Tidy the Store Cupboard Challenge Day 6: Inventory, planning & shopping list
We’ve made it to the weekend, so now’s the time to catch up on a few things. Today we’re moving on to the idea of keeping an inventory (super simple or more complicated if you prefer), then doing some planning and updating our shopping lists if needed.
First of all, let’s think about inventory. It’s just a record of what you have in stock, and there are different levels of complexity to choose from. Breaking it down, you have a number of options:
- No inventory at all. Just put your older store cupboard stocks towards the front of your shelves, and your older frozen foods on the top of your freezer drawers. This works best if you have small food stores, and shelves that aren’t overfilled so you can see – and perhaps also remember – what you have.
- A written inventory. This is better for a medium sized amount of stored food and drink. Write out the location (middle shelf, lower freezer drawer etc), the ingredient/product name, and use-by dates on a wipe clean board / notebook / clipboard and pad / chalk board. Cross them out as you use them up.
- A spreadsheet or an app. Can take a little longer to set up, but if you have large stores such as a well stocked traditional walk-in pantry then it’s probably worth the initial effort. Include location, name, weight or number of portions, and use-by dates.
- Apps may have a couple of advantages over spreadsheets. Most can be set up to send you an alert or prioritise foods approaching their use-by dates. Some can also scan the bar codes on packaging, saving you time typing, and help you create and share shopping lists.
- Popular domestic stock control apps include Pantrify (Android only), the pantry management function on Out Of Milk, and AnyList.
Now on to a little planning. Are you running low on anything for your store cupboard? Have a think about meals you regularly eat, things you like to cook over the wintery months, things you could stock up on now for Christmas and New Year etc, and ways you can make it easier to eat healthily. What do you buy and use most often? Make sure you’re particularly well stocked up on those items and ingredients.
Also think about anyone in your household who may have extra dietary requirements, such as low sugar, vegan or gluten-free foods. Don’t forget to include a few extra long-life items for emergencies – illness / snowed in / supply chain issues in the shops – that are easy to cook and eat. Include snacks and comfort foods too if you have the budget.
Finally, a last round of adding to the shopping list. Ideally you’ve been adding to your list all week as you’ve been going along, to make sure you haven’t missed anything out, but if not then today’s the day to get stuck in. Think about herbs, spices, sauces and seasonings, carbohydrates, protein foods, snacks, puddings, baking ingredients, teas, coffees, longlife milk and juice, breakfast cereals and whatever else you like to eat and drink.
How do you keep an eye on the contents of your store cupboard? Would you consider using an app for stocktaking?