When the pandemic hit in March, we were just semi-prepared. We didn’t have an empty pantry, but we weren’t as stocked on some items as we wanted to be. At the same time, we had lived in a country before where panic hoarding had sparked a major economic crisis and runaway inflation, so we didn't want to run to the store and spend a lot of money on a boatload of stuff that we might not ever use. Instead, we took a gradual approach to acquiring extras – adding a bit of extra food to our shopping cart when items were on sale or available.
Like most people, we soon realized that we needed to have a way to track supplies so that we would have enough of what we needed, but didn’t buy more than we had room to store or had a need for.
We came up with two solutions - colored sticker dots and an easy inventory app, Enough Stuff.
Here's how they work:
Colored sticker dots to figure out what items to use first
We bought a package of multi-colored dots and started putting red dots on every can, package or box of food or other supplies that went into our pantry. When we run out of red sticker dots, we'll start sticking a green dot on each item and so on through the colors of dots. The point of doing that is we know what order we need to use items up. Items with no sticker dot are being used first because they were the pre-pandemic items in our pantry. Next come the ones with red sticker dots, then the ones affixed with green dots, then yellow, then blue. This is a simple way to cycle food supplies or other perishable supplies through on a continuing basis and avoid the problem of having boxes or cans of expired foods without having to read expiration labels all the time.
A simple inventory app to make sure we have enough but not too much
After getting our pantry and household stocked to a level we were happy with, we decided it was a good idea to keep it at that level. The challenge was to determine how much we needed and track supplies so we didn't buy too much or too little. Our developer Forrest Anderson created an easy inventory app called Enough Stuff for the iPhone that makes it easy to track different supplies. It can be used for food and household items, gardening or car supplies, office or small business supplies, hobby supplies or anything else.
Here’s how Enough Stuff works:
You add each item. Then you add how much you need of it and how much you have of it. If you want, you can create a custom category to assign each item to, such as Baking, Dairy, Toiletries, Office, etc.
If you don’t have the amount you need of an item, the app gives you a red alert that tells you how much you still need to purchase, so you can look at the app while you are at the store and pick up what you need without having to guess.
If you do have enough, the app gives you a “You have enough” message. If you have more than you need, the app tells you how much surplus you have.
Enough Stuff has two views – one with items you need to buy more of at the top so it’s easy for you to shop for them, and one in which items are listed by categories.
This tutorial video walks you through how the app works:
Enough Stuff is available for purchase at the App Store for $.99.
The combination of the app and the dot stickers are enabling us to keep our food and household supplies at a constant level with minimum effort or extra financial outlay. It has helped us save money because we have purchased many items on sale to bring us up to the point where we have enough. We hope that they will be as useful to you.