I’ve talked before about the importance of food storage, but a little less about keeping track of what you have and what you might need, as well as rotation.
Now, you should only be stocking food you’ll actually eat, so theoretically rotation should be simple: you remove it from storage, use it, replace it.
For instance, if I’m out of butter, say, here in the house, I can run up to the freezer in the barn and grab a pound or two. If it’s not in the house, it’s in the barn freezer or storage unit; if it’s not there, I make do until our next trip to the store. Rotation, in this case, is simple.
And of course, when shelving items, put the new ones in the back and take from the front. Like your own grocery store.
I mentioned the dreaded “I’m out of ____.” Yes, it happens, even to the most prepared people. This is why I have a list.
I keep it on my computer, and once a month I print it out and check off all the items I have on hand, adjusting quantities as needed. Normally, if we pull something out, I note it right away; likewise, after a shopping trip, I use the receipt to add things we’ve purchased. By using the receipt instead of counting actual items, you’re able to shelve things right away. We usually stop at the barn first and unload whatever goes there.
Normally I’ll make the quantity adjustment as soon as I remove something, but occasionally that doesn’t work out so well. Say, if I’m in the middle of cooking and can’t leave the stove or even when my husband grabs something and doesn’t, ahem, tell me.
It’s important to keep track—what if SHTF and you suddenly can’t find batteries—or butter—because you used them and didn’t write it down? What if your propane is all used up? Or you’re out of bacon? Disaster!
So you not only need to stock supplies, but keep track of them and rotate—otherwise, you’ll be out of something important or, even worse, it’ll be moldy or stale and useless.
Take the time to make a list of all the things you might use in a week, and make sure you have at least one of each item, plus one more to store. That makes your inventory small and doable. As you get better at prepping, you can increase the amount of time and number of items needed to keep yourself in supplies for a longer period.