How to Stock Your Pantry for a Whole Year {365 Days of Preparedness}

Learning how to stock your pantry for a year isn’t just about being ready for the zombie apocalypse. It’s about living prepared and feeling calm. As a bonus, having a well-stocked pantry will also help you save money over time. This guide is for anyone, whether you’re new or experienced.

I’ll give you a guide on how to build this up over time so you aren’t overwhelmed. Let’s stock a pantry that keeps you well-equipped, come what may.

grid of 4 watercolors of pretty and organized pantry shelves.

It’s not about buying everything you already need times 100. You can smartly stock certain things to prepare.

Why would you even want a pantry with so much in it?

I get it. Well, there are a few reasons. You might want this for religious reasons, or in case of emergency. And an emergency doesn’t have to mean a huge disaster. A simple snowstorm can mean the grocery stores are cleaned out and you’re relying on what you’ve got on hand.

But even if you aren’t convinced you need a pantry like this, there are a few reasons you might want one.

  • Always Prepared: No more last-minute grocery runs for forgotten items.
  • Stress Reduction: Simplifies meal planning and reduces daily stress about what to eat.
  • Time Saver: Fewer trips to the store mean more time for other activities.
  • Cost-Effective: Buying in bulk and stocking up during sales can save money.
  • Hospitality: Ability to feed unexpected guests
  • Personal Satisfaction: It brings a sense of achievement and orderliness to your household.

Don’t ignore that last one. A beautifully organized pantry is one of the joys of life 😉.

Assessing Your Space: Maximizing Pantry Potential

Before you buy anything, take a good look at your space. Big or small, your pantry can be a powerhouse if you organize it right. Use shelves, baskets, and containers to make the most of every inch.

"Artistic watercolor depiction of pantry shelves stocked with jars of dried beans, nuts, and pasta, with bowls of fresh and dried fruits below.

Do not make the mistake of thinking deeper shelves are better. Shallow and wide is best so you don’t lose things.

And here’s a tip: put the stuff you use most frequently at eye level.

Use stackable storage solutions to make the most of the height. And remember, your pantry is not set in stone. Reassess and rearrange as your needs change. It’s all about making your space work for you.

Creating space where there is none

Do the best with the space you have. To create more storage space, use door racks or hang a shoe organizer inside the pantry door for small packets and spices.

Do you have empty wall space? Install some shelves! Clear, airtight containers are practical for keeping bulk items fresh. They also let you see what you have at a glance. They can go on the floor of a closet or in your basement. Beautifully organized matching shelves are nice, but they aren’t the only way to do it.

The Essential Pantry List: What You Really Need

Now, what to stock? Start with the basics: grains, pasta, canned goods, spices, baking supplies, oils, and vinegars. These are your pantry MVPs – they turn up in recipes all the time.

Vibrant watercolor image of neatly organized pantry shelves with jars of colorful pasta and legumes.

But here’s the key: only stock what you’ll use. If you hate canned peas, don’t buy them because a list says so.

That being said, here’s a great starting place. This is for a family of 2 adults, 2 children. Obviously, adjust for your family size and preferences.

Canned Food:

  • Canned Soup: 48 cans
  • Peas: 48 cans
  • Corn: 48 cans
  • String Beans: 24 cans
  • Beets: 24 cans
  • Pineapple: 24 cans
  • Tomatoes: 48 cans
  • Miscellaneous Fruit: 48 cans
  • Tomato Juice: 24 cans
  • Citrus Juice: 24 cans
  • Pineapple Juice: 24 cans
  • Apple Juice: 12 quarts
  • Chipped Beef: 12 cans
  • Spam: 24 cans
  • Vienna Sausage: 32 cans
  • Beef Stew: 24 cans
  • Roast Beef Gravy: 48 cans
  • Milk: 144 cans
  • Tuna Fish: 100 cans

Baking and Cooking Essentials:

  • White Sugar: 100 pounds
  • Powdered Milk: 150 pounds
  • Honey: 60 pounds
  • Salt: 25 pounds
  • Wheat: 500 pounds
  • White Flour: 100 pounds
  • Corn Meal: 20 pounds
  • Cinnamon: 12 ounces
  • Nutmeg: 12 ounces
  • Allspice: 8 ounces
  • Ginger: 8 ounces
  • Sage: 8 ounces
  • Cloves: 4 ounces
  • Pepper: 2 pounds
  • Dry Mustard: 2 pounds
  • Red Pepper: 4 ounces
  • Onion Powder: 8 ounces
  • Garlic Powder: 4 ounces
  • Vanilla: 32 ounces
  • Maple: 8 ounces
  • Lemon: 8 ounces
  • Almond: 4 ounces
  • Baking Powder: 6 cans
  • Baking Soda: 6 large boxes
  • Vinegar: 3 quarts
  • Molasses: 1 gallon
  • Corn Starch: 6 packs
  • Karo Syrup: 1 gallon

Dried Food:

  • Raisins: 25 pounds
  • Prunes: 12 pounds
  • Dried Eggs: 50 pounds
  • Miscellaneous Dried Fruits: 35 pounds
  • Mixed Nuts: 50 pounds
  • Dehydrated Soup: 2 cases
  • Vegetable Shortening: 20 pounds
  • Split Peas: 25 pounds
  • Dry Beans: 50 pounds
  • Popcorn: 20 pounds
  • Macaroni: 25 pounds
  • Dry Yeast: 2 1/2 pounds
  • Olive Oil: 3 gallons
  • Frying Oil: 3 gallons
  • Vegetable Oil: 6 gallons

Household and Personal:

  • Toilet Tissue: 2 cases
  • Paper Napkins: 1 case
  • Kleenex Tissue (Large): 2 dozen
  • First Aid Kit (Large): 1
  • Batteries (of all sizes): 4 large boxes
  • Sanitary Napkins: Variable
  • Wheat Grinder: 1
  • Candles: 12 boxes tea lights or tapers
  • Flashlight: 2
  • Laundry Detergent: 12 large boxes
  • Bath Soap: 3 cases

Frozen Foods:

  • Fresh Beef: 50 pounds
  • Turkey: 2 whole
  • Chickens: 25 whole
  • Milk: 100 quarts
  • Butter: 50 pounds
  • Fruits: 20 pounds
  • Vegetables: 20 pounds

What types of food to pick for the longest shelf life

To keep your pantry useful for longer, it’s key to pick items that last. Here’s a list of the best long-lasting alternatives for your staples.

Watercolor painting of a pantry shelf with various jars of flours, grains, and sugars, with kitchen utensils and bowls.
  • White Rice over Brown Rice: White rice has a longer shelf life due to lower oil content. Brown rice can go rancid more quickly because of its higher oil content.
  • White Flour over Whole Wheat Flour: White flour lasts longer than whole wheat flour. The oils found in the wheat germ that is present in whole wheat flour can cause it to spoil faster.
  • Dry Beans over Canned Beans: Dry beans last significantly longer in storage than canned beans. Canned beans are convenient but have a shorter shelf life.
  • Granulated Sugar over Brown or Powdered Sugar: Granulated sugar has an indefinite shelf life if stored properly, while brown sugar can harden and powdered sugar can clump.
  • Honey over Syrups: Honey can last indefinitely, while syrups like maple syrup need to be refrigerated after opening and have a shorter shelf life.
  • Canned Vegetables over Fresh: Canned vegetables can last for years, whereas fresh vegetables have a much shorter shelf life and require refrigeration.
  • Dried Pasta over Fresh Pasta: Dried pasta can last for 1-2 years, whereas fresh pasta needs refrigeration and should be consumed within a few days.
  • Powdered Milk over Liquid Milk: Powdered milk has a far longer shelf life than liquid milk and can be reconstituted with water when needed.
  • Solid Block Cheese over Shredded Cheese: Solid block cheese lasts longer than shredded cheese, which can dry out or become moldy more quickly.
  • Instant Coffee over Whole Bean or Ground: Instant coffee has a longer shelf life due to its low moisture content, while whole beans or ground coffee can go stale.
  • Bouillon Cubes over Liquid Broth: Bouillon cubes or powder can last longer and take up less space than liquid broth, which should be used within 1-2 weeks after opening.
  • Salt over Herbs and Spices: Salt will never spoil, while ground herbs and spices are best used within a year for optimal flavor.
  • Canned Tuna in Oil over Tuna in Water: Tuna in oil tends to last longer than tuna in water because the oil acts as a barrier to air and bacteria.
  • Hard Grains over Soft Grains: Hard grains, such as wheat berries, can last longer in storage than softer grains like rolled oats, which can become rancid.
  • Ghee over Butter: Ghee, which is clarified butter, has a longer shelf life than regular butter due to the removal of milk solids.
  • Freeze-dried Fruits and Vegetables over Dehydrated: Freeze-dried produce retains its quality longer than dehydrated versions and does not require refrigeration.
  • Whole Spices over Ground Spices: Whole spices maintain their potency longer than ground spices, which can lose their flavor more quickly.
  • White Vinegar over Apple Cider Vinegar: White vinegar has an indefinite shelf life and is more versatile for cleaning and cooking compared to apple cider vinegar, which can become cloudy over time.

making your pantry pretty

A well-organized pantry is pleasing to the eye and the mind. There’s something satisfying about seeing all your jars and cans lined up, labels facing out, like little soldiers ready for duty.

It’s not just about functionality; it’s about creating a space that feels good to use. Choose containers and organizers that not only do the job but also bring you joy.

This can get crazy and expensive. But it doesn’t have to!

Maintaining Your Pantry Throughout the Year

Keeping your pantry in top shape year-round isn’t just about filling it up and forgetting it.

Watercolor illustration of pantry shelves filled with an assortment of pumpkins and squash, alongside jars of preserved foods

Think of your pantry like a garden; it needs regular tending. This isn’t about a full-scale inventory every week – that’s too much for anyone!

Instead, make it a habit to do a quick scan now and then. When you put away groceries, take a moment to see what’s running low or untouched. Wipe down a section of one shelf, check for pests, and tidy up just a little.

Seasonal Refreshes and Overhauls

Seasonal changes are perfect times for a pantry overhaul. As the seasons shift, so do our eating habits. Spring might mean clearing out heavier canned goods and making room for lighter fare. Fall could be the perfect time to stock up on baking supplies and hearty grains.

A watercolor close-up of pantry shelves, highlighting bottled condiments, fresh herbs, and folded linens."

It’s a chance to start fresh and make your pantry a cornerstone of seasonal eating and living. Plus, it’s always nice to go into a new season feeling organized and prepared.

Building Your one year pantry over time

Building a well-stocked pantry doesn’t have to be an overwhelming or expensive task. You can achieve it slowly, over time, without straining your budget or storage space.

I made a 12-week plan to guide you in building your pantry week by week. You’ll need to customize the amounts and foods to your family, but I hope you find it helpful.

12 week plan for stocking pantry

More resources for pantries and preparedness

I hope you’re able to take what works for you. Get this done a little at a time and you’ll reap the rewards ❤️.

How to Stock Your Pantry for a Whole Year {365 Days of Preparedness}

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  1. I just love your newsletter, graphics and recipes.. Your lists give me a starting point. Congratulation on a job well done.

  2. Gracias por la información. Había estado buscando esta información y no encontraba información de cantidades para almacenar. I’m Mexican. Thank you so much for the info.

  3. I love this list as I always try to have a stocked food storage. I have a family of 10 so my question is how much more would I need to add to the list of numbers