Rotation is very important.

When you have several months or several years of food, you need to make sure that you are using the oldest food that you purchased first. This idea is called First In  First Out or FIFO.

So how do you keep track?

Well for me, I don’t keep my food storage in my cabinets upstairs, I don’t have food cabinets in my kitchen, I only have a pantry and thats chock full of spices and open food (half a bag of rice, open flour, things that have been using or plan to use within a day or two) Everything else I have is in my basement. I am always running down to get this or that from my stores, or sending the kids to fetch something.

So how do you keep track?

I have seen several methods that seem like a good idea.

Keep relative loose track and write dates on everything. This works decently if you only have a few months of food storage. writing the dates down helps you to keep everything lined up with the oldest upfront.

Another idea I have seen is to write down on a list every time they remove something from the store of food, this works okay if you only have short term food storage (less than 6 months) and most of it is located in your kitchen, and is easily arranged, because you know to replace it, I don’t see how it helps you to know its the oldest.

ALWAYS write the date, no matter what method you choose.

My canned food is lined up, I havent had the ability, time, or money to purchase or make a can rotation system yet. So what I do is I have everything in single rows, sometimes 3 or 4 high, when I buy more of anything I push the column back, which means that the oldest is in the back, when I go to get something, I walk around to the back of the shelf and pull from that column in the back, the cans arent facing me, but generally I don’t have a problem getting lost on what I am picking up, this works for boxed food as well.

When it comes to things like Rice, sugar and wheat, I don’t even bother buying smaller amounts all of them are in 25 pound bags or 5 gallon buckets (it is my plan to have them all in 5 gallon buckets, I just havent been able to yet, but thats for another article) I don’t rotate these stores though, I just add on top, they have huge shelf lives I make note of when they were purchased and I don’t worry about them, they don’t have a 12-24 month shelf life like canned foods would.

Now, I have not implemented this next idea but it is the one (for me) that is the best idea. This is the rubber band idea. In this scenario, what we would do is place a wide rubber band around the newest box of pasta or can of chili or whatever it is, and  rotate forward, when you reach the product with the rubber band, work it to the more recent newest and so on. The reason I like this one, is because I can see it working really well for my boxed goods, because eventually I will not have the ability to walk to the back of the shelf, I will have to rearrange my shelving units because I am again running out of space.

Another options that I can see is color co-ordination. get colored post its or stickers of letters or whatever I actually really like the idea of the letters. when you purchase a batch of any given product as your organizing and getting ready to put it up, check to see what color or letter the oldest product has on it, then add another color (maybe the next in the rainbow) If your using colors you may want to write down some where obvious what your codes or order of your colors are for your kids or hubby.

This is all confusing. I know. Food storage feels easy to me but I have done hundreds of hours of research. If I am not clear on this, if you would like clarification on rotation, or anything else I wrote for that matter, please comment and I will get back to you.

The most important thing, is writing the dates on what you buy. Even if you only store food in your cupboards at least you will be able to see how long something has been stored there since you purchased it.

You should keep records either online or on paper, I recommend on paper (You can print forms to help you keep track) Only in case you are unable to use electricity for some reason. A lot of people will add their rotation, and their inventory online, and once a month or so print out their excel sheets or inventory sheets. Its really up to you.

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