Taking Stock

Just over four years ago, I did a “Stocktake Challenge” where I basically wrote down the entire contents of my freezers (yep, that’s two freezers), store cupboards and the fridge. I wrote a piece for Caitriona from Wholesome Ireland which I had meant to post here at the time but for whatever reason I didn’t. Anyway, since I’ve recently “taken stock” again, I’d like to repost (is that even the right phrase since I never posted before?!) before I write about my latest efforts next week:


May I just remind you that this was written in 2012!

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Just Call Me Squirrel

In a normal (i.e. pre-shopping diet!) week I would have spent, no scrap that, frittered away at least €50 on nothing in particular by Wednesday. My excuse usually being that I had forgotten to take something out for the dinner. I’d drop the kids to school and go and pick up my mum and we’d head into town. Even though I might only need to get milk, I’ll go to the ATM and withdraw €50 and head into the shop “I just have to get something for tonight’s dinner.” Translates into “I’m going to buy this, and this. Oh and one of those, and sure I might run out of eggs so I’ll get more of those.” This happens a lot. I get home and leave out the meat that I’d bought for that evening and get child #1 to “run out to the freezer with that, we’ll have it later in the week.”

I have two freezers, a large chest freezer in the shed and an American style fridge freezer in the kitchen. It has taken me a long time to realise that things that were going into the freezers and not coming back out again. About a week ago, I went to get something myself and was shocked to discover that the large freezer was full to bursting. I joked to my mum that same day that if anyone came and inspected my freezer they’d think I collect food. She likened me to a squirrel!

Something had to give.

By chance last week, while catching up on some of my favourite blogs that I haven’t got round to reading lately, I spotted Caitriona’s posts on stock taking and meal planning and realised that was something that I needed to do. Badly.

Last Friday, I printed out Caitriona’s sheets (a few copies of each!) and made a start on the fridge which is when I had my “OH MY GOD WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING, WOMAN???” Moment.

I counted 51 eggs. That’s right. FIFTY ONE EGGS. How that happened I have absolutely no idea.

For the rest of the day (and part of Saturday because I’m easily distracted!) I took every item of food out of my cupboards, counted them and wrote them down. If anything was out of date or gone off they went to the bin. I cleaned the fridge and every single cupboard out, and put the food back in but in a better order than before so that I can actually see what I’ve got now.

My mum helped me with the outside freezer on Monday, the two of us looked like a pair of loons in the shed with woolly gloves, note pad and pen in hand while we got cracking. It took the best part of an hour to note down everything (like the six frozen turkeys…) but we managed to sort it out and it turns out that I have enough frozen fish to open a shop!

We’re starting to follow a meal plan from Monday, I have filled out the sheet ready and yesterday I did a food shop to buy all the bits and pieces that I will need for the week (like veggies and stuff for the kids school lunches) My food shop this week came to the grand total of €38.67 which I was absolutely delighted with. Here’s to making more savings!



As funny as 51 eggs sounds, our friend The Egg Man delivered us even more

eggs that week and we actually ended up with 72.


  1. Ann says:

    Our mothers – I’m a good bit older than you – so it would be grandmothers – would skin us alive if THEY did a stock-take in our modern kitchens. I can remember out first fridge coming into the house. I can remember our first washing machine. But our mothers and grandmothers were frugal. They shopped every day or every second day. Stock piling, let alone stock taking just did not happen. Stock-taking and some decent forward planning is so necessary. According to a programme on TV during the week, an average family dumps 30% of its purchased food. Home Economics was a great subject in school; I still hark back to different things discussed and that streak of common sense was ever to the fore: Buy what you eat and eat what you buy, Well Done, Girl!! Keep it up.

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