We found ourselves purchasing extra quantities of food and household items at the start of the pandemic. (and once again we are stocking up due to rising prices). Soon we were running out of pantry and kitchen cabinet space to put all of the extra items we were buying.
We started stacking stuff up in the bedroom closet and in the basement. A few items went into one of our 2nd bedrooms and even on the garage shelves.
Every time we went to the store my husband kept purchasing jars of pepper rings and capers (items we don't go through too often). I would say to him, "You have several jars of those in the bedroom closet!" We would buy them anyway just in case I was wrong. So things were stacking up! I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be nice to look up my home inventory while I'm at the store!" That way we wouldn't be buying items we already had.
We also started making more meals at home and storing the leftovers in the kitchen and basement freezers. Right before dinner we would ask ourselves, "What do we have in the basement freezer that we can have for dinner tonight"? Do we have any homemade chili down there?
Soon I began to worry that expired canned goods would end up in the garbage because we had them scattered everywhere... in the Lazy Susan, Kitchen Pantry and in the Basement Office. So I created a spreadsheet to keep track of everything.
This led to our idea of having an online inventory system to keep track of food items by expiration date and storage location. And now I can look up my inventory when I'm at the store. It's also great to receive email alerts when an item is expiring.
You can choose to receive an email alert a day before, week before or a month before an item expires. I want to receive an email a month before a big jar of mayonnaise is expiring but I want to receive an email 1 week before a can of kidney beans are expiring.
Most valuable to me are keeping track of items that are not immediately in the kitchen area such as in the basement, garage or bedroom closet. It's also nice to keep track of opened jars in the refrigerator. We were always asking each other, "How long has that jar of pasta been in the frig?" We can keep track of that now.
We hope you enjoy our Online Inventory System at Millpondfarms.com. It's flexible -- you can use it to track everything (that's not realistic for us) -- but our system lets you do that.
Here are some ideas that might be helpful. Only Track:
- Canned Goods - items you don't use a lot such as Canned Whole Tomatoes
- Homemade Leftovers in the Freezer
- Lightbulbs - Pet Supplies - Wine
- Bulk Items - Toilet Paper, Paper Towels
- Items by Location - only track items in the Lazy Susan, Pantry, Basement, Vacation Home Pantry, RV
- Products from the Farm - We buy 35 pounds of fresh blueberries in the summer and store them in our Basement Freezer. I never know how many bags I have down there!