The Pantry Primer: Maintaining the One Year Stockpile

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you'll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

After 3 months of careful budgeting, shopping, food preservation, repackaging, and stockpiling, we now have a one year food supply. This doesn’t mean that we don’t have to shop for a year, but it does mean that we have a cushion against disaster, whether it be personal, regional, financial, or natural. It gives us the freedom to wait out price spikes and purchase items on sale or in bulk. It means fewer trips to the store (and less temptation to go off-budget). It means that when scanning new recipes I nearly always have the ingredients on hand to make the delicious goodies that I find.

Once you’ve built your pantry, you have to develop a plan to maintain it. You don’t want to end up back at square one a year from now!

Using your stockpiled items

First of all, you bought this food to eat.  While some items might be stored for many years in case of a dire, long-term emergency, most of these foods should be rotated into your kitchen and replaced as needed.

  • When you store your foods, always place the oldest items with the closest expiry dates at the front.  Place newly purchased items at the back.
  • Before your grocery shopping trips, check your pantry first.  Do you have home-canned goods that need to be eaten?  Is there a bag of pasta that is nearing expiration?  Work those into your menu plan before shopping.
  • Speaking of menu planning, decide ahead of time what you plan to serve that week. You may discover that you actually need very few items, freeing up your budget for sale purchases that replenish your stockpile.
  • When your stockpile is properly maintained, your weekly purchases should only be for fresh produce and dairy products.  The remainder of your budget can go to make large buys of sale items with which to replenish your pantry. Use your stockpile for the basics like pasta, meat, baking supplies, and soups.

Maintaining your one-year pantry

Once you’ve created your pantry, it is important to maintain it. You don’t want to deplete your food stockpile without a plan to replenish it.  Although items that you purchase seasonally will drop throughout the year, you need to maintain a certain level of pantry basics.

  • Keep a running inventory.
  • When staple items drop to a certain point, begin looking for a good deal.
  • Stockpile seasonally.
  • Track the sales cycles throughout the year in order to purchase staples when they are at the lowest prices.  Learn more about annual sales cycles HERE.
  • Keep a price book to help you track the cost of various items in your area.  Stockpile shopping, when done right, can save you a fortune in annual food costs.
  • Pay attention to your repackaging practices.  Your purchases are only as fresh as your storage methods.  (Go HERE for a refresher course on food storage best practices.)

Want to learn more? My new book is now available!

Lots of us like to have hard copies of information that we’ve found helpful.  Because of this, I’ve expanded on the information included in this series and put it all in one handy primer, available on Amazon.

The Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months

pantry primer pic

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

Leave a Reply

  • You are still posting the old meme–expiration dates??
    Throw them out or eat them quickly!!??!!
    Need to update that meme, please.
    Those are for the manufacturer’s use only or the grocery store and only considering liability at that!
    Anyone reading this article needs to research this topic.

  • Ziplok bags can be used for a zillion things–stockpile plenty.
    Also, this link is handy for weekly ads and seasonal; like our stores are discounting baking goods now for Thanksgiving:

    Just type in your state for local sales.

  • Daisy,

    It took a long time and we are still not there but I did want to send you our new site and info on Path-Away®. The applications are huge as I mentioned months ago on SHTF PLAN. I will be happy to send you product for you to test. Just go to our site and if you have questions – just drop me a line.

    Y’all Beware!

  • One of the Best ways to store and stock pile food, which I have never thrown out any food for expiration dates, is the Method Below. Organization is Key!!
    1. BUY 4 to 5 large stackable plastic storage bins.
    2. Number each bin 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. with a black sharpie marker on the side of the Bin.
    3. Set out all your food on the flood and look on each item for the expiration date, and with a permanent sharpie marker in bold print, write the expiration date on the top of the can or front of the label. such as 9/16 – Sept 2016 Because these dates may fade or be hard to see in the dark, because they are in small Mgfr writing, and usually hidden int the worst place.
    4. Now Sort all your food into a number of piles according to the expiration dates. The oldest longest keeping food pile put that into bin #4, then the next oldest exp. dates put that into bin #3, until you are up to the shortest expiration date and put that into bin #1. That will be the first bin you start eating out of. FIFO Method.. first in first out.

    This is the best way I have found to never let any food go bad. And as you replenish it, just match up the new food with the expiration dates in that particular bin. And write the date on the package for easy reading.

    Now if for some reason, you need to bug out or leave your home, you just load all of the bins in your vehicle in just a few minutes. Storying all of this on a shelf in some dark closet, will go to waste, and will do you NO Good if you have to leave you home in a hurry, and have no boxes to cary it away. Also create a smaller mini bug out food bin, with your bug out food quick meals like MRE’s, MT House or a quick open and easy fixing food and packaging. and do this for the first 5 on the go traveling meals and this way you don;t have to dig out of your long term food storage while you travel.

    Good Luck out there and Happy Prepping.

  • Nice idea FLPrepper. I have been vacuum sealing a lot of things lately, and putting the date I sealed it, not the expiration date. So a very timely suggestion!

  • I do find maintaining a food stockpile to be a little tricky at times. There are moments where I finally realize just how much rice is gone, and that there’s actually not an extra bag in the basement like I thought. I think I need to increase the amount of rice I typically have in my stockpile.

    Anyway, great article! 🙂

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