Organize and Rotate your Food Supplies
Until recently, I thought we were organized with our food storage and rotation. I discovered that there is room for improvement!
We’ve been going through and packing all of our ‘stuff’ during the past month as we get ready to move to another area. We’re not on a schedule so we have been going through all of our accumulated stuff in a methodical way rather than throwing everything in boxes and shoving off.
We’ve managed to weed out alot of items that we really don’t use or need anymore and have donated or sold some of it. The big surprise though (other than the realization of how much we all accumulate over time) was finding stashes of food that we had forgotten about, which was well beyond expiration.
Many years ago we had slowly started to accumulate some extra food, because we live in earthquake country (although not for much longer…). We happen to live very near one of the big faults that they expect to let-loose… they keep on saying that the ‘big one’ will happen within 30 years, the same thing that they were saying when we moved here 14 years ago. One thing I know is, the clock is ticking.
Anyway, as beginners years ago, we bought lots of various foods and started storing them in various places. Some in bins, boxes, and shelves in the shed, some on shelves in the pantry, etc. One of the problems we discovered while recently packing is that we lost track of all that we had, and where it all was stored. We came across several bins and boxes of old food. Oops…
While we looked through the old foods, we discovered that the foods we bought those years ago were not the smartest purchases. We didn’t necessarily buy the foods that we normally eat. Not only that, but we bought too many of some items and we should’ve known that we wouldn’t eat that much of this or that. Nowadays we know the saying, “Store what you eat, and eat what you store”. As a general rule, you shouldn’t buy food that you don’t normally eat (there are exceptions).
I do believe that if all your food storage is visible, it will be a much less wasteful system than having foods stored in boxes and bins that you lose track of. Some people are better disciplined than others with maintaining lists, and may be perfectly fine with having foods tucked away here and there, but I’ll bet that most folks aren’t that disciplined, and need to ‘see’ what they have.
If you see what you have on the shelves, then you are less likely to buy too much of this or that, and are more likely to be able to rotate your foods such that you eat the oldest first and keep it going in order so nothing spoils over time.
So, hopefully some of you will learn from our own mistakes. Try not to hide away storage foods such that you may forget about it or forget exactly what you have and when you stored it or when it will expire (there are exceptions).
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This is too funny. I just pulled out all my buckets with color-coded gamma seal lids today. Also , went through a bunch of mylar baged foods as well. Got completely re-organized……..wow………lots of hard work.
I had the same problem with not storing what we eat…and then not packing it properly for storage. When I went through and saw what food had gone over the hill because of my lack of proper packing, I was very disconcerted.
As for ‘seeing’ what you have on hand, an inventory (we’re going to try to write a program to get data from an online barcode lookup site so we can scan things in with our CueCat barcode scanner) on paper or computer and actually seeing helps me because I have a bad case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ and it helps me keep track and plan purchases better if I can see what I have.
@Karen, What an awesome idea regarding using a handheld barcode scanner! When I get time, I also will explore that method – coupled with some software to make it even easier.
CueCat PS/2 Standard Barcode Scanner
Hand Held Contact USB 80mm Long hand-held CCD Barcode Scanner Barcode Reader w/red LED CCD reader