Packing pantry staples for long distance move

janicemeJune 26, 2009

I hope this is the right forum for this question. In six weeks -- yikes -- we are moving half way across the country. We are driving to our new home and will meet the moving van there. Our drive will be 3 days with stops, and the moving van will arrive a couple of days later.

I am wondering about pantry staples --flour, sugar, spices, pasta, cannned soup, etc. I am trying to use these things up, but if I have significant quantities left I hate to just pitch them. I know I can donate unopened items to a food bank, but if they are unopened, I could also take them with. In these tight times, I think of staples as a capital investment.

I would appreciate any thoughts or advice you might have. Thanks

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You need to compare the cost of these items vs what it will cost you to move them. Are you going to load them in your car (do you have room?) or are you going to have the moving company to move them (and charge you for that)?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 2:22PM
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Sure, if you have plenty of room in the car, and assuming you don't have "tons" which affect gas mileage, take what you can.

In 6 weeks I could use up all my pantry, frig and freezer items.

Some people play a game, once a year or so, of not buying any groceries until everything in the house is used up. That also requires not going out to buy more pasta when yours is used up (or at least not stockpiling it)--use up the rice, or the beans, or whatever is left.

I'm not suggesting that, but if you focused on buying mostly fresh foods and having meals at home, I'll bet you could use up most of your stuff.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 2:36PM
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Will the food be going in the moving van or your car?

I could see taking what you have room for in the car. That would mean that you would have something to eat right when you get there.

In the moving van, on the other hand . . . . They weigh the van. Every pound will cost you money. What is the cost per pound that the movers are charging you and what is the cost of the food? It might be cheaper to donate the food and buy all new when you arrive. The food might attract bugs, if it's going to be in the van for 4 or 5 days.

If you want to ship the food in the van, check with the moving company to see if it's allowed. They might allow canned food, but not a paper sack of flour. I'd donate or toss a 5 lb. sack of flour, but would have second thoughts about a 25 lb. sack.

As a veteran of a kazillon moves, I'd only move the minimum amount of food. I'd take canned soups and anything else that is pretty much heat-and-eat, because that will make life simpler the first few days you are in your new home. I'd take the spices in the car, because they are small and also expensive. I'd use up as much flour and sugar as possible, even if just on making cookies and muffins for snacks in the car on the drive to the new place. And I'd offer the remaining flour and sugar to a good friend and donate anything that isn't opened.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 6:00PM
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If you decide to give away your pantry staples, stop & think first: is anything a specialty type food that you may not be able to find in your new area, and is an important ingredient you use?

When we moved from CA to TN, I didn't have room in our cars or in the shipping container, so I gave some of my things to a neighbor. One item was superfine sugar; not expensive, and on most all of our grocery shelves. When I got here, I learned that no one carries it and finally found a little bitty bag at Williams $onoma. I still wish for that big container of it that I gave away!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2009 at 12:54PM
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Thanks for all these ideas. There are only two of us and friends keep wanting to feed us, so I am not sure I can use everything up. We did make a few batches of strawberry freezer jam we plan to take in the car. We will pack it in a cooler with dry ice and stick it in the freezer at the other end as soon as we arrive. Fortunately, we are moving into a condo that has appliances in place.

I like the idea of a box of useful items, so we don't have to do a big shopping run the first day.

I am trying to cook now, because I know we won't want to cook as the move gets closer. I suspect whats left will go to a food bank locally. I am old enough to be influenced by the depression era thinking of my parents and struggle with "waste not, want not."

We are moving from the PA Dutch Country to Wisconsin, so I will think about the specialty items. Good thoughts everyone. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 12:20PM
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I'd give away the jam. You can make more, and it's hardly worth toting with ice and all. Giving food away isn't wasting it, and they make more of all of it.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 2:03PM
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When we moved from Ca we had a neighbor that did not have much money, but was very nice. I just asked him if he wanted my food, opened or unopened. He took everything, because our food banks were 45 miles away. He had 4 great big dogs, so they got some of the stuff. He also got the old microwave etc. He really appreciated the items. Don't really know what he did with the stuff, but it saved me from just throwing it away.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 2:24PM
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