S.Read asked me: I would like to know how you keep up-to-date inventory on your supply?
I have a print-out worksheet that I made for my household notebook for the purpose of keeping up with inventory information. I use that to keep track of the bulk items I buy. I write down what I bought, when I bought it, how many pounds or units etc. and how much it cost. For other things, I use a sharpie marker and write the date I purchased it on the outside of the container or box. If you do not know how long it takes you to use a certain item…marking it with a date has helped me figure out the rate of usage. I write on laundry detergent to Costco size foil and plastic wrap as well as food items. We are almost out of the foil I bought back in July of 2006.
I was using a freezer inventory list to keep track of my meat. However, that became too tedious and now I just eye it and know in my head what needs to be eaten, what we are out of and what needs to be restocked. I will have to work on that system.
In my dry goods pantry, I keep track of some basic items that we regularly use. For example, when I get down to 1 or 2 jars of honey or mayonaise, I will put it on my list to buy several more jars. The older jars I will use first, obviously. Occasionally and depending on the product, I write the date I purchased or made that item.
For my bulk food purchases, I purchase 25 and 50 lb bags every couple of months and alternate what I buy. One month I may buy grain and oats. A couple of months later, I may buy the sugar and grits. I do not yet have the storage space to buy more although I would love to just do a big one year bulk purchase.
It may sound like it is ultra organized. Believe me….It really is not. And currently my kitchen is really a big mess while I am trying to figure out what I need to do (shelving, arranging, storage) in order to get it running smooth. I have, however, made an extra effort to not just let the pantry go unmonitored. It is an exciting challenge to manage.