Pantries can be a boring subject (unless you are a homesteader!).  Some of us don’t even have much space for one.  And, if you  do have space,  you have to consider what to put in the pantry.  But, for me, I just love PANTRIES, so much so, I refuse to even login to Pintrest. LOL!

Our pantry stocking history has been pretty consistent.  Back when my parents were living in New Zealand and I was a baby, the only  supermarket in town was really a farmers’ market run like a supermarket.   It was where my dad sold some of his honey.  It was also very small.  Back in those days, NZ didn’t offer much in the way of canned goods and certainly no processed foods.  I think it was primarily because everyone did her own canning and cooked from scratch.   Nothing was packaged in plastic.  Usually, bread, cheese and other items were wrapped in newspapers and put in cardboard boxes to carry out,  not paper bags.  So, in NZ, the only thing we kept on hand in the pantry  were things like flour, rice, etc., used to cook from scratch.

When we returned to Florida, we seldom ate processed foods or sugar (we had our own hives for honey).  If we did, it was saved for when we went out on the weekends to grandma’s or  friends’ homes.  Our garden and honey pretty much kept us going.  Not much in the way of junk food or canned food. Raw butter and goat’s milk were either picked up fresh or gotten from our own goat. Since my parents only ate healthful foods, and considering that such things were unavailable on the market back then, most of everything we ate was made from scratch.

In Pasadena, things changed for awhile.  In fact, since we didn’t have bees at first, we even had sugar in our pantry!  That really made big news when our friends from Florida came to visit us.  They had never seen the likes of that!

Today, our pantry consists of pretty much the same items we have had on hand for over 40 years.  We seldom have any packaged foods in our pantry.  People often wonder why we head for  the  corn tortilla chips when over friends’ homes.  Well, now you know! *grin*

Keeping a clean and organized pantry is one of the challenges that we face at the homestead.    There is always the issue of space (lack of) and storage for items bought in bulk.  Sometimes, quite honestly, it just seems easier to go to the big pails full of flour or rice and just scoop it all out.  But nicely labeled glass jars make a difference in the feel and vibes of a kitchen.    So, I go the extra mile.  Besides, storing big white pails full of bulk items  is just plain ugly!

Jordanne found some “chalk board” labels.  These are quite handy for labeling our glass jars.  It is great because it allows you to use the jar more readily for another item.  Before,  I would have  to change the entire label but no longer.  The labels stick to any smooth surface like glass, metal, etc.   They are great because they are easily removed, decorative, and will  remain on the container even after washing.

What challenges do you face with food stage and what’s in YOUR pantry?  Care to share?

 :: Resources ::

Cool Kitchen Pantry Ideas







  1. Vicki says:

    When getting the pantry supplies in bulk, where and how to you store the extra stock till you need to refill your jars? I have no storage in the kitchen, no basement or root cellar, and my attic easily hits triple digits by March, and stays that way till October. I am looking for a safe stable way to store my extra. So far I have only been able to purchase 10 lbs size bags at the most, and that takes up to 3-6 months to use that up. (Not complaining about lack of space, just explaining for a better understanding of what I have to work with.)

    • Anais Dervaes says:


      Good question! We do have the bulk items stored in white plastic pails in the laundry room sometimes covered by a nice tablecloth. Our laundry room has unused space so that is what it is used for. We hope to move it out one day into the cellar but this is the way it is for now. I keep the glass jars filled as needed from the plastic pails.

  2. G. says:

    I love my pantry and I am not happy unless it is “fully functional!” I love your idea of the “chalk board” labeling! I will consider! I have been a blue painter’s tape and sharpie person after dealing with the leftover messes of paper and tape labels. Ugh! I also date and label the jars of leftovers (with blue tape) that is put into the fridge…a pantry variation??

    I have always had storage problems in my pantry as well as the fridge. There is never enough space! I use glass jars, of all shapes and sizes, as I see you do!

    During any family get together in cold weather, the garage serves as an emergency fridge/pantry! I would love to have a cold cellar, but it is not possible for us.:-(

    Fun post! Thanks!

    • Anais Dervaes says:

      G–I am told that in NZ there was a tough wire mesh box out on the open back porch that was used as a fridge during the cold weather. I guess the wire mesh was to keep the critters out while keeping the food cold!

      • Cindy says:

        Hi Anais, they call that type of cupboard a ‘meat safe’ here in Australia…I also lived in NZ for a few years and I know it to be the same type of cupboard you speak of. Although this link is for a different type of Australia low tech refrigeration, you may find it interesting, although somewhat off topic.

  3. Angela Hunter Geiss says:

    Great ideas…I was wondering where you found those great jars and where you found the chalkboard labels?


    • Anais Dervaes says:

      Angela, we got the glass jars long ago and can’t remember where but I do believe it was an online buy. As for the chalkboard labels, they are now pretty much everywhere–craft stores, business supply stores and online. Just google for the best prices. Good luck!

  4. Ruth G says:

    I, too, love my pantry, though have not had an official pantry space in a house since I was in high school. Since then I have created pantry space wherever I have lived. Currently we comandeered the small coat closet in the hallway for fruit, jams/jellies, juices, bulk bought spices, dehydrated herbs, vinegars, oils and cat food. A double closet in our guest room is the pantry is for veggies, pickles, soups, stocks, dry goods (flours, grains, beans, etc.) and tall things that won’t fit anywhere else. Root veggies are stored in buckets of sand in the cellar.

    Where we live now has enough space for us but our past home space was much more limited, and there we used under bed space (jars in boxes, veggies/etc. under our bed, fruits/etc. under our sons bed). We kept 5 gallon buckets of dry goods under an end table in the living room, covered with a table cloth.

    I dream of the day when I can have a pantry right off the kitchen but until then, we make the best of what we have.

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