It's In The Bag

6 October 2012

Not long ago I ran across a book that has really helped me feel focused in terms of my food storage. For many years, we've had basic, long-term food storage and have kinda, sorta rotated/used it. And, I've always had extra amounts of our staple foods on hand.
However, I've struggled some with knowing that I actually have a three-month supply of meals that we can use to sustain ourselves, short-term.
Then I found the book It's In The Bag. I really love this concept! You store your food as individual meals, rather than just by having lots of assorted supplies on hand.
Each bag holds the supplies for one dinner meal. On the outside of the bag is the list of what's inside, plus a list of any extra items you will need to make the meal, and a sticker with a "use by" date. (Date is based on the nearest use by date of any of the items in the bag.)
Once I read about this, I knew I wanted to do it. So, I ordered some bags on-line, popped into the local Office Depot to get some paper CD sleeves, and set out to decide what will be in my bags. By looking at what I have on hand, I was able to quickly put together the meal cards for quite a few bags. Then, since I decided I'd like to have three bags each of 30 different meals, I went looking for other ideas for meals made from shelf-stable items.
It's In The Bag includes quite a few meal plans, but, most of them where not the kind of meals Bob and I would be likely to eat. Fortunately, there are many other resources available, and I soon had all the choices I wanted.
Once my meal plans were in hand, I designed the cards for my bags. Like this:
My bags arrived a few days ago and I've been busy assembling them ever since. Of course, I started with what I already had on hand, then made a list of other items I need. (I'm not planning to fill all 90 bags at once, but I have about 70 bags completed. The other 20 will get filled a few at a time over the next few weeks.)
A work in progress. . .
These are my initial set of bags — about 35 meals on these shelves.

If I use one of these bag meals per week, in less than two years I will have rotated through all of them. I'm so excited that I will actually be storing what we eat, and eating what we store — in a more organized way than ever before! It's taking a little bit of time to get it together, but, will be easy to maintain. Once I use one of the meals, I have a hook I'll put the empty bag on. Then, when I go grocery shopping, I'll buy the supplies to refill it, revise the "use by" date, and put it back on the shelf. (I'm trying to place the bags on the shelf in order according to the use by date.)

I quickly found, though, that I need more shelving.
Here's my overflow, at the moment. . .
For now, I may use a shelf in the garage (since we're into cooler weather) and work on a more long-term solution from there. . .

It makes me very happy to feel this focused about our three-month food supply!! Yay!!!


Patti said...

What a great idea! I especially like the part about hanging up the labeled bag when you've used it. That makes it so easy to know what you need to buy again. Thanks for the idea! said...

What a fantastic idea! I just cleaned out my grandmothers pantry who has still not learnt the skills to rotate properly, this would eliminate much waste and is extremely convenient. Thanks for inspiring me, yet again!

Laura Crenshaw Chabo said...

As I was reading this I kept wondering where you would store 90 bags of food, but the shelf thing is genius. Where are the shelves in your house? In the dining room area? Just wondering. Also, getting excited to see you guys soon!