Auditing your stockpile

1 November 2007

Carrying on with our theme of not wasting food, today I want to talk about auditing your stockpile. We did our monthly shopping yesterday so I did mine then. It's a good habit to get into if you're stockpiling. Remember that when you spend your hard earned money on anything, it should be looked after so it gives you value for your money. Your stockpile is included in that; it needs to be looked after properly.

You should rotate your stock, just like they do in the supermarkets. When you buy new food from the supermarket, always place it at the back of your current stock. Just move everything forward and place your new items at the back. And always take from the front when you use something. That way you should keep your stock rotating and good for eating.

When you audit your stockpile, also check all your produce in packets. Make sure you have no pantry moths or weevils crawling around. If you find anything like that, empty your stockpile cupboard, vacuum the shelves to pick up any tiny eggs, then wipe your shelves over with a terry cloth dipped in hot water and eucalyptus or tea tree oil. Don't make your solution too strong because you don't want the smell to get into your food. You just want to deter the bugs. If possible, keep all your dry goods in air tight containers. If you have an infestation of pantry moths or some other bugs, you'll lose a lot of what you're storing, so protect as much of it as you can. If you don't have storage jars, it's a good idea to buy one every time you do your shopping. If you have enough money buy a large one, if you don't have so much left over, buy a smaller one.

I store all my dried goods like rice, pasta, all my flours, seeds, nuts, couscous and lentils in their packets in a freezer that is full of my stockpiled dried goods. The temperature is turned down to the lowest setting. In my humid climate this keeps our food safe from any sort of bug. If the power goes off, it doesn't matter as there is no perishable food in the freezer. The cost of running it over a full year is very low.

When you're auditing your stockpile, check all your preserved goods too. Make sure there is no mould growing in the jars and that the lids are firmly attached. Line them up again so that you use the oldest first.

Stockpiling groceries is the best way I know of to lower your food bill. It will also help you survive an emergency
- both a national emergency and a personal emergency. But remember, it's worth a lot of money and must be looked after. If you do an audit every three months, as well as when you add new stock to your cupboard, you'll reap all the benefits of your stockpile.


  1. I think that this is a great tip. I use a permanent marker and on the bar code, I write the date I purchased the item. I always write it on the bar code so if one besides me disrupts my pantry, I can quickly amend it.

    I too use the freezer like you as we live in the desert and have many little friends.


  2. Using the freezer that way is very smart!

  3. Siljan's smeared with butter = heaven!!

  4. How timely! I have been battling some grain moths for months now. I will try the TTO now!

  5. You're speaking my language, ravengal. : )

  6. Here in the deseert we have to be especially careful with our flour, corn meaal ect. due to mealy worms. I like to keep a list of the contents of my freezer on the door in plastic sleev page protecters and as I run out of things I mark it with a dry erase pen on the sheet. I can then make a "big" shopping list and go to El Paso about once a month to hit Costco.

  7. Oops-that last post was mine! Sharon

  8. Very timely post. I just opened a sealed plastic bucket of oatmeal and found pantry moths. Yuck and grumble. Grumble some more. What a waste of people food.

    Of course the chickens were delighted. Imagine, grain and bugs delivered right to their doorstop!


  9. Rhonda Jean;

    Thank you for your very timely post. Today is my monthly staple shopping day.

    The freezer idea is a good one. I will have to try it when the summer rolls around again.

    Maria S.

  10. Along with food, personal care items, and vegetable seeds, I've been stockpiling the nice glass storage jars with the clamp-down lids. I ordered plenty of replacement rubber gaskets for them and can now store many foods in these. For larger food quantities (such as 50 lbs rolled oats and wheat berries), I use 5 gallon buckets with tight lids. A small 4 oz chunk of dry ice at the bottom expels excess air and kills any eggs in the process. I'm working on a spreadsheet to help track what I have on hand and how quickly we use up various foods.

  11. chile, your mention of white storage buckets has reminded to me write about something. With 4 cats, I go through quite of bit of cat litter which I buy as cheaply as I can - usually in those large white buckets. Last year I punched holes in the bottom of some & planted Roma tomatoes in them.

    This is what I'm going to do next: I've washed several very well (very hot water, a bit of non-chlorine bleach) & let them dry in the sun. I'm going to store extra sugar, flour, pasta, dry beans, etc. in them - still in their original packages. I think a 10-lb bag (of flour) will fit in one - I will find out today since our local supermarket is having a 10-hour baking supplies sale.

    The smaller "jugs" which I buy when it's a better deal, I clean & use for an emergency supply of non-drinking/cooking water (water for the kitties, for flushing, etc.). This was quite useful last summer when the water in our block was shut of suddenly due to broken pipes.
    Sorry about the long message!
    Carla, N. ID

  12. Oops! I meant to also say that these labeled buckets will then be stacked in the garage for the winter, which will keep then quite cold & well-preserved.

  13. chile, I know of a few people who use dry ice in their stockpiles and it works well killing off eggs and other nasties. Thanks for reminding me of that.

    Carla, nice recycling there with your buckets. I use recycled buckets, that I get from our local baker, to store the flours that I'm using in the pantry. Growing tomatoes and storing water in them are great ideas. : )

  14. I know it's been a long time since this blog entry was posted but I just gotta add my 2 cents worth.

    My mom used to store all her stock pile of baking stuff (mixes, flours, grains) in camping coolers - used to be called ice chest. She figured that they would stay dry and sequestered as well as cool since they were stored in a cool, dark place. Another benefit is that, should there be bugs that hatched out, they were only in that cooler and easy to deal with.
    She would buy them at yard sales and tag sales for very little. It worked great and I don't recall ever a bug outbreak when stored.


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