I bit off a big chunk of household organization today and cleaned out our pantry. I have to do this about once a year–Mr. Vox comes from a family of food hoarders (I’m not kidding), and it’s too easy for us to accumulate a bunch of half-empty packages of stale crackers and unwanted granola bars.

I am ashamed to admit that I filled up three and a half garbage bags of discards. Are you as horrified as I was? I found tons of duplicate items. I made Mr. Vox do all the package consolidation, and we ended up whittling down from three partial jugs of corn syrup to one really full one, we discovered that we had three full containers of cream of tartar, and I got to get rid of all the excess weird groceries that my in-laws bought when they came here. It’s never mattered that they left a box of green tea bags, decaf coffee and crunchy peanut butter (all things we don’t really eat) the previous time they visited, because they would always go buy fresh every single time they came back.

I hate that we got rid of a lot of things that should have been eaten. I really am shamed by it. Mr. Vox and I had a talk about how we needed to have better perspective on what food we already have at home, and whether it makes sense to buy a slightly different flavor of crackers while we still have a half-box of another kind. I was really encouraged by the progress we made and the direction we were headed. But then Mr. Vox asked if we had a lot of coconut milk and I said, “One can,” and he started surfing Amazon for deals. He asked how much we usually paid for a can at the store and I said, “Between $2.39 and $2.79 per can,” and he said, “So a case of it for $22 would be a good deal, right?” And I said, “Hon, we don’t need a case of coconut milk.”

It’s going to be a long road. Does anyone have any good tips for how to keep things more appropriate for a family of three?

This entry was posted on Monday, February 4th, 2013 at 3:59 am and is filed under Casa Anonyvox, Fiscal Vox. You can leave a comment and follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

6 Comments Leave a comment

    Mishell said:

    Feb. 4, 2013

    Don’t shop hungry. That’s my only and best tip.

    Jane said:

    Feb. 4, 2013

    I need a case of coconut milk.

    Jenb said:

    Feb. 4, 2013

    Limit your pantry space. When you have a lot of cupboards to fill, they fill. Or move a lot- which we have done and I don’t recommend. But it does make you pare down your belongings!

      anonyvox said:

      Feb. 5, 2013

      Moving does work well. We got rid of so much stuff when we moved down from Cascade!

    TLSF said:

    Feb. 8, 2013

    Almost 4 years ago now, I started on the journey of both whittling down my grocery bill and also being a better steward of my pantry. Now, I had to go pretty hard core to get into the habit, then ease off once the habits were second nature.

    Use a meal plan. If you only chance one thins in your life, this one habit will lessen the waste in your pantry. Once a month shopping has worked well for me for years; with once a week trips for fresh produce, bread, and milk.

    Also, buying a case of coconut milk on Amazon is a good idea! Just make sure that you do not get into the habit of increasing your intake just because it is lying around. He is trying to help be a good steward of the pantry, so just go with it. :-)
    First, check to see what you already have in your pantry, then see what meals you can make that utilize the ingredients you already have, with the addition of a few items from the store. Sit down and make a menu plan. I make a loose menu plan, with 30 boxes in a grid on the page that I fill with individual meals for dinners. Breakfasts, I always have hard boiled eggs peeled in the fridge, and paleo bars also in the fridge. I make large batches of morning glory muffins, mini egg pizzas, and coconut flour waffles for quick breakfasts every morning. Lunches are kind of a free for all of leftovers, lettuce wraps, soups and sandwiches.

      TLSF said:

      Feb. 8, 2013

      Oops! Did not mean to post quite yet.
      The menu plan helps me with the dinner by 10 concept. Have in your head by 10am what it is that you want to make for dinner that night so that you can defrost anything that you need to defrost. If both you and your spouse work, decide by 10pm the night before and move any defrostables into the refrigerator from the freezer the night before. I just look at my meal plan grid (made with a pen and a straight edge on a plain white piece of paper) and decide what I am making that night. So, it is not “On Monday, we will have this, on Tuesday, we will have this…” Much less structured than that.

      I wish you luck!

      Next, choose some items that you use with regularity, and stock up a bit on them when sale prices are good. It seems like your husband might be the natural choice for this, as evidenced by his go-to attitude with Amazon.

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