Enough was enough. Something HAD to give! We decided to tackle the dreaded task that we had been avoiding for so long. A little while later, I found myself shocked at what was in front of me. Trash bag after trash bag… duplicate item after duplicate item…it was crazy, yet fulfilling at the same time.
Let me back up a minute and give a little context…
Our cabinets and pantry had been overflowing. Not only that, but we had no idea what was in them. Every time I was trying to meal plan, or just make a meal I found myself in the same position of digging through both my pantry and cabinets, which always took more time than I wanted it to.
When it came to my weekly meal planning, I would try my best to take into account what we already had on hand, but because the pantry and cabinets were so cluttered it was hard to do this accurately. I would end up just making a quick sweep through the kitchen, writing out a meal plan based on what I thought we had, and heading on to the grocery store.
Generally, later on, I would find that we already had some of the items that I had JUST bought from the grocery store. So Frustrating! Things were starting to get overwhelming. Meal planning and even simply preparing a meal started to become a dreaded task. I was starting to be more and more uninspired to cook anything because of how unorganized everything had become.
Does This Sound Familiar?
Maybe you’re right where I was. Your pantry and cabinets are out of control unorganized, you have no idea what the heck is even in them really, and the thought of opening up the doors and looking inside to prepare meals has become overwhelming. Believe me, I get it!
The Problem That We Run Into…
The unfortunate problem, that most of us run into, is once we let our pantry and cabinets get to this point it can seem like an overwhelming task to go through them and fix the issue. The great thing, that I finally realized, is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Getting a grasp of what is in our pantry and cabinets doesn’t have to be hard at all. If we have an organized method and a plan for how to tackle the task, it actually becomes pretty easy. Here’s what I mean…
There’s An Answer To The Problem And It Doesn’t Involve Stressing Yourself Out…
My answer to fixing the chaos that lived inside our pantry and cabinets was to create an inventory sheet. I simply took an inventory of each and everything that we had in our cabinets and pantry. It may seem like a big task, and believe me, it was! It was so worth it though! It just took a little bit of organization and a lot of patience! My husband helped me with this to make it go by a little faster so I definitely recommend getting some help if you can. If not that’s okay too- it will just take you a little longer.
How Keeping A Pantry And Cabinet Inventory Changed The Game For Us…
Deciding to create a pantry and cabinet inventory has been the best thing that we could have done, not only for our sanity by for our bank account as well. Ever since we have been keeping this inventory we have been saving so much money, because we are able to see what we have on hand at a glance.
It’s Not Hard…
Creating a pantry and cabinet inventory, that you can use on an ongoing basis, is so easy. The great thing is once you do it the first time, it takes very little effort to maintain it. Not only will this inventory simplify meal planning on a weekly basis, but it makes it easier every time you go to cook a meal.
Here’s How You Can Create Your Own Pantry And Cabinet Inventory…
Make a rough draft of everything that you have in your cabinets, simply by writing it out on a blank sheet of paper. I use a blank sheet of computer paper for this and usually, it’s a very sloppy draft. (This will be rewritten in an organized way later on). I recommend going one shelf at a time. If you take everything out of your cabinets at once, it can get really overwhelming.
When you are writing down everything that you have, be sure to write which shelf the item is located on. Categorize your list by shelf number. Example: shelf 1, shelf 2, shelf 3, and so on…
Beside the name of each item write out how much of that item you have and the expiration date.
As you go through each shelf toss out any expired food.
If you also have a pantry, repeat steps 1-4.
When you have written out everything that you have, with the shelf number, quantity, and expiration date now it’s time to write everything in an organized and way.
Once every item is written on your pantry inventory sheet and organized the way that you want it, place it in an easy to reference area in your kitchen. (We keep our inventory sheet taped on a door inside our kitchen cabinet.)
Update this inventory sheet frequently. Every time you buy something new, add it to your inventory sheet. When you use some of an item, be sure to quickly update the quantity. Each time you completely finish an item cross it off your inventory sheet.
Quick Tip: When your inventory sheet gets messy after a while, because of all of the crossing out and adding new items, go ahead and start a new one. Write out everything on a clean sheet of paper. Be sure to keep your inventory sheet organized by shelf number, item name, quantity, and expiration date. Replace your old messy sheet with the new neatly written one.
It’s as easy as that! It’s a simple process but really is a game changer. If you are feeling overwhelmed because your pantry and cabinets seem like utter chaos, go ahead and try creating your own inventory. I promise this will simplify things more than you can even imagine.
P.S. If you want to start meal planning, but it seems like an overwhelming task, you can grab my free 7 Steps To Simple Meal Planning Checklist. It will guide you through the meal planning process from beginning to end.
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