I’m making dinner. I’ve got my casserole almost ready for the oven, and then it happens… I’m out of that last, vital ingredient I need. You know which one I’m talking about. It’s the one item that makes or breaks the meal. I run down to my basement, flip on the light, and there it is… the one I so desperately needed. I do a little dance, and run back to the kitchen with a smile on my face. Dinner is saved.
I love the idea of food storage. I have roughly a 3 month supply of food in my basement. I don’t know what I would do without it. It has saved my family more than once over the years. This subject, to me, lies in the gray area where minimalism is concerned. Yes, I really want to have less stuff. I am slowly making my way through my belongings and getting rid of unused and unwanted items. Food storage, however, is something that I will not compromise on. I want to be prepared… emergencies or whatever other circumstances come my way.
It is extremely important to be organized when it comes to food storage. Having too much, isn’t necessarily a good thing, and neither is not having enough. Decide how far ahead you want to be, and start planning. Plan out menus for the month. Start with the meals that you know you have the ingredients for. As you get to the meals that are missing items, write them down. You can then look through your weekly ads every week until you find your needs on sale. This is where inventory lists come into play. You will know exactly what you have and what you need. I use separate sheets of paper for different categories and subcategories of items.
The categories/subcategories I use are:
FREEZER: meat, vegetables, whole meals, breakfast, desserts, and other.
PANTRY: potatoes/rice, pasta, meat, vegetables/fruits, beans(legumes), sauces & dressings, soups, cereal, peanut butter/jelly, snacks, desserts, whole meals, flours, sugars, add ins (coconut, chocolate chips, raisins, etc), juices, spices, and other.
PERSONAL HYGIENE/CLEANING: hair (shampoo, conditioner, hair spray), paper products (toilet paper, paper towels), laundry products (laundry soap, fabric softener), kitchen/cleaning (dish soap, cleaning products), personal hygiene (bar soap, tooth paste & mouth wash, floss, feminine products, deodorant), band-aids & other first aid items.
Obviously, you can pick and choose what to add and to eliminate in the lists I have here, but they are a good guideline to start with. Under each subcategory, I write what I have, what size, and how many. I try to keep these lists on my fridge so I can refer to it when I’m looking through recipes. I also check off items when they are brought up from the basement so my counts are (hopefully) correct. I have included PDF’s of my lists in this post. Personally, I write down all my specifics… (green beans, corn, etc), on my lists, and then laminate them. Then I can use a dry erase marker on top and simply change the quantity. Easy. I hope these help you!
These lists help me tremendously when I’m going through the grocery ads. I know what I need, and what I don’t need. I can keep an eye out for items that I’ve used. I complete an inventory of my goods every three months to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything.
Rotating your food storage is a must! I use the CanSolidator rack system for my canned foods. These help take the chore out of rotating. All I have to do it load them up, and the oldest gets used first. There are labels included. They’re adjustable for different sized cans as well. I absolutely love these babies. They are a little bit of an investment, but they really do help keep me organized.
So there you have it… Meal planning, creating and taking inventory! Your effort on these will help you make the most of what you have, and save you so much time and effort in the long term. LET’S DO THIS!