Preparedness on the Cheap: Inventory Your Food Storage

(Preparedness on the Cheap is a series of articles for the prepper and everyone else that doesn't have a lot of money, but needs to take steps to be prepared. A good deal of prepping is learning, planning, and organizing. Prepping doesn't have to cost a lot of money, but does involve a lot of doing!)

This is when I first put up these shelves. They are no longer this empty!

While prepping can cost you a lot of money, there are some very easy prepping things to do to keep you sane and your money to be spent a little more wisely. This week I am going to tackle inventorying the food storage.

Doing a food storage inventory can seem like a daunting task, but the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks:

1. Knowing what you have on hand to make meals.
2. Knowing what you need to stock up on.
3. Knowing what you need to can from the garden this year or even plant in the garden this year.
4. Having a concise list in case of disaster.
5. What you have been eating every day vs what you thought you would eat and haven't touched.

Pizza sauce and chicken can go together nicely, but for organizing, they need to be with other like things!

Making a food storage inventory can take time. When I do my food storage inventory, I use that time to reorganize my food storage so like foods are together for easier inventorying. The kids and I both are guilty of putting the food away in a "loosely organized" manner so when I inventory I make sure everything is together and nicely put away.

You should write down every item so you don't get too many items that you will barely use. You will be able to tell if you have a surplus in one area and a shortage in another area. You will be able to tell how many empty canning jars you have and what home canned items need to be consumed before the summer comes.

What to use to inventory? This is where you can get as high tech and as low tech as you wish. I just use a lined spiral notebook. I know people who have a program on the computer, have created an Excel worksheet or downloaded food storage sheets. Some people like to be highly organized in this area and they are pretty good at updating their food inventory weekly and monthly. However, I don't want you to get overwhelmed so just do what works for you.

None of the mentioned methods are right or wrong. You should just use whatever is comfortable for you, but always make sure you have a hard copy somewhere accessible. I keep my notebook with my food storage because I just find it easier to find and update if I need to. I will, at some point, put everything into a spreadsheet. I already have my freeze-dried and bucket storage in a spreadsheet.

Food storage inventory should be taken at least once a month. However, you may find it easier to only take inventory once a quarter or every six months. An easy way to remember to do this is to write a reminder on the calendar or set a reminder on your phone.

I hope this helps you! Please let me know in the comments what you do to inventory your food storage.

Thanks for reading,

(Updated 6/29/2018)


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