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Running a Frugal Household, Part 1: inventory and label!

Posted on: October 7, 2010

I’m willing to venture that two top frustrations for homemakers are running out of items and unknowingly buying duplicates. Argh. Add to that simple forgetfulness that is common to us all, and it can be a challenging combination!

Having fallen prey to the above irritations, I’ve come up with a few systems around the house that help me to be more frugal with my time and the resources God has given us. Several of these ideas also let another person (such as my mom or mother in law) get a head-start on maneuvering in my home. This is particularly helpful after a baby is born.

Take a look:

  • Detailed instructions for washing and drying our cloth diapers are typed and then put in a page protector. This is taped with clear packing tape to the top of our washing machine.
  • Next to this is a sign I made with a 3×5 card covered with clear packing tape and a magnet taped to the back.
  • When I have a load of laundry with an item that shouldn’t go in the dryer, I place this sign next to the handle of the washing machine door as a reminder. This is more for me than anyone else, and can save some costly laundry errors!

Taped to the top of our chest freezer is a note reminding people to add/remove items from our inventory sheets when they add/remove items from the freezer.

  • This has been invaluable for keeping tabs on what we have in the freezer, and is an easy way to know if we have an item without opening the freezer and letting cold air out.
  • I have a page each for meals, meat, dairy, bread, fruits, vegetables, and other.
  • These are simple Word documents with tables in them.
  • The freezer inventory sheets are kept in a manila folder with a pen handy and stored on a shelf directly behind our freezer so they’re in arm’s reach.
  • I think a little three-ring binder would serve this purpose as well.

Have you found any great ways to keep things running smoothly in your frugal household? Please share!

Coming next Wednesday, part 2 of inventory and label!


7 Responses to "Running a Frugal Household, Part 1: inventory and label!"

great idea…looking forward to hearing more 🙂 i love the freezer inventory…if only i didn’t have THREE (yes, three) freezers (one inside, one deep freeze, one garage fridge/freezer). and i use them all! 🙂

Katie, could you categorize contents by freezer, such as meat in one, dairy in another, etc? That way you could make a running inventory for each if you wanted, and have all of that type of food in one place. Just a thought!

Love your ideas! Can’t wait to use the freezer ones (when I GET a freezer!!)

And am going to type up a list right now of laundry instructions for each load (for my kiddos and dh!) and that little magnet sign–duh! Why didn’t I think of that!!

I also want to know HOW you get your dipes clean using an HE machine!?!??

If and when I have a frugal tip, I’ll share it! 🙂

Glad you think the ideas will help! Here’s what I do for our dipes: “whitest whites” cycle first, with about a half-dollar or a tad more of Dawn dish soap in the soap compartment. This will run on a hot wash with cold rinses and then an extra rinse. If I could choose, I’d run a cold rinse first, but my machine only has so many options and this system works for us. For the second cycle I do the “normal/regular” cycle on cold with an extra rinse. No extra soap the second time around. That’s it!

I’ve found two things to be a pain about front-loaders with diapers: 1) I cannot soak anything in my machine. 2) When the baby gets to solid poop stage, even using diaper liners (I make fleece ones and just pitch them if they are too gross, or else let the poop plop off into the toilet) we sometimes get icky stuff in the “lip” around the door of the washer. 😦 Running a bleach cycle and manually cleaning it out helps, but with a top loader I don’t think this would be an issue at all. Oh, well, we bought the machine with wedding money before we were even pregnant!

[…] part one of Running a Frugal Household I shared the system we’ve developed for keeping tabs on items in our freezer. We also looked […]

[…] part one of this series we talked about some laundry tips and keeping tabs on freezer contents. Part two […]

[…] So far we’ve looked into laundry issues and inventorying our freezers, then moved to keeping an inventory of the pantry. In last week’s post I shared how I keep […]

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