A Working Pantry vs. A Long Term Emergency Pantry

There are two sides to the spectrum of prepper pantries you can create. The first one is called a “working” pantry, and the second is a “long term” pantry. Both of these pantries have their own pros and cons, so it is important to know which one works best for you as you begin to gather supplies and consider what you are preparing for.

Brown wooden kitchen cupboard working pantry

What is a working pantry?

A working pantry is something you can use even if there is not an emergency going on. You would have a lot more in it than a regular pantry, though. Instead of just one jar of peanut butter like a normal pantry, you would have enough for maybe a month. (Or however long you have the space for) For this kind of pantry it is important to follow FIFO— “first in, first out” as you use it. Keep your oldest items in the front and restock from the back to avoid spoilage.

What are the pros of a working pantry?

A working pantry is the easiest to start. All you need is a little patience to build up whatever you have room to store. It is a very customizable style of pantry and is really perfect for the beginner prepper to get their feet wet by learning to keep track of how much their household uses up in how long. You can try it out with some basics first and expand or experiment with other things as time goes by. As you get more comfortable with it, you can even try making batches your own shelf-stable foods!

What are the cons of a working pantry?

A working pantry is not usually conducive to a long-term plan, since it would generally have things you use regularly. These things can last a while on a shelf, but they are not necessarily non-perishable. A working pantry also tends to be very small, and at most, would only be able to provide basics for maybe a month. Think of the working pantry as the bare minimum of prepper pantries.

Person shopping bulk foods

What is a long-term emergency pantry?

The long-term pantry is what you build up with non-perishable supplies like MREs, dry rice/pasta/beans, canned goods, etc. You would buy these types of things in bulk, and they would stay stored in the prepping pantry until needed. This pantry is very important to keep organized, temperature controlled, and pest proofed. The supplies will need to be able to last for months, or even years before and after a disastrous event.

What are the pros of a long-term pantry?

A long-term pantry is stable for many years once you get it fully stocked. It is the pantry you would think of when you imagine a place like an emergency bunker. Giant cans, pallets stacked with supplies, and it all can last for years unopened. A long-term pantry is perfect for you if you are planning to need a lot of necessities for an extended period of time. This is your ultimate prepper pantry.

What are the cons of a long-term pantry?

Building up a long-term pantry can be very expensive, and you do not get very much say on the quality of the food you get. Food that lasts years is very, very processed and not exactly dietary restriction friendly. Highly preserved foods are also not guaranteed to taste very good, so this can be especially difficult for families with children that will need to eat in a crisis.

Of course, these are simply two sides of the prepper pantry spectrum. Use this pro/con list as a guideline to finding a happy medium that works best for you and your loved ones in the event of a life-altering situation.

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