Building a Pantry: Self-Sufficient and Money-Saving

Reader Contribution by Adam Lafferty

My parents have been spending the summer making some much needed improvements to their house. On top of strengthening the foundation, putting in new siding and adding a sunroom, they have also ripped out a dividing wall in the basement and are planning to turn that area into a pantry. In that part of the basement there is already a freezer, a mini-fridge and a small food cabinet, as well as some hanging shelves for vegetables, but my parents are also planning to set up shelves to store more food.

Fall and winter will soon be upon us, and if you live out in the country where it’s a 30- or 40-mile road trip to go grocery shopping, or if you buy food in bulk, then building a pantry is an essential way to keep expenses to a minimum.

Setting one up is relatively easy: The best place to start is to clear out a corner of your basement — preferably against an underground wall where the outside soil can temper changes in the weather — and put up some shelves for storage. If you don’t have a basement, any cool, dry place in your house will work. The cost will depend on how you go about doing it, but the overall savings on food bills and gas burned on trips to the store are well worth the effort. When you’re done, stock up your groceries and home produce, whether canned, dried or pickled, and be well prepared during emergencies, or save yourself a trip to the supermarket.

Read The Well-Stocked Pantry or Build a Basement Root Cellar for more tips on designing your own pantry and keeping it well stocked. Also try Cheap, Easy-to-Build Storage Shelves if you need shelves to store your food on, and Save Money on Groceries to learn more about how you can keep your food costs down.