As I mentioned last week organization in your pantry is a two step process. Once you have cleaned out your pantry and put like items together it is a good idea to have some sort of inventory of what exactly is in your pantry. Knowing what you have on hand you can save yourself time and money. How frustrating is it to go to the store and buy a few items only to come home and find those items already in your cupboard!
I haven’t found the perfect system yet. I started with a notebook but have since changed to keeping a list on my computer. I write down the item that I have in the pantry and have a line next to each item. Periodically I’ll go down to take inventory and recount how many items on are on hand. I keep the list in the pantry so that I can mark off when we use an item.
I use the same method for keeping track of what’s in my freezer as well. Once or twice a year I will empty my freezer and write down what was in there. I keep a copy on my computer and a copy in the kitchen. When I take something out I make a notation. I find this especially handy as we purchase our beef and pork from a local farmer and I want to make sure we use up what we have purchased!
In my spice cabinet I write the date I purchased the spices on the bottom of the jar, unless it is a jar I refill in which case I will write the date it was refilled. I have found this helps me quite a bit. When I do my cleaning of the spice cabinet I can check quickly and see how long something has been in the cupboard.
Keeping a shopping list on the refrigerator also helps me to stay on top of what I need to purchase. When we use something up I immediately write it down. Before I head to the store I double check my pantry list to make sure we need it.
There are numerous print outs you can find online and even apps you can buy for your smart phone to help you stay organized. There are even apps where you can scan the barcodes on items to make a list. If you use an app to stay organized please leave a comment and share what you use. I’m always looking for ways to improve my system! There are also books you can buy to help you be more organized. Organizing From the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern has some wonderful ideas for organizing your kitchen.
It doesn’t matter how you keep track of the items in your pantry but you will find that keeping track of your pantry items will save you both time and money!
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