The ‘first in first out’ (FIFO) concept is a very important principle of prepping. Use it for maintaining a store of food and other perishable items.
First in first out simply means adding new items in to your stores while using the oldest items. Rotating your food store in this way means that you will never have really old items in your food store.
Building Up A Food Store Using First In First Out
Most of us don’t have the budget to be able to buy food supplies for months or years at once. The first in first out principle can help build up a food store that you will be able to use. Every time you go food shopping, buy a few extra shelf stable (suitable for long term storage) items. Add the food you have bought to your stores. When you want to use some, take the oldest from the store. Because you are buying a little more than you use each time you shop means you will build up a store of food. Continually adding new and using old prevents anything from becoming too old.
It’s not just preppers that use the first in first out concept. Have a look at supermarket shelves and you’ll see that the items that expire soonest are at the front. New stock is added at the back of the shelf so that the old stock will be sold first. The supermarkets ensure that they don’t have to throw stock (and profits) away by doing this. It works equally well for preppers!
Store The Foods You Use
No one wants to open their food store after the apocalypse and find they’ve only got 2 years worth of baked beans. When creating a food store, instead of buying loads of food that you wouldn’t normally use, just buy extra of what you do use. Many foods are shelf stable, meaning that they are suitable for long term storage. Consider all of the food that you normally buy, and determine which is suitable for storage. Every time you shop, just buy extra of those items to add to your food store. You’ll then end up with a food store with foods that you actually like and use.
What About Other Perishables?
Above we talked about using FIFO to manage storage of food. It can equally be used for any consumable items that can be stored long term. For example, use the first in first out principle to manage storage of:
- bottled water
- medical and first aid supplies
- hygiene and sanitary items
Storage Solutions For First In First Out
When you have built up a large store of food, it can be hard to identify the older and newer items. To make this easier, decide where the front and back of your storage area is. Keep similar foods in rows, so that you don’t have to search through everything to find a specific item. Always add new items to the back, so that the older items will be at the front. When you need to use some of the food, always take items from the front.
If you have space, shelving that can be accessed from both ends makes managing your food store easier. Alternatively, use storage racks that hold cans with new items are added at the top and the oldest can be taken from the bottom.
When you add new items to your food store, write the expiry date in permanent marker. Make sure you write the date in a place where you will be able to see it in the food store. For example, if you can see the tops of your cans of food, write the date there.