Tracking Our Food Storage

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“Tracking Our Food Storage,” Ensign, Feb. 1996, 71

Tracking Our Food Storage

For years I struggled with keeping track of my year’s supply of basic foods. I tried keeping lists of what I had, but the lists changed weekly. I was taking inventory much too often.

Then, while a friend was visiting a bicycle shop, she noticed their system for inventory control. Inspiration struck! We each adapted the idea to our own food storage system with wonderful results. Here’s what we did:

  1. On a poster board, tape or glue pockets made of index cards cut in half, one for each kind of food in your basic year’s supply. Each pocket is labeled by the type of food, number of packages or units, amount in each package, and the total amount needed for a year’s supply of that item. For example, one pocket might be labeled “spaghetti—48 boxes x 2 lbs. = 96 lbs.”

  2. We make an inventory card for each package or unit. Spaghetti, for example, would need forty-eight cards, each with “spaghetti—2 lbs.” written on it. Those forty-eight cards are placed in the labeled pocket. Do the same with each food item.

  3. Whenever someone takes an item from storage, that person also pulls a card from the pocket and brings both items to the kitchen. We place the card in an envelope taped behind a cupboard door in the kitchen.

We color-coded the cards to represent the source for obtaining each food item. Foods obtained from the cannery are kept on red cards, grocery store items on green ones, warehouse items on blue, and home-canned items are on pink cards.

It’s a simple matter before shopping to pull all the green cards from the envelope when planning a trip to the store, or all the red cards when I plan for a trip to the cannery. I know exactly what needs to be replaced. As items are restocked, I replace the cards in the poster board pockets.

We hang our poster board in our storage area. Now we are able to keep our year’s supply of food fully stocked.—Leslie O. Andersen, Kansas City, Missouri

Illustrated by Tom Child