Saturday, January 26, 2013

Use a 52-Week Inventory Schedule to Count Food Storage Weekly

Counting my food storage used to be so time consuming until I came up with a 52-Week Food Storage Inventory Schedule. After studying how various restaurants take their inventories, it became clear to me that they don't count food once a year like many of us do. Food has to be managed regularly and carefully in order to keep it safe for human consumption. There is much to be learned from the restaurant industry because they are the guys trying to stay in business by being the most cost effective and safe. And we should be careful too.

It used to take me 3 or 4 hours to count my food storage. But now I count a small amount of it in 15 minutes or less each week. Of course that will be easier for some than others, depending on how many items you have and how organized your shelves are. 

So, I designed a 52-Week Food Storage Inventory schedule that has me counting a category of items weekly. Some items are counted every 3 months, 6 months or 12 months. For example, you might count Fuel & Light items every 6 months, but Breakfast & Snack items every 3 months.

You may get behind taking an inventory each week because life gets busy. When I was out of town for nine days, I counted two categories this week: Water and Paper & Plastic. Life is unpredictable, but it wasn't difficult to count both areas. I enjoy straightening the items, throwing away a few boxes and bags, and seeing what more is needed. As I'm looking, I write down a few items I might want to buy during my next Costco shopping trip (toilet paper, paper plates, storage bags, and dish detergent).

I keep my inventory on a spreadsheet on my laptop, but I'm actually working on a more simplified list for a small binder. A paper list and pencil will do the job too. Or hanging lists on a cupboard or pantry door. An iPad would certainly be easier to carry than a laptop. See more ideas on my Pinterest board. Here is my food storage inventory schedule:

52-Week Inventory Schedule
JAN 1 Water 6M
JAN 2 Beverages 3M
JAN 3 Freezer 3M
JAN 4 Toiletries  3M
JAN 5 Breakfast Items 3M
FEB 6 Fruits & Vegetables 3M
FEB 7 Snacks 3M
FEB 8 Beans, Meat & Soup 3M
FEB 9 Baking Basics 3M
MAR 10 First Aid & Medicine  6M
MAR 11 Grains/Pasta/Potatoes 6M
MAR 12 Oils & Fats 6M
MAR 13 Emergency Kits 6M
APR 14 Fuel & Light 6M
APR 15 Beverages 3M
APR 16 Cleaning 6M
APR 17 Freezer 3M
APR 18 Toiletries  3M
MAY 19 Breakfast Items 3M
MAY 20 Paper & Plastics  3M
MAY 21 Beans, Meat & Soup 3M
MAY 22 Baking Basics 3M
JUN 23 Condiments  6M
JUN 24 Spices 6M
JUN 25 Snacks 3M
JUN 26 Fruits & Vegetables 3M
JUL 27 Water 6M
JUL 28 Beverages 3M
JUL 29 Freezer 3M
JUL 30 Toiletries  3M
JUL 31 Breakfast Items 3M
AUG 32 Fruits & Vegetables 3M
AUG 33 Snacks 3M
AUG 34 Beans, Meat & Soup 3M
AUG 35 Baking Basics 3M
SEP 36 First Aid & Medicine  6M
SEP 37 Grains/Pasta/Potatoes 6M
SEP 38 Oils & Fats 6M
SEP 39 Emergency Equipment 6M
SEP 40 Fuel & Light 6M
OCT 41 Cleaning 6M
OCT 42 Beverages 3M
OCT 43 Freezer 3M
OCT 44 Toiletries  3M
NOV 45 Breakfast Items 3M
NOV 46 Paper & Plastics  3M
NOV 47 Beans, Meat & Soup 3M
NOV 48 Baking Basics 3M
DEC 50 Condiments  6M
DEC 51 Spices 6M
DEC 49 Snacks 3M
DEC 52 Fruits & Vegetables 3M
Note: Each year, the months may not always correlate with the week number.

Printable for personal use
52-Week Food Storage Inventory Schedule.pdf
(Note: 9/2/13 Correction made)

Follow me on Facebook where I will do my very best to keep you motivated: Follow Me on Facebook

Or sign up for posts by email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


  1. You are just an amazingly organized person with your food storage. I always look forward to your blog updates and enjoy all the "goodies" you have prepared for us to help get our food storage on track. I think the hardest part is actually having a plan and getting started. Your lists make the planning part so much easier.

  2. Thank you for sharing this--and all your other stuff! It looks very helpful.

  3. This is so helpful. I always read your emails first.

    I can't wait to see your food storage room decorating ideas. I have two huge gorilla shelves in our guest room and have considered converting my home office to share with food storage shelves.

    Thanks so much.

  4. I have justed started working on food storage the last month or so, although I have had a fairly well-stocked pantry before that. My question on inventory is coming from the perspective that I'm also trying to simplify and cut out a lot of chemicals. What is the logic of the paper products on the list? I revamped the list with the things I use to make my cleaners, but want to understand the thoughts behind all of the paper plates and bowls and plasticware before deciding not to store it.

    1. Hi Goinggreenmon, Having a supply of paper goods and plastic will help you during a disaster. Imagine being without water to wash your dishes, cups or containers. I also include foil in my paper and plastic category as well, which is excellent for emergency cooking. So if you don't use those items everyday, consider what you will use for emergencies. Hope that helps you understand.

    2. It does make sense in a short term situation I suppose, but not in a long term one in my mind. Sort of a mindset issue of, at what point do I start going to the creek close to my house to get water if power is not in service to pump water.

  5. You can also keep your inventory list on Google Drive or evernote & access it while shopping or anywhere from your smartphone or tablet.


Thanks for your comments and suggestions!