Stretch Your Food $ With a Well-Planned Pantry

Glass Containers and Bakeware with Storage Lids

Whether your pantry area is a designated cabinet or a separate room, having it properly organized can make it much easier to  keep track of what you have on hand to makemeals or do your shopping.

In our home I plan meals by a weekly menu where possible.  I try to keep staples in the pantry and purchase fresh foods as needed. By keeping my pantry organized similar to the way a store shelf is, I can know at a glance whether I have the items I need to make the meals I have planned.  This allows me to put the needed items on my shopping list and save extra trips to the store. It also keeps me from over-buying items I already have.

Here are some hints to help you get started (many I picked up from my Mom and how she organized her pantry):

  • Be realistic in the number of a single item that you need to keep on hand, be it canned goods or varieties of grains and pastas. I have found ten is usually a good standard to use for my family. Your ideal number will be based on the size of your family.
  • Rotate the oldest items to the front and put the newest to the back.
  • Pay attention to expiration dates. Many foods can turn toxic when past their expiration dates. Even home-canned goods should have a date put on them when placing them in storage.
  • Place breakable, heavy jars and cans on lower shelves to help avoid dropping them when removing them. (However, if you have little ones that could get into your cupboards, put these jars out of their reach.)
  • Canned foods and other jarred foods should also be stored out of small children’s reach to avoid breakage and injury.
  • Store dry goods such as pasta, rice and flour in clear, tightly lidded containers,Powdered Sugar Keeper

    preferably those with an air-tight seal – thus avoiding moisture and insects.

  • Avoid dented or damaged cans; they can allow bacteria in and cause spoilage to the food inside. Look over ‘bargain’ items carefully. Remember, a good bargain at the store is not worth food poisoning to your family!
  • Store nuts, flours and cornmeal in the freezer to prevent them from going rancid before they’re used up. Before using, let set on your countertop to reach room temperature.

With today’s busy schedules, planning and getting healthy meals on the table is a challenge. Organizing your pantry can make it faster and easier – and save on your food budget, too!

4 Ways to Get Organized for Spring Cleaning

Lamb's wool contains natural lanolin and generates static electricity to produce a "dust magnet". Extendable duster is specifically made to clean hard-to-reach ceiling fans.

Lamb’s wool contains natural lanolin and generates static electricity to produce a “dust magnet”. Extendable duster is specifically made to clean hard-to-reach ceiling fans.

Believe it or not, spring IS coming – sooner than you think! Imagine – in just a couple of months we’ll all be throwing open the windows, shaking out the rugs and giving the whole house a breath of fresh air. Now’s the time to take stock of spring cleaning supplies and add some new ones to your arsenal.

1. The Right Brush Makes It Easy

Difficult cleaning jobs require just the right tool to make the job quick, easy and effective. Hard-to-reach places? Tight spaces? This spring, really clean your ceiling fans, dryer vents, refrigerator coils and small items like teakettles, baby bottles and sink drains. We have a brush for every job.

For dusting electronics and collectibles, we recommend natural lamb’s wool and ostrich feather dusters. Both contain thousands of soft fibers that act as a magnet for dust but won’t scratch your valuables. Continue reading

Five Tips To Smooth Spring Cleaning

Lamb's Wool Wedge Mop

Lamb’s Wool Wedge Mop

Right now, I’m handling Country Life from our southern bastion in North Carolina. My husband works for a Really Big Company That’s Based In Ohio, but they have facilities here. My sense of the seasons is a little bit earlier than that of my co-workers up north at Lehman’s in Kidron, and I’m ready to start spring cleaning!

Some of my best cleaning tips came from my grandfather. Geezer was a school custodian. Talk about an efficient worker–he never wasted a minute. And when he cleaned things, even using ‘natural’ solutions, he always wore rubber gloves. You should too.

20 Mule Team Borax

20 Mule Team Borax

  1. Lemons and borax: Cleans stainless steel, tile, shower surrounds, grout. Make a paste with lemon juice and borax, smear on the trouble spots. Let set a few moments, while you clean something else. Rinse with water, and dry with a lint-free towel. (My favorite is our Flour Sack Towel.)
  2. Keep household metals shiny: Once polished, be sure to buff well–you want shiny, not sticky. (Try Met-All Aluminum and Stainless, Met-All Brass and Copper Cleaner, or Flitz Metal Polish.) Next time you clean, you can wipe fingerprints right off with a Flour Sack Towel dampened in warm water. If you do this weekly, even your doorknobs will gleam. Renew the polish every few months. Continue reading