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Mar 27, 2011 01:10 PM

One month 'til moving: how to empty my pantry, and what not to buy?

After April, I'm leaving residence (where I unabashedly hog our full fridge and freezer), and I'm wondering what pre-move shopping tips people have. Or what hints people have on dealing with kitchen stuff when they do move. I'm thinking the last week or two can be a scraping the bottom of the barrel canned food bash; it'll be exam time then, anyway.

I mainly feed just me and use very little meat - takes forever for me to use it up - but lots of dried beans, which I'm low on now. For vegetables, I generally use fresh. I have a fair amount of grains (3-4 types of rice, quinoa, couscous, oatmeal, pasta, pitas) that I'm usually too lazy to cook, though I have a rice cooker. There's no avoiding that I'll have a heck of a lot of appliances, sauces and spices to move. I go grocery shopping every 2-3 weeks and am probably going to head out tomorrow.

If all else fails, I'll have a potluck/host a dinner, I guess. Last potluck I went to, I managed to use up 8 eggs in a flour-free cake.

Not really sure what kind of info I should be providing, but let me know if more would help.

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  1. Take stock of what you have, including whether or not packages are already open. Plan menus using as much of what you have already as possible, but supplement with fresh foods if needed. You can plan for the whole month now, but one week at a time is more manageable. Work on perishables, frozen foods and open packages first. After that, use what you have as best you can, trying to use everything in a package before opening something new. Do no be afraid to buy small amounts of fresh produce to make the cans/packages more palatable. In the end, any unopened non-perishables can go to the food bank or shelter.

    1. Now is a good time to start gathering newspapers so you can wrap your glassware, etc for the move. I also place newspaper between pans, and make bundles of silverware, etc when moving. I also use crumpled up newspapers to hold kitchen stuff in place in moving boxes.

      1. Do not buy condiments. Just use what you have. You might also want to ask friends if they would like any of your open condiments in the days before you move, as it would be a shame to throw them out. I was actually quite surprised that my neighbors wanted my jams, mustards, chutneys, etc, but they were very happy to take them.

        During our last move, we actually had our stuff in storage for a month, and my well-sealed flours, grains, and spices came through fine. Our movers would not take anything in glass, so we had to use up vinegars, syrups, etc or give them away. Ditto for any liquor or wine.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Isolda

          second the idea of giving things to friends you are leaving behind. Also don't be afraid to throw things away. No one wants that jar of mustard that has turned an odd color, and you shouldn't eat it or move it either. But do be aware that a lot of things that we customarily keep in our fridges don't really need to be there, such as pickles or olives. A lot of it depends on who pays for the move, how far you are moving, and how long things will be packed up in the interim. Do keep in mind that experienced movers - people who regularly move every couple of years for work or whatever - have found that 10% of your belongings will disappear (loss/theft/breakage) every time you move. Make sure to keep a close eye on keepsakes like grandma's china, etc.