Take every opportunity. Build up that Pantry!

 I have been meaning to post again about building up our pantries and preparedness.  Each week I try and highlight building up our homes and consistently keeping at it.  Lately I have had the same message hitting me right in the forehead over and over and that is we are very blessed to be able to add to our pantries. We are very blessed to be able to prepare.  There are places in the world where that window of opportunity has closed.   There are times this window is just closed and closed suddenly.  That is when I don't want to be regretting I didn't do more while I had the opportunity.   

Her in South Australia I did not even imagine how fast things can change. Some items became impossible to get whether you had the money for them or not.  There were times of panic over essential items.  There was rationing.   The rationing did not consider the size of your family.  (ie a family of eleven could have two loaves of bread ,if they were available,  the same number for a family of one.)   I could make a list of reasons why I think now might be a good time to take very opportunity!    Yesterday I had a moment where working ahead paid off.   Chloe took little Thomas to the Doctor.  She told me if she had not arrived with the mask I made her she would not have been allowed in.  I had given her a pack to keep in the car at all times of various masks and a mask I made for her purse.    Thanks to this she was prepared.   

This post is a beginning.  We will work through lots of ways to become more self reliant,   and less dependent on the shops.   We will start with deciding to just take every opportunity and have eyes to see opportunities!   

Since I first really felt strongly to build up supplies and self reliance I have realised there are many components to it.   It is not just about buying extra at the store.   The store is a part of it.   The way I shopped completely changed.   You can read a wonderful post by Laine.  I am sorry this post is so messy but it is full of Laine's tips to maximise her shopping dollar.  Laine's Menu Planning (and shopping tips.). Every saving is stretching what you can buy and using all the food you have and eliminating waste will give you more meals with what you do have.  All are little ways to get ahead.  And little ways add up!

Apart from the store we can grow things.  We can try pots, the garden, raised garden beds.  If we have no space maybe someone in the family that lives near by will let you use some of their back yard on a share basis.   You might have a community garden or allotment.  There might be a way! 

You can trade.  Practically anything is tradeable. If you have neighbours with chickens and you save your kitchen scraps for them they might trade with you.   You might have a skill or asset you can trade.  

You can work towards being in a position to trade.  This took me a while.  But now I keep a list of things I could potentially trade with.   I built up my chickens.   Now I have five dozen spare eggs a week to trade with.   As I increased my garden this also gave me more to trade with and more to add to my pantry! 
There may be a local produce swap group.   This is an opportunity to meet people and get some trades going!   What is excess to us can be great to trade with.   An excess of one thing can fill your pantry in many ways!     Creatively turn a glut of one resource into many different things with selling some, trading some, gifting some...  and maybe making things that you have never tried before. 

Bake and create with what you have and never waste anything!  I always mention "setting things to good use."   And since I have USA friends now I love the phrase "to put things up."   I have adopted that I like it so much.  Too much now can be put up for later!  This is how it was always done! 

Skills can be traded too. I can mend and paint, bake, sew, crochet...  You can use your skills to add some money to the income, save money on gifts or to trade.   

I look now at every area and count it... food in the pantry, fridge, freezers,  shelves in my laundry,  personal care products in the bathroom,  animal feed in tubs,  sewing thread and fabric in my fabric cupboard.  Medical supplies in the medical cabinet.  Chickens in the chook house!   Fruit trees in the orchard.  Zucchinis in the raised garden bed.  Canning jars in the high cupboards.   Patsy taught me that there are many pantries in a home.   I think in terms of building them all. 

Many things that have helped me increase my pantry have been good investments.  This is probably worth of a post of it's own.   Getting chickens was a good investment.  A dehydrator was a good investment.  Work wise,  building up the garden a little every day has been a good investment of time.  
This year watching educational You Tube channels was a good investment for me.  I learned to dehydrate masses of things near my winter fire.   Thanks to Heidi on Rain Country I now have a whole cupboard dedicated to my dehydrated goods.  I learned so much! 

My garden, the roadside, Mum's garden and pretty much every friend and relives gardens are fair game to me for pantry additions!   Oh and neighbours!! 

Network, network, network!  Do not be afraid to let people know you love to preserve food!  You will make them jam or a pie if you can pick that fruit from their tree!  

Some people are just naturally social and good at networking and bartering. For most of us we have to work at it a little bit.  I have a friend who is a natural.  I am learning a lot from her. I think her success comes from the fact she is ok with it if someone says no.   She is a five star trader.  The other day someone asked her if she would like some mini bunnies?  Dwarf rabbits of some kind.  Her initial reaction was heck no!  haha!   But then she thought that maybe she could barter with them.  So she took the bunnies and each day it has been an adventure hearing what happened next.  First she traded a couple for some chickens.  Chickens are a definite addition to her pantry!   Next she traded a couple for an old cage suitable for baby chicks.    She said this bunny thing is going well!  Now she is thinking she should breed some and keep it going!   Probably later tonight I will hear what else she traded for.   So, you see, she took the opportunity! 

We are blessed that mostly we can get what we need and add to our storage for a rainy day.  We have learned this to be ready at all times as at any time we could face a fourteen day quarantine or stay home order.  That already happened to me once.  I don't want to be in a panic if things are shut down.  I would must rather be safe and sound at home anyway.  So I keep building my pantry and garden.   Day by day little bits add up! xxx

  (This is a past post on Stocking up for free.


  1. Dear Annabel, you encourage and teach us all in this.
    I would like to add that when we are in a good state of preparedness, with a pantry and home ready, with supplies not only to keep us alive but usefully and happily occupied, we are able to live a more relaxed and stress free daily life. This is a huge benefit to our mental health, and to our family life in the everyday ordinary times; but now in the insecure and uncertain times of the pandemic, it is vital. A calm mother, able to put food on the table at mealtimes without panic helps children to feel safe and confident that all will be well, and that this too will pass. Mental health is much in the news these days. We can support our families by being well prepared, and keeping calm, and by teaching our young adult children the skills to live well too.

    1. Dear Gill,
      You make a very good point that we need things to keep us happily occupied. I am ok for myself but we should think of things for others in times of not electricity or lock downs etc. games and grafts and good. Mental health is a big thing. Ways to keep in touch when we cant in person are so important. We need many new tactics!
      Your other point is also excellent. A calm Mother is a wonderful blessing. What a beautiful comment Gill I really appreciate it. With love Annabel.xxx

    2. Thank you for these wonderful words, Gill. It is great to think about this. Love, Lily

    3. I love this post, Annabel. I again have found grocery prices rise dramatically. Even our two bulk butchers have gone up in price. I keep hoping it is only for the short term, but I am not sure. I really like the idea of adding to the 'pantry' in all these different ways...crocheting cotton, thread, pet supplies, seeds, batteries, and even activities/ideas for keeping one selves amused like a previous poster mentioned, the list goes on. I think I should make up a list of areas and go from there. I enjoy learning and improving. Thank you so much for your encouragement. Love, Lily

  2. Good post. I wish I could have chickens - I cannot where I live. I also wish I could grow something all year long - that is impossible here as we spend a few months below the freezing mark. I do what I can and use everything to it's full extent. Waste not want not - was how I was raised.
    Things sound like they are worse over there than they are in my area of the U.S.. We have some limits and closures - but not many. Our stores (in my area) are well stocked. I AM WELL stocked!!! Always stay ready for anything.
    God bless you all - stay well and prepared.

    1. Dear Cheryl,
      I know you keep your pantry well stocked. Good job. It is still good you can grow in the growing season. We dont get snow but I can see how a window of opportunity would be so important as it could be missed with snow coming! I have learned to much better use everything up! This really helps with getting ahead with meals! It is a skill to work on! With love, Annabel.xxx

  3. My Dad was a champion trader. One day we came home from school and there was a big boat in our driveway. We played in that boat riding the high seas for weeks and then came home from school to find a big green car had been traded for the boat. He knew to trade for what might be valuable to others on his way to what was really needed. Your eggs are a wonderful thing to have each week to trade.

    We have learned that what ever we need often takes some work to find now and forget finding it in the preferred brand. It has taught us to be thankful that we have all we need even though it may not be exactly what we used to buy. I am taking every opportunity to stock anything that we use from socks to TP. We just finished a huge pantry go through and this has given us a much better idea of what we have and what we need which is very little. Grocery deals have returned here and that has helped to restock the pantry for great prices. We all need to learn things like baking bread so that we do not have to rely on the store and can stock the ingredients to be able to supply our homes when needed.

    I am looking forward to more of these posts! Thanks for sharing today!

    1. Dear Lana,
      Your Dad sounds amazing. What fun to come home to a boat! As kids this would have been so exciting. It is great you have been able to stock back up and with good deals too! I am hoping after Christmas for some deals here. I will be watching! With love Annabel.xxx

  4. Greetings from Pennsylvania USA. Chilly out today. Another back up to keep with you are small safety pins, in the event your homemade mask strap breaks. No one leaves our house without an extra mask, pair of gloves and anti bacterial wipes and/or gel. It is worth taking the time to prepare before you go out.
    Thanks for all of your information. I really enjoy your site and learning about Aussie life.
    Have a very happy holiday season.

    1. Dear Barb,
      It is a good tip on the safety pins. We are keeping car kits with all kinds of necessities and these would be a good addition.
      Thank you so much! With love Annabel.xxx

  5. Annabel,
    My husband and I have a Christmas wreath business. Thus far this season we have traded Christmas wreaths for 2 jars of beautiful organic honey and some home-made herbal salves and lotions. In the past, we have even traded wreaths for haircuts at a salon. I am not the out-going one that can make these trades happen, that would be my husband. I sure appreciate his efforts! I agree that we need to continue working at keeping each area of our home supplied and ready for whatever may come next. Thanks for another great post!

    1. I love that you have a wreath business! What a great thing to trade. I think your example is wonderful. This shows that if we produce one good thing it can lead to much more! Every product or skill is an asset! With love Annabel.xxx

  6. Great post, Annabel. The world is buzzing at an exceedingly fast pace right now toward a very dire place. Your suggestions are wonderful.

    1. Dear Glenda, Thank you. It sure is a fascinating time. I can barely keep up. But I pray and keep busy on my projects and goals. This keeps me going! There is a lot to be helpful about! With love, Annabel.xxx

  7. Great post! I echo the other comment about enjoying a peak into life in Australia.
    My biggest trade has been For the last 12 years we have traded our home raised beef for piano lessons! She has taught all 6 of my kids to play and one of my older girls plans to open her own studio to teach music after she graduates from college. We would never have been able to provide them all with so many years of lessons if not for trading. Last week I traded some baby equipment we haven’t needed for a long time for the promise of blackberry and a raspberry bush in the spring, so excited for that!

  8. Hi lovely Annabel, just seeing if my comment shows up then I’ll add to it. Love your post! Lorraine W xxx

  9. Annabel thank you for the lovely post and I so agree there is many ways we can build our pantries :) .

    I love too that Patsy says we have many pantries and like yourself Annabel we count every one of them and that every one is anything we use in a year and that also includes food, medical, fuel , firewood and anything else we use that we keep an advanced supply of.

    We also shop in multiple places and pick up various half price specials on items that we need as well as items that are lower price too which saves a lot. On medical trips for DH we plan our route to stop in at some of the places that we know have cheaper items and better markdowns than the supermarkets and pick up what we need and I also keep a $20 pantry budget a fortnight so I can stock up on these specials or markdowns too.

    I might add that we stock up on half price specials as we consider every second item to be free that way for our pantry stocking. Also we use things like our free rewards $ from Woolworths that we earn for buying the groceries we usually do to stock our pantry further and take advantage of points boosters to earn more free rewards point $ quicker too.

    Both DH and I love to barter too and do it often with some neighbours and friends too. It is a good way to supply our home with things we don't produce ourselves. We barter things like garden seeds, vegetable seedlings, vegetables and labour for items we need too and it does pay to network with people to find possible bartering opportunities.

    Thank you Annabel for the time you put into your lovely posts which makes us think of new and different ways to do things to build up our pantries :) .

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

    I must admit we don't meal plan but instead work on having a full pantry of all foods so we can pick and choose what is on the menu and rotate through our various meats evenly to use them and then restock.


Post a comment

Popular posts