I just started. Even if it's one can of green beans, grab it and say this is for food storage. It is wise to have your food storage or extended pantry set apart from your food that you are currently using or planning to use. For years my storage was in my bedroom and stuffed in a bathroom we weren't using. Not very romantic...
I'm not saying don't use it if you need it. Of course, use it if you ran out but when you make out your next shopping list out, try to replace it and forget about it until another need arises. Each time you go shopping, add another can. Don't forget to save some containers for your storage. I like to re purpose ice cream buckets and glass jars for my items.
Buy only what you will eat! This is so important. You know your family and buy what they will enjoy eating. I made the mistake of buying a huge bag of split peas. Turns out I only like split pea soup once every year or two and my family doesn't like it at all. It would have been better to buy another bag of beans or lentils with that money. I found it's best to make a list of what you regularly buy. Work on an item until you have enough for a week, then a month and finally a year or more. There are some spreadsheets available online to get you started but make sure you personalize it so you don't end up with unwanted split peas.
Pretty soon you will have a stockpile of your favorite foods and something magical happens. You get to start shopping in your own pantry. My pantry resembles a small store now and I freely use it BUT I replace each thing monthly and before it's completely gone so I can have the opportunity to replace it when the item goes on sale. This will save you money to reinvest in the pantry.
|Part of my pantry|