Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Keeping Track

I thought a lot about how I could keep track of my food storage contents. There are labels on the boxes, yes, but since I didn't buy many things by the case, the kinds are spread all over the place. How do I know what I have? I'm talking about the long term storage. The three month supplies sit on the shelf and I use and replace (rotate), but rarely really keep track. If you want to keep track of that 3 months' supply, or even what's in the cabinet, you might try the inventory sheet here.

For the long term, though, I knew a glance at the shelf wouldn't be enough. In addition, I knew if I let it get too far ahead of me, I'd never catch up. About the third week I brought home a mixed box of six cans, I started a spread sheet in Excel. On the first page, I typed in all the foods available in #10 cans from the Home Storage Centers. Don't let it confuse you that it says, "For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - anyone can go there and buy what's on the shelf, or order what is needed on canning day and work for a couple of hours. Call your closest one for the days they are open. There are even three international locations.

I entered those items available, the shelf life expectancy (kept at 75 degrees), then made a columns for how many I have, how many I need, and the date I acquire them - that turns out to be several columns. On page two, I entered other things I bought like a gallon can of peaches at Kroger or the foods from Thrive/Shelf Reliance. Each time I acquire more, I enter the additions the same day. It's a habit. Now, I really can tell at a glance what I have. It's all stored in one place, or I would add a column for location, too.

If you don't know how to make a spreadsheet, most word processing programs, like Word or Neo, have the ability to make tables in documents. That works just as well. Buy and use a book of green ledger pages. Get a spiral notebook. Make something fancy with your scrapping supplies. Doesn't matter how you do it, make sure you're keeping track so you know what you have. Variety is important, and you'll want to know when you meet your goals!

Right now, I'm 100% on oats, cornmeal, and rice. I don't have to buy any more for storage for years. That makes me feel good!

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