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Old 05-23-2019, 04:37 PM   #1
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Question Taking inventory

This forum (Menu Planning) seems pretty slow so I'm hoping I'll garner some responses to my dilemma.
The biggest hurdle I have to menu planning is the constant inventory taking that needs to occur regularly. Once I take inventory of my pantry, cupboards, fridge and freezer, the logical thing would be to keep it up to date. Keeping it current would mean adding things when I've gone shopping and deducting things as I use ingredients up. It just seems like a whole lotta maintenance. There has to be an easier way to do it.
I'm wondering if a paper version or a digital version would be best to manage it. I'm leaning towards digital just because it seems faster and I'm all about paperless.
Does anyone else suffer from this "inventory" dilemma? Am I over-thinking it trying to make it easier? I sure could use some feed-back on this topic.


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Old 05-23-2019, 04:56 PM   #2
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We've given up on inventory. We keep track for a couple of weeks and then.... what we've found that works for us is looking what's in the freezers and then finding recipes to use what we find each week. We're slowly but surely working through the 3 freezers.

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Old 05-23-2019, 05:17 PM   #3
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Keeping track of all the ingredients needed to cook daily is a near impossible task. Meats, poultry and fish, herbs and spices, canned goods, breads, etc. Nt gonna happen.

If you have a general idea of what you have, that's a starting point. What really works is planning menus for all the meals you'll need to get from the nest shopping trip to the one after. When we do this, we plan meals the day of or the day before our weekly shopping then check for the ingredients and what we have to buy to make those meals for the coming week.

We have a stand alone freezer in addition to the fridge freezer combo in the kitchen. Also there are supplies in the kitchen and the pantry. I've tried a paper and a digital inventory list but you have to get EVERY HOUSEHOLD MEMBER to keep it up. We don't do that any more.
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
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Old 05-23-2019, 06:04 PM   #4
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Im usually pretty well stocked with the basic cooking ingredients ( flour, sugar, oils, herbs/ spices, canned goods that I'd use in recipes ( like beans, tomatoes)

Obviously, veggies, dairy or anything that needs to be fresh fall into the " ill get it when I need it".

I do a weeky inventory. I make a list of what Ill be cooking for the week, do a quick inventory, see what I got, and get what I need.

If something is on sale or a good price, and can be stored, I may stock up.

I always account for a day where I get home too late to cook a dinner, or am just too lazy. Usually those days will consist of a pasta or something my wife can throw together quickly, with little effort ( assuming I didn't prepare a few dishes earlier in the week). Therefore, Ill always have multiple varieties of pasta available, maybe som ravioli, tortellini or gnocchi in the freezer, along with either a frozen homemade sauce or a favorite jarred/ canned sauce.

Im one of those weirdos who knows and remembers everything that's in the fridge, freezer, or cupboard and which shelf its on and where its located on that shelf. Often my wife will call me at work to ask if we're out of something, and my reply will be ' open the freezer, look on the bottom shelf on the right, towards the back underneath the cranberries ...

So my weekly ' once over' is enough for me to keep things relatively organized and stock.
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Old 05-23-2019, 06:27 PM   #5
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I don't keep enough food on hand to worry about a formal inventory system.

If the freezer compartment starts to get full I jot a quick inventory on the back of an envelope and try to plan my meals around those items until the freezer compartment is empty enough to be cleaned, then I start over.

In the pantry, I try to keep at least one backup of things that I use most often.

I can see maintaining an inventory if you preserve most of your own food or have to take a dog sled to the store but it isn't worth the effort for me.

Good luck!
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Old 05-23-2019, 07:11 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by medtran49 View Post
We've given up on inventory. We keep track for a couple of weeks and then....
Yeah, I have to admit that I gave up on keeping inventory in the kitchen years ago. I honestly tried, but always failed. So, I just live with the fact that I sometimes run out of something, but more often, buy something I already have.

I realize that this reply is absolutely useless to you, Eschia, but it's all I got.

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Old 05-23-2019, 07:53 PM   #7
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My Souschef (husband) is a whiz at our meat freezer inventory. It's a real pleasure to always know what's in there, thanks to him. The kitchen bottom freezer is my domain and I keep it well organized with seperations between vegatables, prepared foods, meats, nuts and cheeses. Nothing is ever out of place as I hate digging through frozen food. We keep a really well stocked huge pantry of at least two of everything we use. When just one item is left, it goes on the running grocery list.

It's all pretty simple and saves on frustration.
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Old 05-23-2019, 08:00 PM   #8
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Almost the same stuff rotates through the pantry, freezer and fridge around here, so it's pretty easy to "inventory". If a special something needs to go into a recipe, I buy just what I need for that event. That being said, I could probably pull off several meals with the supplies on hand for several days, maybe weeks. It has never occurred to me that I should do an inventory. The biggest effort I use is that new stuff goes to the back of the shelf and old stuff is brought forward.
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Old 05-24-2019, 08:26 PM   #9
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When I cleaned out my freezer back in the winter , or rather, re-organized it(I threw very little out, actually), I made up a new inventory for it, a page for each of the 6 shelves, plus the door. Here is an example of one of the inventory pages:
One of 6 pages of freezer inventory by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Then, I re-inventoried many of the things that I keep in tubs in the basement. Almost all of these items I keep in Foodsaver bags, and things that I use slowest, like some of the spices, I'll put an oxygen adsorbent pad, which will help them last almost indefinitely, combined with vacuum packing them. Here are two of the pages, of 8, from that inventory.
Inventory by pepperhead212, on Flickr

More inventory by pepperhead212, on Flickr

The canned goods and other things on the shelves in the basement, in the cabinets in my kitchen, or on the shelves in my pantry I don't inventory, because I can see what's on those. And those foodsaver bags in my inventory is what I refill the containers with - all of the spices, grains, legumes, and other bulk ingredients. There is absolutely no way that I could remember ALL of that - even in my younger days!

And when I made up those new inventories, I made a New Year's resolution to not buy anything else for my freezer, or make anything I would put in the freezer (it was incredible how many leftovers I had in there!), or add to any of those other tubs of bulk foods, unless I was totally out of something. And I've emptied a LOT of my freezer out, for those summer veggies.
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Old 05-24-2019, 09:43 PM   #10
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Eschia, given your location, how often can you shop for groceries or restock in any way?

Check out NutritionFacts.org for the latest in nutrition research.
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