Food Storage Inventory, Part 1

Sunday, November 27, 2011
So, my big project for the last two weeks or so has been working on getting my food storage inventoried so I actually know what I have! I've gotten very lazy about it lately, and we haven't been good about putting stuff away (we've just kinda let it pile up on the floor) so I've ended up buying more of stuff than I needed thinking that I didn't have any when I really did.

It's not as easy of a task as you might think. After the massive home canning project, we had to find someplace to fit all 100+ cans, which led to us having to shuffle stuff on shelves to make room, which led to "Well, we're moving stuff around so we might as well be counting it while we're at it", which then led to "Hey, do we REALLY need 24 cans of cranberry sauce?" and thinking about how much stuff we really need or WANT to store for our year's supply...

So we've been going shelf by shelf, making room, rearranging, counting, tallying, and then deciding how much of each item we want and/or need (or both) to store vs. how much room do we have. We have all of the food inventoried, and are now working our way through giving everything a permanent home. So far we've finished three of the six shelving units.

But this has brought up an additional question for us: How do we best keep track of all this? Since we are trying to incorporate food storage items into everyday meals, it means that we are pulling things from food storage on a fairly regular basis, and we need to keep an accurate count of what we are adding and subtracting.

Right now it is written across about 8 or 9 pages in a notebook, with tally marks next to each item. And for the short terms I'm considering making a clipboard for each shelf unit, and a list of what is on that unit, with the current total and the max total for each item, and then hanging the clipboard on the side of each so we can mark down when we add or take something. But that still means that I'd have to go down and review six different lists periodically to see what was needed. I could put all the info together in an Excel spreadsheet and track it that way so it's all in one file, but then everything we use something we'd need to log in to the computer, open the file, and mark it down. And realistically that just probably isn't going to happen on a consistent basis.

So today I was browsing to see if perhaps there were any apps for my phone that might work. I've found one that looks promising - I'll be testing it out this week and let you know what I think.

In the meantime, how do YOU keep track of your food storage or pantry inventory? Any suggestions you can share? What has worked for you? What hasn't worked? Tell me, tell me, tell me!


Wendy said...

I tried a system almost exactly like what you're talking about and it did NOT work--way too hard to keep up on it and if anyone else removed stuff from the storage without marking the tally sheet my numbers ended up all screwy. However, I thought it was a great idea and it might work for you if your family is more cooperative than mine. I have switched now to a list of what I want to have at any given time and it is in my menu book. When things go on sale for a good price, I check my list, go look at my stock and buy enough to bring my stockpile back to where I want it to be. So far it's working fabulously.

Candi said...

Yeah, I'm a little iffy on the tally sheets - they may work for about a week, but I'm sure then we'll get lazy and take stuff without marking it down. What I REALLY need is like one of those anti-theft detectors that you walk through on the way out the door of the store - only put in on the door to my food storage room. It would read the barcode of anything coming in or going out of the room and automatically send the info to an inventory list that I could access from my computer and my phone... ;)