Pantry 2009: Keeping Inventory

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. 

If anyone has any pantry organizing, inventory, storage tips… send them in!



  • Tracy says:

    I buy our wheat, oats, and raw sugar in bulk too. We keep it stored in 5 gallon buckets with oxygen absorbers in our basement. Our basement can be damp at times but we keep a dehumidifier going at those times. At one time before we moved here and lived in a subdivision I keep all my grains in buckets in our attached garage. Someplace cool & dry is best, but we don’t all have access to that. I know many who store their grains in less than perfect conditions without any problems.

  • kbpraisehim says:

    Hi! I am new to this website and I am enjoying it very well. Would you be willing to post a blog with some of your inventory and other worksheets you have been using for your notebook. I am very interested in seeing how you have been doing. Thanks! Kelly