Posts Tagged ‘Organization’

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.

I went to Costco yesterday. I spent ummmm $386 I didnt get any frozen stuff except the steaks for dinner (We were having a BBQ and D had forgotten to take the Elk steaks out) and a few things the children requested that they make on nights that we go out or I’m to lazy to cook. I only cook 3 or 4 times a week honestly. I am trying to be better about it, but its a fact of life with me having a full time job and D not cooking anything that doesnt involve a BBQ grill. I don’t mind it and my kids aer old enough to make chicken bakes, soup, chili and other things on their own….. And by the way, my kids LOVE oatmeal, the plain kind that they can add fruit and nuts to.

I currently have a deep freezer and one of our fridge freezers full of stuff from costsco and then the other one is more than half full of elk meat. Sometimes we have venison or wild pig and other various game that D’s customers have bagged and don’t have room to store all of in their freezers. I would prefer my freezers be full of that anyhow since I know it isnt full of chemicals and water weight.

I digress.

So I get home from my shopping expedition and realize just how out of space I am. Now, I knew for the last 6 or 8 grocery trips that I have had to rearrange things EVERY time I come home with more food. But the amount of stuff I brought home yesterday was just more overwhelming than I realized. I started moving things and realizing that I had nowhere else to actually move them to.

At this point, as a fair assessment, I would say I have about a total of 3 months of normal consumption, maybe 4 if strapped. I’ve enlisted D’s Shop Helper to build me a FIFO shelving system, but he probably ownt get around to it for maybe a month… So for now what I plan to do is take some boards and create some additional shelving in an area that normally contains gun cases (Empty) and put the cases in the gun room where the guns are hanging on the walls. I think there is room in the closet in there.

You have to realize, it isnt just me and D, we have 5 children between the 2 of us and we have a fat ass roommate who I prefer not live here, but he does. This is why a 4 month food supply would such a large amount of space. I need more food service shelves. Wish they weren’t so stupidly expensive. I REALLY with the Shelf Reliance Shelves werent so expensive because I would totally buy those.

This is one my my biggest fears, letting the food strage and supplies overtake me.

Recently there was a death in the family and we were taken with just how much disorganization there was, the multitude of “stuff” it was close to an episode of that show “Hoarders”

A couple of people have asked me, “Are you, like, hoarding food now?”

Ummmmmm not exactly, and its hard for me to try to explain why without sounding like a paranoid freak. Which I am a little bit now a days but Mostly I just smile and forgive them for the ignorance because its better to tell them why they should protect their family and what a good practice it is to consider but when their eyes glaze over and they look bored, I just let it go.

I really don’t want to be disorganized or lose my method in the sheer volume of the storage I am creating for my fairly large family. With 5 kids and 2 adults, there is a lot to consider, you know? Even if it is only for 1 year. There is just SO MUCH and I still have room, I just want to be more organized about it. *ie: more shelves and a better method of rotation*

The loss we endured recently was someone close to our family and she had such a mess is really made me sad, and I guess the wording Hoarding or Hoarder is kind of a hot button for me because it has very negative condentations.

Hoarding is not what I am doing. I am thinking first about my family and the changing economy, if in fact at some point the SHTF I want to be prepared and not freaking out like other zealots. It’s just something I have been thinking about a lot lately. I really am excited and motivated and I am working towards a larger goal. If at any point you have great storage and organizational tips, PLEASE let me know! I love taking those ideas and making them my own in our house!

Also, If you let go of Hobby, get rid of the stuff, don’t keep it around, declutter,let it go, someone else may be able to use it, donate it, or toss it. Don’t let it become a mound on crap in your life!