mouths to feed. I hope this post gave you some ideas for your prepared kitchen.