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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Food Storage Tags

Original Article

You may remember this previous post, Labeling Long-Term Storage, from back in 2009 where Stephanie shared her idea of making tags to help with locating, rotating and replacing her food storage.  Well, I've had two-year intentions of doing the same thing, but have never gotten around to it.  Just this past Christmas, my wonderful parents-in-law gave me a new fun laminator and I've been itching to use it for this project since then. 

I made my tags using a different color of cardstock for each food storage product that I keep in buckets.  Actually there isn't much rhyme or reason to the colors.  I just used the colors that I had on hand.  In the picture below, you might notice that the brighter colors are easier to see and read so I would recommend that you use bright colors instead of dull or dark colors. 

I figured out how many tags of each that I needed.  For example, I knew that I wanted to always keep four buckets of flour on hand, so I used my word processor to print four "flour" labels.  I repeated this process for each of the items I keep in buckets: wheat, sugar, powdered sugar, brown sugar, rice, oats, and beans.  I laminated my tags for durability, but this isn't necessary.  Then I hole punched the side and tied each onto the bucket handles with some white yarn.  I made more than 40 tags.  It took about two hours from start to finish (but most of that time was spent doing second and third runs through my laminator in order to fully seal the tags - I'm sure you could do it in a fraction of that time).  I love the result!  It is so easy to figure out what is in each bucket now.

Recently I ran out of flour.  So I ran down into my storage area, grabbed a bucket of flour (which was so easy to find because of the easy-to-see tags) and emptied the previously-stored flour into my upstairs bucket.  I actually left the tag on the empty bucket and let it remind me that I needed to buy some more flour to replace the now-empty bucket.  I could also untie the tag and slip it into my purse or tie it to a shelf as a reminder that I need to replace that flour.  When I refilled the bucket with flour, I flipped the tag over and wrote 2011 on the back with a black permanent marker so that I would know the age of the newly purchased flour.

Here are a few other ideas and tips that you could use for labeling your food storage:

*Use different colored ribbons for each different food (i.e red for red wheat; black for black beans; pink for pinto beans; tan for oatmeal; white for rice; etc.).
*Use a different colors of  ribbon/yarn to indicate the purchase date.
*Use different colors of permanent markers to differentiate between foods and/or dates.
*Wrapping ribbon and index cards would work just fine.
*Magnetic labels could be used with #10 cans or steel shelves.
*Instead of tying a ribbon to foil pouches or #10 cans (that don't have a handle like a bucket or a neck like the PETE bottles), just tie a tag to the shelves or adhere a label with a small piece of ribbon directly to the product.
*Label two sides and the top of each container for more visibility.
*Use cup-holder screws to hang labels (of items needing to be replaced).
*These tags would be a great idea for a cheap, but love-filled gift.

I would love to hear your ideas!

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