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So we’ve talked about the 5 Golden Rules of Stockpiling and also about Stock Rotation , which covers the basis of stockpiling. But you still need to know a few more things to make sure your pantry and freezer can hold a good, solid stockpile.
One of them is item dating. This means that each item in your stock should have the date of purchase written on it, so you know exactly how old it is. This is the basic dating system, but there are other methods you can use to make it even easier to stock and rotate food. Let’s take them one by one:
1. Write the purchase date
As I said before, this is the system most people use when dating their survival items. You’ve got two options: you either write the date with a permanent marker on the packaging, or you put on a label with the date of purchase (so you can spot it easier). It’s your choice, just pick the one you’re most comfortable with.
If you an item has been stored for more than a year, you should check its shelf life to see for how long you can keep it in your pantry. However, my advice is to include the older items in your meals. It’s just safer this way.
2. Write the purchase date and the content
I like to write the name of whats in the can as well as the date I bought it. That way if the paper comes off I still know what I’m getting. Most cans now have an exp. date on the bottom.
Again, you can use a marker or a sticky label. This system is really useful and won’t take you a lot of time to do it. I personally recommend this one: you’ll know exactly what’s in the can or box at all times, even if the label happens to fall off. After all, you do want to know what you’re currently stocking, so you can check shelf life easier.
3. Date the items with numbers
This is the simplest one yet. Here’s what you need to do: write consecutive numbers on items of the same type. For example, you’ll write “1” on the first bean can you stock, then “2” on the next one and so on.
When you start using bean cans in your stock, just start with the “1”. Whenever you restock, check the highest number you’ve got and keep counting up.
4. Print a list
I suggest you do that even if you choose one of the systems above: keep an inventory of your stockpile somewhere near your pantry (or freezer). You can even stick it to the oantry door or one of your kitchen cupboards.
The inventory list should include the product type (spaghetti, for example), container (bottles, boxes, etc) and number of containers you currently have. Also, write down the date of purchase and shelf life. This way, you’ve got a complete stockpile “profile”.
When you use items in your pantry or freezer, don’t forget to scratch them off the list. And when you restock, add the newly bought items on paper.
Here’s another tip: every month or so, scan the list and see which items are getting close to their expiration dates. Circle them in red, so you know which ones you should eat first.
I really hope one of these dating systems will be useful to you and your family. And stay tuned: I’ve got another one about stock organization in the making.
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