The first step to having a good inventory is knowing what you buy all the time. That means a shopping list. It’s actually pretty easy to make one.
1. Save a couple of receipts, maybe for a typical shopping month. If you use grocery store apps (Walmart, Kroger, etc.) you may be able to see most of the items you buy on your account.
2. Divide everything into categories like meats, produce, canned, etc.
3. List prices by items, by unit or lb. (This is not required, but I like to remember how much things cost.)
I keep my list on the fridge and highlight things when I run out. This is really useful because I almost never forget anything at the store! I also use the recorded prices to add up beforehand how much I’ll spend on my trip. Usually, I’m pretty close, within 5-10 dollars.
Now that you have that, it’s pretty easy to make an inventory for food storage. I shop every 2 weeks, so all I had to do was multiply the numbers of things I usually buy by 6. (2 weeks X 6 = 12 weeks, or roughly 3 months.) 12 weeks makes for easy calculations, because lots of things come in 12’s, like cans.
For the most part, all the items on my inventory are the same as my typical shopping list. For those that I know I won’t be able to store (like some dairy products, for example), I just omitted them. It’s okay to calculate for every item on the shopping list for now. It’s easy to delete extra stuff later once you figure out your priorities.
Believe it or not, I think this was the hardest part of starting our food storage. It’s nothing to stress about, though. Once you know what you buy all the time, then it’s really a cinch to figure it all our from there.