Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Use-It-Up Month

Hello! Last month the Dollar Stretcher website launched a pantry challenge, with tips on how to set up the challenge HERE.

It sounded like a good idea, but I caught wind of the challenge partway through the month, so I decided to start it this month instead. 

Basically, a pantry challenge means that one uses up the foods already purchased instead of filling the grocery cart each week with more food (exceptions can be made for fresh items like milk and fresh produce or other purchases deemed necessary). I'm not sure if it's really a big money saver if avoiding many grocery categories for the duration of the challenge means that a good sale is passed up. But it does give one the chance to use things that have been lingering around. 

For instance, I have two bags of candied ginger on hand. I'd bought one of the bags awhile back to use in a gingerbread recipe I'd come across. Alas, I never made that gingerbread - but still bought another bag of candied ginger in December when I encountered a good deal. So, it looks like I should find a use for the older bag of candied ginger this month. 

I don't really have a lot of excess pantry items though, in part because I don't have a lot of convenient storage. Our basement freezer is another matter, however. We have a full size freezer and it's currently bursting at the seams. Time to start eating some of the food in there instead of buying yet more eatables that have to be frozen!

And I did just that yesterday, making a nice soup out of some of that freezer stash.

But I'm not going to stop at just meals - I want to make an effort this month to use up what I already have on hand in a variety of ways. One big example of this is finally doing something with the flannel pieces I'd taken from my mom's fabric collection after her death (she'd sewn what was likely several dozen sleep pants for grandchildren over the years).

My mom died a little over four years ago, so I've had all this flannel for awhile. And it's also been awhile since I first learned about this projectwhich seemed like a good way to make a dent in the fabric. This turned out to be the case: using just the flannel pieces that have blue prints, I was able to cut 150 6" inch squares - and still have some blue flannel pieces left! Yeah, that's how much flannel my mom had remaining from sewing all those sleep pants, and I still have some flannel pieces in other colors as well. I might be able to make another comforter!(I wonder if she'd ever had plans for any of it?)

I've discovered that thrift stores can be gold mines for books and magazines. But for this month, I'll read what I have on hand (which is plenty) instead of bringing home new-to-me reading material. Last night I went through a few older craft magazines I'd picked up over the course of last year. A couple were keepers, but a couple weren't as interesting as I'd thought they'd be, so I'll donate them back. But I wouldn't have known I didn't want to keep them if I hadn't taken to time to look them over!

And so it goes. These are just a few examples of what I've done so far in my Use-It-Up month, but I hope to do more in the days ahead. 


  1. All great ideas! I've been working on de-stashing in my studio for quite some time. It's almost embarassing how many craft supplies and such I have.

  2. I know what you mean about de-stashing studio supplies! My studio is too cold in the winter to spend much time down there, but I did get rid of those magazines I mentioned and organized some Christmas supplies down there recently.