Wednesday, April 3, 2013

No Waste Wednesday #14–Downsizing the Pantry

Reference:  Resolution posted 12/31/2013

pantryIn our last home, we had a ginormous pantry and I stocked it big time.  What a waste of time and resources.  Now, after living full-time in our RV and the quest to downsize the sticks and bricks household, I realize that maintaining the staples requires relatively few items in a reasonable volume.  Basics.  No need to store boxes and cans of processed food.  Basics to make straight-forward dinners (no more exotic recipes) and desserts from scratch.  Less room.  No food wasted.  No garbage from unnecessary packaging. 

Our pantry contains clear plastic “bins” (I know, some day I will get rid of the plastic, but I cannot afford to replace it all now.) and a few glass Le Parfait jars.  We load up our personal reusable bags in the bulk aisle with flour, brown sugar, sugar, pasta, rice, oatmeal, and beans and transfer to the pantry storage containers at home.   Containers keep out the occasional critter, moisture; and everything is clean and tidy. 

[Photo from Bea Johnson’s blog, “Zero Waste Home”. Would love to have such a clean and efficient pantry like Bea’s.  When my pantry is as good looking as this, I will post a picture.  One can only hope! ]

By the way, the bins and containers I use in the home pantry fit perfectly in our RV pantry.  No need to change philosophy from one “residence” to another.  I keep the same basic food items in each home in the same containers. 

Three rules govern our pantry purchases:

1.  Zero Waste – buy in bulk using your own bags or recycle the glass or cans

2.  Common ingredients (can be used in multiple dishes and desserts)

3.  Cost As Low as Possible--for a healthy, local product—not paying for a cheap ingredient shipped from overseas.  How can this be good for you?  Purchasing from the bulk aisle seems to ensure the cost is lower than the packaged version.

Some day I would like to try canning some fresh produce from the summer harvest to make my own marinara sauce, pickles, and tomato juice (for the chili) —maybe a future attempt and post.  We are still buying a few canned goods such as evaporated milk, tuna, and chicken stock.  Need to ponder on alternatives.  For now the cans are recycled.


  1. I am loving this series of posts you are doing. I am learning so much. We too are changing the way we shop and eat, just trying to go away from all the processed foods.

    1. Thanks, Janie! I'm really enjoying the changes in our lifestyle.

  2. Better than Basic Broth line is excellent. Add water to the paste to yield stock. The Broth jar does have to be refrigerated after.
    Katy in NH


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