Another key to using the pantry principle in food storage is to have a running food inventory. This will allow you to easily see the food that you have available, and the food that you still need to purchase. It can help you to achieve your goal of storing a good supply of food, as well as make sure that you are rotating through the food in a timely manner.
If you haven’t done this already, you really need to make a list of the foods that you prepare on a regular basis. You then need to make a list of the ingredients that you need to prepare these items. I have mentioned it before, and I know that I will mention it again. This list is the key to your success in establishing a good food storage and rotation system. If you don’t cook on a regular basis, or cook a wide variety of items, you can plan a monthly menu instead of a weekly menu.
I have a five-week menu planned. On the front of each week’s menu I have listed the main courses and sides of all the meals that I will prepare during the week. I then list all of the items I need in order to prepare the meals listed. On the back I have the recipes written down, so that I do not need to look them up while I am cooking. I post this list on my refrigerator and it really helps me. When I compile my shopping list, I just check what I have on hand and write down the items that I have run out of. I have a general list of the type and amount of each food that my family consumes during the month. This is the first step of my food storage inventory.
“Food Storage for the Clueless” lays out the next part of the plan. Your next step is to create a chart or a spreadsheet on your computer. On this you list the items that you want to include in your food rotation system. This can include anything from flour to chicken to canned fruit. You then list how much of each item that you would need in a year. Then you list how much you have of each item. (In this column you would add what you had just bought and then list the date.) In another column you would list what you had just consumed and the date. Then you can easily see what needs to be replenished. It would be easier if you listed the canned goods in cases of twelve or the size of box they come in.
After you have started the food inventory, you will need to start purchasing the food. You can watch for sales or put aside a little bit money each week to purchase extra food storage. If you start a little bit at a time, it will really begin to add up. Don’t be overwhelmed with this idea. When I planned my five-week menu, I sat down and planned the meals I would eat for the five weeks. Then I prepared the menu sheet the week that I actually used it for the first time. It only added a few minutes onto my planning that week, and in the long run it has saved me a lot of time.