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How do you keep track of what you have? Specifically thinking about food storage and food rotation...

Anyone do a monthly meal plan to live off of food storage? How do you know what you have and don't have for your meal plan?

Anyone using a meal planning software? Microsoft Excel?
 

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After several months of buying a few canned goods every week, my system of keeping track of what I had broke down. I could not find what I wanted. Rats.

I have symplified things by changing what I buy. Instead of buying whatever tasty canned goods are on sale I set aside a cupboard for canned dinners, another for ramen noodles and such, and now I am buying a years worth of ONE item at a time! And, I make up for the increased cost by survival shopping a little less often.

For example, I bought a years worth of rice (40 pounds is what we use in our household for an average year) and I froze it to keep it fresh. With cabbage and onion from the garden and canned chicken from the dinner cupboard and soy it will make lovely chinese food, or with stewed meat or whatever.

Then after 3 weeks I bought stuffing mix, again a years worth. By survival shopping every few weeks instead of weekly I can buy lots of a few staples.

I figure that by buying a lot of a few staples, that I will never get my stores mixed up and confused again. 40 pounds of rice is hard to lose. And, when it goes on sale again I can buy a lot of spaggetti, then spaggetti sauce, then more canned meat, then......

It was just getting too hard to keep track of all of those canned goods; especially as every can was of a different food!
 

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I have been searching for a good alternative myself. I have found several meal planning software (freeware) online but have not really like any of them. If I find one I will try to come back and link it and if anyone else does maybe they can do the same. :)
 

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Let's see if I can make this short-n-sweet...don't want to bore ya'll. This method helps keep me sane. Oh, and no software - pen-n-paper for the menus and an excel spreadsheet for the grocery list

1. Came up with menu plan for 3 months (12 weekly menus) - leaving a day or two each week open for "recipe experiments", etc - tried not to repeat a meal each-n-every week (you know, spaghetti every Tuesday) - easily expanded into 6, 9 and 12 months
2. Behind each week's menu, I made a grocery list of all items needed...down to the salt-n-pepper.
3. From the weekly grocery list (and some lists found on the 'net), I created a master grocery list - categorizing the items into "Condiments" "Cooking/Baking", "Beverages", etc, you get the idea
4. On this master list, I have columns for location, item, size...how many on hand, how many needed, date added and expire date. A quick look down the outside column (expire date) lets me know what needs to be used or donated.

This helped me with deciding how much to buy for the family and allows me to easily adjust to accomodate additional folks. I also use it in "what if" scenarios - like how will we have meat in these meals if there's no power......which led me to learn how to pressure can meats. How will we have fruits......which led me to the larger quantities (#10 cans) of dried fruits.

Good luck.
 

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Lux in Tenebris
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OK....Our preps are for long term storage, we do not eat out of them..I know i'm going to catch hell for this, but we don't...Our current diet plans are not in sync with long term storage foods...Now, we have eaten these in the past, no issues, there, and if SHTF, will eat them too, no issues there...

What i did, is stored my preps in 5 gal buckets and non descript moving boxes, all numbered...The 5 gal buckets hold rice n beans, cans of tune..did you know that a 5 gal bucket will hold 77 cans of tuna in oil? and a can opener...:thumb:

Then, i inventoried and documented the preps in a notebook and excel spreadsheet:
so, box: #6 has:

qty type size per can serving total servings
4 cans sweet potatoes/300 oz/4 serv/16
2 cans pears/29 oz/6 serv/12
2 cans peaches/29oz/7 serv/14
1 can pineapple/20oz/5 serv/5
11 can mixed veggies/15oz/33
1 can carrot/14oz/3/3
2 can chk noodle/18oz/2serv/4
5 can corn/15oz/3serv/15

I have 10 moving boxes full of goods, plus the 5 gal buckets, all labeled too..

They sit on the shelves, only the numbers showing....

I also have blue tubs with mre's and misc camping items....The yellow bucket is my dogs kibble....:D:

Good luck mate...
 

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Most of our storage is long term, and we never touch it... it is good for years so why rotate it..

Now we keep track of everything else by usine an accountants ledger... and we enter non food items onto a form like this one:

http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net//fsme/docs/non-foods.pdf

then after it is entered into the books, it is transfered onto the puter and then to a back up on disk...


seems complicated but you really only need to pull the books after you do something with your stores... if you move it, just update the new location, and if it is used... then enter that and re buy...

just takes dilligence is all... or do like psyOp does... color code everything... and have designated locations for every container.... very efficient as well...
 

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Has anyone tried using a software like GroceryIP?


there are several different programs out there that will do everything you need them to do... but you gotta remember that if everything collapses... you need to have everything on paper or in a ledger type book for inventory control...

without power (unless you got generators) that entire system is gonna be worthless.... but don't get me wrong it is nice to have the programs...
Excell has several goodo nes available as well.... check out this link and that will give you a pretty good idea of what is out there in the line of programs.

http://excel.software.informer.com/download-excel-inventory-control-sheet/
 

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Family Always Comes First
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We have used the Revelar Food Storage Planner program for years and we like it.

www.foodstorageplanner.com

The FSP allows us to customize the list exactly how we want it by deleting the junk we would never eat/use and adding the things that we will use. It allows you to input the price of each item so you can keep track of what your inventory actually cost you and it has a shopping list feature too.

We use the FSP all the time and it has truely helped us tame our preps. (Now... if it could ONLY build some new shelves! LOL)

Medic73
 

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We have used the Revelar Food Storage Planner program for years and we like it.

www.foodstorageplanner.com

The FSP allows us to customize the list exactly how we want it by deleting the junk we would never eat/use and adding the things that we will use. It allows you to input the price of each item so you can keep track of what your inventory actually cost you and it has a shopping list feature too.

We use the FSP all the time and it has truely helped us tame our preps. (Now... if it could ONLY build some new shelves! LOL)

Medic73


agreed... it is one of the best and easiest to work with out there today!! :thumb:
 

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I used Excel mostly. I say 'used' because my computer crashed and I haven't recovered or recreated the file yet. I was able to track what I had including nutritional content, number of servings,... It was pretty easy to set up. I didn't include 'normal' pantry items (2 or 3 items of something), just big items (several hundred pounds or #10 cans). Using pivot tables, it's easy to compare what you have to recipes. Yes, if something happens it is easy to lose if you don't print it off, but it's great for planning.

I also write the date of purchase on all items using a big sharpie marker in 1+ inch letters and put the new ones to the back of the shelves. It makes rotating easier. I don't have to go searching for expiration dates. I can quickly see what we have a lot of.

Try not to micromanage this. It really doesn't matter if you have 3 cans of spam or 4. Otherwise, you're updating after every meal. You may want to decide on thresholds. For example, you might not want to record anything under 12 cans or 10# for most items.
 

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Summer mentioned "micrmanage"... very good point... the inventory control of your items can get away from you...and in the end you find yourself becoming a bit obsessive compulsive....

I have a family member that literally knows when and where he bought his last 2 boxes of tooth picks... and he dated the boxes.... WTF for was my question... He had no answer for that...

Operate on the KISS principle and it makes sense to you...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
What about day to day management of your food storage? Anyone actually live off of and rotate through their food storage by making meal plans?
 

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Eat what you store

It is not my intention to "knock" those who say they are "saving" their stored larder, but an attempt to show the other side.

There are reasons for the old "saw" "store what you eat and eat what you store".
1) Rotation of stored foods. Unless you are talking rice, beans, pasta, whole wheat, (or other whole grains), that have a 30 year shelf life, foodstuffs need to be rotated. Some may have a 1 year shelf life, some 2 years, some up to 5 years, but canned goods and processed foods of any kind will eventually go "bad" if not used.
2) If you are not used to a diet heavy in whole grains and legumes you are in for a rather interesting time digestion wise if you suddenly switch over.
3) Eating from your food stores requires you to learn how to cook from your food stores. After TSHTF is not the time to discover how to grind grain, make bread or make home-made tamales.
4) MRE's are expensive, high in sodium, (which plays hell on the system of those with hypertension or cardiac issues), and a short-term solution, at best.

The group that seems to have the best "handle" on long-term stored foodstuffs is the LDS church, and they preach "Store what you eat and eat what you store". In my opinion, with all their experience, they have it right.:thumb:

I make it a habit to eat at least two to five meals a week out of my long term storage, following information from the LDS publications.
 

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forgot about them for an odd reason... call the local LDS just as tortminder said... they will have a ton of free information available that they would be happy as all get out to give you...
 

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I use Excel to keep track of what I have stored away. I also do not plan to use these long term stores. The columns are:

• Date received or packed
• Qty / Weight
• Food Description
• FD? (freeze dried?)
• DH? (dehydrated?)
• Pail?
• Supplier
• Shelf Life
• Expires

Pretty simple really. Maybe could have numbered the boxes and pails but not sure if that would help me personally. Good luck.
 
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