Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Yeah, but warm fuzzies and knowledge is better...

Ok, you may have noticed that my poll this week is about New Year's resolutions. My answer is yes, I have resolutions pertaining to emergency preparation, and I will share one with you that was prompted by my internet friend, Carl in Wisconsin. (If you are not in the habit of reading comments on blogs, I would highly recommend doing so. They can be an absolute treasure trove of ideas and information.) I hope that he does not mind my reproducing part of his comment (found under my post about timing) here:

If I may suggest a topic for you, if you haven't covered this already,. Inventory Records, how does every one keep them if at all, what do they keep and where do they keep them. I start a physical inventory in December every year ( since there is little else to do here in the Winter). It takes me until February to do it. I do a lttle every day.

It's a great idea for a post, but... insert uncomfortable, awkward clearing of the throat here...I don't really keep inventory. One of my main goals has been to amass what I could when I could afford it, and to be honest, the basic thought process has been, "I think we need more...more...yeah, a little more...oh, what if family member/friend/neighbor/someone else needs something...better get a little more..." --I think that you get the idea. Soooo, I've been stacking food on shelves as we have obtained it to store in suitable amounts in the bargain-priced buckets we were able to purchase, and occasionally paying visits to the store room to make a withdrawal, and (true confessions) to get the warm fuzzy feeling that comes with seeing that yes, we have made progress. All well and good, until my husband was able to use some of those bargain-price buckets as part of his gift to me, (yeah, he's pretty great) and suddenly it doesn't look like we have that much in storage anymore. Bags piled on a shelf look a lot more impressive than a single white five or six gallon bucket.

I know that the same amount is still there, but I realize that I don't know how much is there, really, and what would be the best thing to put on the storage list next. So, one of my resolutions is to figure out the inventory that we have so that we can better maximize our efficiency when it comes to food storage supplies. So, to borrow phrasing from Chris over at Johnson Family Farm, I am going to make this declaration:

I declare that I am going to figure out how to do an efficient inventory and make an inventory of what I have so that we can better manage our food storage.

Thanks, Carl, for the idea, and thanks, Chris, for the idea of declarations. After all, warm fuzzies and information is much better than warm fuzzies alone.... Happy New Year, everyone!!


Stephanie in AR said...

lol same here only add moving. I thought we had a lot stored (and we do) but when actual amounts are considered, well...

Add that when kids know that mom has extra they are not as careful - bubble baths with shampoo will clear the stash out in no time flat.

Then consider that our balance is not what it could & should inventory is a good idea. For our freezer I plan using the idea from the "Tightwas Gazette". Circles for an amount (one 0 = one package/pound) then an x on that 0 when on item is used. It wouldn't be hard to add or subtract as time passed. Clear as mud? lol Might be able to do something similiar with the pantry but am not certain.

Carla said...

Marie - when you figure out a system, you'll let us know, won't you? Believe it or not, I was thinking about his as I was laying awake last night - I was starting in the bathroom because I thought it would be easiest - Hah! It was until I got to the personal care/toiletries/OTC remedies/etc. part of it...!

I'm thinking this list/inventory should be in 2 parts: functional, infrequent-purchase items (such as towels, rugs, etc. for bathroom) and "consumable" (the items listed above) - those things that would be included in storage/preparation supples.

Boy! I am long-winded today! Sorry!

Anonymous said...

Marie, you are more than welcome. May I suggest that there are several good inventory spread sheets available, I think one is over at Provident Living. I know this may sound a little over the top, but I have all my inventory locations numbered and I am now entering those into my master inventory. I also date everything, yes everything, that enters our little domain here. Remember the FIFO system. If you get enough "stuff" you will loose control of what got there when. In Lucifers Hammer, it is memtioned numerous times about inventory record keeping which is where I took my que some years ago...

Your Internet Friend

Carl In Wisconsin

The McKeachnie Family said...

Here is a pretty good printable inventory sheet from MyFoodStorageDeals:
Or there are several online food storage trackers you could use, or software you could buy specifically for food storage inventory control.

I drive my tractor in pearls... said...

Me too :) I have an incomplete inventory because I am not satisfied what system to use (pen/paper, computer, whatever) and if I dont like the system, I wont use it and then I might as well not have a system...

My first order of business is to decide what kind of system I would use and then start...



HermitJim said...

Excellent idea and one that we all should utilize, starting with yours truly!

A lot easier to take if you move when stored in 5 gallon buckts!

Happy New Year to you and the family.

Anonymous said...

I started my inventory with the Mormons list of must haves on an excel spreadsheet. I then added to it as I collected food until today I have a full list of foods and seeds stored. I pin it up on the storagge cupboard and as I remove or add (store what you eat and eat what you store idea) I adjust with a pencil, works well and is simple.

Marie said...

Stephanie--I'm definitely glad that moving is not in the plans, and I wish you all the best with that. I like the x and O idea--I might work that in with whatever system I work out. I do ok with the rotation for the most part, because I know which items expire first, I just don't know how much I have of everything, if that makes any sense... :)

Carla-- I will probably blog out about what I finally figure out, but it might take me awhile to get it straightened out--thanks for pointing out another aspect with the consumable vs. functional items. There are some things in each category that need to be taken care of, so it's good to take it into consideration.

Carl--Thanks again for the idea, and I agree that it's necessary, when you are fortunate to have a lot of storage, to know exactly where everything is. We kind of have areas divided in the store room at this point, but it's kind of a loose system, and more organization and recording of information will definitely help. I don't recall looking for information on this particularly on Provident Living, but I will now.

McKeachnie Family--I will have to check that link out--thank you for including it. The more information I can gather, the better (hopefully) my final inventory system will be. Then I will just have to make sure that I stick with it... :)

Pearls--Thanks! I think that you and I are at about the same point then--I can totally imagine myself setting a system up and then losing the excitement so that I don't keep it updated, which would be not good and very sad and in the end defeat the whole purpose... so I have to work out something that will be doable for me, easy to maintain, and not so complicated that I mess the thing up. I don't ask for much, do I? :)

Hermit Jim-- I am glad to have some more storage in the gallon buckets--a lot more sturdy and it's good to have it all packaged for the long term. I agree that they're more convenient for moving, but a lot heavier per package... :)

Molly--Simple works best for me, and I like the suggestion of putting it up where I would be reminded often to keep it current. I think that my first task to conquer will be to figure out how much I have in buckets/other packaging, so that I'm not getting too much of one thing and not enough of another. Thanks for the reminder to include my seeds in the inventory as well--that's crucial.

Thanks very much to all for all of your comments--you're reinforcing what I said about everything you can learn from comments that people are kind enough to leave! I really appreciate it.


The Scavenger said...

If there is anyone out there that can manage their food storage...I know it's you. Very good "declaration". hehe!! Happy New Year to you and yours. May God Bless us all. And he will.


Marie said...

Chris--Happy New Year to you and your family as well! I do have to say that when I make a declaration, it feels more serious...
Thanks for your kind words--and for your closing sentiments. One of the nicest comments I've ever read.

riverwalker said...

To: Marie

Per your New Year's request:

Hoppin’ John


•1 pound dried black-eyed peas
•2 small smoked ham hocks or meaty ham bone
•2 medium onions, divided
•3 large cloves garlic, halved
•1 bay leaf
•1 cup long-grain white rice
•1 can (10 to 14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with Chile peppers, juices reserved
•1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
•1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
•3 ribs celery, chopped
•1 jalapeno or Serrano pepper, minced (optional)
•2 teaspoons Cajun or Creole seasoning (can use season-all salt as a substitute)
•1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
•3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
•3/4 teaspoon salt
•4 green onions, sliced


In a large Dutch oven or kettle, combine the black-eyed peas, ham bone or ham hocks, and 6 cups water. Cut 1 of the onions in half and add it to the pot along with the garlic and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer gently until the beans are tender but not mushy, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Remove the ham bone or hocks, cut off the meat; dice and set aside.

Drain the peas and set aside. Remove onion pieces and discard the bay leaf and garlic.

Add 2 1/2 cups of water to the pot and bring to a boil.

Add the rice, cover, and simmer until the rice is almost tender, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Mince the remaining onion then add to the rice along with the peas, tomatoes, and their juices, red and green bell pepper, celery, jalapeno pepper, Creole seasoning, thyme, cumin, and salt. Cook until the rice is tender, 5 to 8 minutes.

Stir in the sliced green onions and the reserved diced ham. Serve with hot sauce and freshly baked cornbread.

Sorry! I didn't have your e-mail so I slapped it in the comments for you!


Marie said...

Riverwalker--Thank you very much!! I'm actually glad that it's in the comments--that way it benefits more people. Thanks also for the detailed instructions--this looks delicious!

riverwalker said...

You're welcome!


hsjacobus said...

hee hee:) I'm chuckling as I read this. I follow a similar thought process, "need more." I do not have a fancy system for tracking all this. I tried a few and got so annoyed I pitched them. I print out my calculator list of what my family needs at least 2-4 times a year then run around with it and go through every cupboard and pantry,etc. to figure out what I have(that I haven't already used) and what I need. I then use that list as a guideline for my shopping for the next several months till I do it all again. I try to label things like buckets that way I remember not only what's in them, but how many lbs. so I don't have to figure it out again. I've put that on the lid and the side of the can(facing out), then I don't have to move them all to get what I need.

Marie said...

HSJacobus--I like systems like this the easier the better--the easier it will be to update, the more I will like it, because I really like just being able to finish something and leave it alone, but that's not really conducive with the "more" attitude, because hopefully I will be constantly updating. I like what you say about the buckets--I need to write the number of lbs. on the buckets so that I know what I'm looking at. Just now I'm thinking that I saw a list somewhere of how many lbs. of given items there are in each size bucket, but I don't remember the amounts or where I saw it... having it on the bucket itself will help a great deal. Thanks for some good and simplifying ideas!