15 August 2014

Where I Store Things

People look at me like I'm a mad woman when I tell them I shop once a month and I have been asked over and over where I store it all (last week when we did the monthly grocery shop we had two trolleys!). I can tell you that a month’s worth of food isn't really that much.

Because I shop once a month and have a stockpile of groceries, most grocery items are kept in the kitchen pantry or on the store shelves in the laundry until they are needed in the kitchen. In the pantry I keep the things we use everyday – cereals, spreads, baking supplies, oil and so on.

Bread goes into the little freezer over the fridge so it doesn't get squashed and bent out of shape. I keep pastry sheets, spices and stock cubes in there too.

The door of the fridge holds four bottles of milk, plus cream, sour cream and salad dressings. Eggs go on the top shelf of the fridge along with butter and cheeses. The top shelf also holds three Tupperware containers: one for beetroot, one for pineapple slices and one for pickled onions. I keep jams, mustards and pickles on the top shelf too.

The second shelf holds containers of sliced meat for lunches and leftovers. The third shelf has Tupperware containers holding fruit and vegetables, as do the crispers in the bottom.

Meat is packaged up in meal sizes and double wrapped in freezer bags or vacuum sealed and then stored in the chest freezer. Frozen vegetables are kept in the basket in the chest freezer, along with a spare bottle of milk.

In my kitchen dry goods are put into the freezer, in the packaging, as soon as they enter the house. I do this to kill any weevils that may be in the foods. Once they come out of the freezer  (after at least seven days, usually longer if I don't need them in a hurry) they are either stacked in the store cupboard or used to top up a canister in the pantry.

I prefer to decant everything into labelled canisters, rather than keep open packets on the pantry shelf. Open packets are an invitation to bugs to have a party – at my cost. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on canisters. Coffee jars or formula tins are a uniform size and stack neatly and best of all because they are recycled they are free.  Ask friends and relatives to keep them for you to build your supply quickly. When a canister is empty, it is washed and dried and refilled from the stockpile and I make a note on the appropriate inventory, ready for making up my shopping list.

Storing a month's worth of groceries isn't difficult. My kitchen isn't huge. In fact it is quite small. I don't have an abundance of cupboard space, I just use what I do have to its full advantage.

With a little creative thinking you can easily find room in your home for your once-a-month grocery shop.

Putting it all away is the hardest part of the whole exercise, but it only takes about half an hour. Everything fits in. And I don’t have to unpack groceries for another four weeks.

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