Many of Em’s colleagues (and their families) were demobbed last year upon the completion of the first project, and the slowing down of the second. Because of this, our pantry were piled with (Malaysian) food stock they left us with – from sup bunjut to all kinds of bubur grains, you name it and we had it. We had MORE than 20 packets of LARGE serbuk kari – all kinds of kari, it was insane. It made sense to not carry them back home.
Em and I were grateful but at the same time, I felt overwhelmed by the non-stop boxes we were getting. Luckily, one of them didn’t have the time to pass theirs to us, so their cleaning lady just threw the boxes out when she cleaned their house. So sayang but it was probably for the best, lol.
We ran out of places to store the food, so I had to start purging. It was the only way. I found out that many of them were over their expiry dates. It was not a surprise because 1) We all stock up as many Malaysian food ingredients as we can when we go back; 2) Living in a cold country, the items are usually able to last way beyond their expiry dates.
But since I had to purge, I threw out all the expired items. Some of them only had their manufacturing dates printed on, and some had neither, so this was where I had to use my agak-agak skill. I also took into consideration on whether I was going to use them, or will they just pointlessly take up my kitchen space. Instant canned food like rendang daging and all that sounded very unappetising to me, so I segregated them and asked Em to bring it to his office so that any of his colleagues can take them if they wanted to. He left it in his office pantry and the items were slowly gone within a few days, so that’s settled, hihi.
Although I managed to downsize the pile, I still had a lot of ingredients in my hands. That was when the idea of starting a pantry inventory came into my mind – for my easy reference, and for me to be able to use up the items more efficiently so that none would go to waste.
I went online and saw there were all kinds of printable pantry inventory list available for free download. Personally, I didn’t like any of them, so I decided to design my own template. It’s not exactly simple and it comes in many pages, but this is how I prefer it. Especially when it’s more of a yearly inventory and the ones available online are more of a monthly list.
Since most of the ingredients were bought at the same time, I just listed the expiry date once instead of listing them all, and I just monitor my usage every time, crossing out whichever I’ve finished up. None yet, so far . You might find this method tedious/non-efficient, but when you have a lot of food stock, repeating the same dates would be redundant, more confusing, and ultimately, lagi banyak kerja when you have to keep crossing out the dates. Like santan for example, it comes in a packet of four, and I have, probably, 12 packets, so that’s a total of 48 packets and I use probably about 2-3 packets each time, so, obviously, it’d be more leceh to list 48 same dates and crossing them out one by one each time.
As for the items that did not come with expiry dates – such as asam keping, sagu, kacang-kacang for bubur etc. – I listed the products on a separate sheet, and I wrote down the manufacturing dates if they had it.
To personalise the list, I traced pictures of the kids one by one, turned them into silhouette, and compiled them together, turning it into almost a logo. It was quite time consuming but I think it turned out really cute so I’m happy hahahah.
Last but not least, I bought a clipboard from Daiso and hung the list on the inside of one of the cabinets so that it’d be accessible to me all the time when I’m in my kitchen, but also out of my way and out of my sight at the same time.
To be honest, I’m not exactly done with the inventory yet. Haven’t started with my baking ingredients, but phew, making an inventory when you have these much items is very tiring. So I’m going to take a break for a few weeks (this has been since December last year ahahahaha) and then I’ll resume .