Food Storage Inventory Tactics

Written by Brandon Garrett

Keeping track of your food storage can save you time and money. If you know where and how much of each food you have, it will make  food storage supply so much easier. Here are a few tips to keeping up on your inventory:

Establish a method. Make sure that you plan out how you are going to organize and set up your food storage. Make sure that your family also knows the rules of how the inventory is set up. This will help when you ask your children to grab something off the shelf for you.

Establish a menu. One helpful way to make sure that you are using your food storage in a balanced manner, is to create a monthly menu of the foods and meals that you will use. Miriam Caldwell recommends:

Set up a monthly menu where you eat about the same food every month. In order to avoid appetite fatigue I suggest having thirty or thirty-one different meals on this menu. If you know what you eat on a regular basis, then it is easier to plan and rotate the food. Some people prefer to have a different winter and summer months menu. (Read Caldwell’s article.)

Food rotation. Be sure that you are eating the oldest thing on your shelf. Put a date on everything that you put in your food storage. Even if you can’t determine when a store-bought product was canned, just writing the purchase date on the can will help.

It’s also helpful that you know how quickly your family rotates through certain items. This will help you know when you need to buy things.

Some preppers are using inventory services in order to keep track of their food storage. This guy is using a smart phone app to scan, number and track his items.

If you’re not as technological as some, there are also some great inventory sheets available online.

Store like items together. If you have wheat stored in three places in your food storage room, things can get complicated very quickly.

Deep, accessible shelving. Having shelves that are easy to reach into and grab stuff out of can make food rotation so much easier. Be sure to keep the oldest items in the front and place new items in the back. Food storage expert Leslie Probert recommends:

Store food in categories on your shelves, either in boxes of No. 10 cans, cases or even stackable half-case cardboard trays of canned foods, often stocked this way at the grocery store. If shelves are deep, you can keep older boxes or trays in the front, and add new ones to the back of each section. It’s simple to notice when you’ve used a box, case or half-case tray in each food category. You know then that it’s time to replace that food.

Commercial slanted shelves are expensive and are not necessary to rotate food. Inexpensive shelves allow you to spend more of your money on food. (Read Leslie Probert’s article.)

What other ideas have you found helpful?
There are many different ways to track your inventory with food storage. What have you found to be the easiest ways? Share your recommendations below to help others learn from your experiences.

Updated January 30, 2012

2 Comments

  1. Donk wrote:

    Starting out, I have found that obtaining used frosting buckets work well. These are primarily gotten from the neighborhood groceries store for about 50 cts to a dollar a piece O-ring lid included. Cleaned in my dishwasher 2x then a baking soda rinse and air dried 3-4 days.
    Right now we store mostly dry goods rice, beans, sugar, flour etc, With 3 buckets of 4 days of lunch and dinner items, (working on the breakfast thing). Hope some of this will help someone just starting out being prepping.
    Donk

    February 5th, 2012 at 4:40 pm
  2. Burt Romani wrote:

    Such an excellent write-up!

    November 9th, 2013 at 4:58 pm

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