In this post, I’m going to show you how I keep my prepper pantry inventory with a short 9-minute video. This is the food inventory system I use and by sharing it I hope to help you decide if it will work for you as well.
My Prepper Pantry Inventory System – In Plain Sight
Keeping an up to date prepper pantry inventory has always been a challenge for me. I’ve tried several inventory apps as well as a notebook that I spent hours developing only to allow it to collect dust. Those prepper pantry inventory methods just weren’t doing it for me. I needed something much more simple and straight forward.
Finally, after years of buying too many of one item and not enough of others, I found the best way for me to keep track of our food preps. Something that didn’t require an update every time someone took a can of green beans from our pantry.
I’ve been using metal wire racks in our prepper pantry for years. Once I realized that with a little organization, I didn’t need a database or notebook to keep track. I just need to “see” what was missing.
Enter my “In Plain Sight” or “In Plain View” inventory system. Now my prepper pantry inventory takes just seconds – once I do the groundwork, that is.
By the way, if you’re interested in the Plastic Wire Shelf Label Holders(Affiliate link) I use, they work out great. I just cut 1-1/4″ strips off plain white 3″x5″ index cards for the label inserts and we’re off to the races.
The Prepper Pantry Inventory Groundwork
To start with, we need some racks or shelving that allows all of your food stocks to be seen at a glance.
Next, we need to organize the food in a manner that makes sense. For me, that meant canned vegetables in one area, meats in another, and canned soups in another. The same for condiments, sauces, instant packaged foods, bulk food storage, etc. You get the idea.
Now comes the fun part. Writing the “Best Buy” dates on everything with a sharpie marker.
First, you don’t HAVE to do this. I’m just making things easier to read for my wife and me. I got this idea from Todd Sepulveda over at The Prepper Website Podcast.
Second, those best buy dates ARE NOT expiration dates. We don’t use those in order to get rid of food too old. I use those dates for our food rotation. First in, first out. In other words, the newer foods go behind the older ones.
Here’s where the work comes in with this type of prepper pantry inventory. There are really cool food rotation racks but I do things the manual way – by hand every time we go shopping.
This may be a deal-breaker for many preppers but I actually enjoy it. I come in with our just-purchased foods and lay them out on the table. Then, after turning up a little AC-DC, because I’m THAT cool, I take my Sharpie and start writing dates on boxes, bags, and cans of my food preps.
Then I simply pull that particular food down from that section, careful to not mix them up, and place the newer foods in the back. Then I replace the older foods with the oldest in the front.
It sounds harder than it really is. I like it because I get time to play with my preps. Just joking. Kind of. 😉
Keeping Up Is Easy
Now that you have everything set up it is all downhill from here. Keeping up with things just takes a few minutes each shopping day and “seeing” what you need is fantastic.
I mentioned in the video that I take a picture of each rack using my phone. Then, when shopping, I look at those photos at the grocery store. I can zoom-in and easily see we need three cans of spinach, one ketchup and two gravy packets, as an example.
Find What Works Best For You And YOUR Prepper Pantry
As I mentioned, this is the prepper pantry inventory system I use, the plain sight inventory system. (Should I patent that?) LOL
You might prefer an app or plain paper and a pen. Or maybe something entirely different or something in between. What matters is you have a handle on what’s in your pantry and what needs to be replaced.
Hey, if you prefer a database rather than the system I use, can I recommend my friend Chip’s disaster preparedness checklist and inventory management system? That’s not an ad, just recommending something from someone I know and trust.
Once you know what you have, figuring out what you need and how long things will last becomes much easier. The stress just falls away like butter on a hot ear of corn. Did I just say something that corny? Get it? HaHa.
I hope I’ve helped in some small way and I enjoyed doing the video. Let me know how you keep track of your preps and how well it is working for you in the comments below.
Are you new to prepping? You might find Becoming A Prepper – Take On A Preparedness Mindset helpful.
Stay safe, aware and prepared,