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So here we are, talking about the most dreaded stockpiling operation: item organization. Usually, this stage of the stocking process is the most time-consuming… but is perhaps the most important to get right.
I say “usually”, because there are a few methods you can use to make this chore a lot easier and pleasant. And I’m going to share all these methods with you, right here.
But first of all, you need to understand why organizing your pantry is so important. I mean… sure it would be quick and simple to just put cans and boxes on shelves and on the floor. But as your stockpile grows, it will get harder and harder for you to check the dates written on the package. This means you’ll end up with half a pantry packed with rotten food… and with $1,000s thrown out the window!
So organizing your stockpile is not an optional step in the process, but a necessity. However, you’ll be glad to hear there are lots of fun ways you can do it (together with your kids or grandkids, if you like):
1. Organize according to the space you’ve got on hand
Space is the first thing you need to take into consideration when you start organizing. If you have a large basement where you keep your stock, then you’ll have enough room to use any system you like. You can keep water in large bottles on the floor, next to baskets filled with veggies. And you can cramp shelves with cans, boxes, and jars.
If all you’ve got is a kitchen cupboard, you’ll need to improvise. Clear the top of the cupboards to make room for some more items (but make sure they’re well covered and protected from sunlight). Keep the perishables as close as the floor as you can, and put items with the longest shelf life higher. However, keep them away from heat or humidity. They’ll spoil your whole stock in a split second.
2. Plan HOW MUCH you’ll buy
My advice here is: never buy more than 12 items at a time. This is my top limit. This way, it’ll be easier for you to organize your purchases, without taking forever to date them and place them in your pantry.
3. Plan WHAT you’ll buy
Make a list of the items you need and then write down the quantity you plan on buying. I suggest you get a notebook for this and write in it every time you go shopping. This way, it will be easier for you to keep count of what you’ve bought and how much. It’s like a pre-inventory.
4. Organize by type
This means you should have separate shelves for every type of product you stock (if you haven’t got that much space, you can “split” shelves by using labels). For examples, you should have a special place for grains, another one for cans, a shelf for sauces and syrups and another one for veggies and fruit.
Label them with bright-colored sticky notes. Not only will it help you keep your pantry organized, but it will also look wonderful!
5. Use the right containers
When you buy food in bulk, always store it in the proper containers. This means they should be rodent- and insect-proof and completely immune to moisture or sunlight.
I suggest using large plastic buckets with lids. I’ve got a pantry full of them and they’ve been in perfect condition for years now (even after restocking over 10 times). However, make sure the lid matches the bucket perfectly. You don’t want any “visitors” finding a way in… and you certainly don’t want to make a mess if you accidentally kick a bucket and it rolls on the floor.
That’s it for today. But we’re not done talking about organizing your stockpile. It’s a very complex subject, so it’s better if I break it into two parts and give you the time to assimilate the information.
I’ll come back with more on stock organization next time. Till then, have fun stockpiling!
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