The Kitchen Dry Erase Board

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The usual Friday “dinner with my family” post is taking a one week hiatus.

I recently had what I consider to be a great idea that I thought I’d share with you while I’m still in the process of implementing it.

A few days ago, I was at a food co-op distribution point (I’m not in the food co-op but I’m hoping to sign up for one soon) where I noticed that they had lists of the available items on a big white dry erase board. Essentially, the board provided a list of all of the food items that were spread around the food co-op building so that you didn’t have to wander around searching for an item. Instead, you could just look at the board and make sure they actually have the item first.

It looked an awful lot like this board, found at another food co-op (thanks to krossbow for the pic):

Clagett Farm Share Nov. 2 and 6 2010

As I looked at the board, an idea popped into my head.

Our pantry and deep freezer have a lot of food in there. Often, it’s hard to find food that’s located in the back, particularly when you’re browsing for something to have for dinner.

Let’s say, for example, that the kids are clamoring for macaroni and cheese. Do we have any elbow macaroni? It’s probably way in the back on one of the shelves in the pantry… but can I see it, especially when I’m not sure if we have any?

Let’s say we’re making a meal plan for the week. Well, what do we have in hand? We could dig through the freezer and the pantry, spending a good amount of time just putting down the basics of our meal plan.

Or, in both cases, we could just glance at a whiteboard in our kitchen that lists the contents of such food storage places.

Why do this?

First, it makes locating food items at home easier. I need rice vinegar. Where is it? I might have everything in the pantry memorized… but probably not. I might spend a bunch of time searching for it. Or I could just glance at a big board that tells me right where it is and quickly pull it out of the pantry.

Second, it makes meal planning much easier. I’m making next week’s meal plan. What should I make? I could dig through the pantry or the deep freezer to come up with ideas… or I could just look at a list on a whiteboard.

Both of these things greatly encourage cooking at home, which is far less expensive than eating out. Not only that, it encourages me to plan meals based more on what I have on hand than before, which means that our actual food bills will go down even further because we’re using materials we already have instead of buying more.

Today, I started on the first draft of this idea. I made a list on my laptop of all of the significant items in our pantry, printed off a couple pages, and taped them to the pantry door. However, I can quickly see how these pages will quickly be outdated with items used up and items added to the pantry.

So, one of the projects for this coming weekend is to pick up a dry erase board and install it on the pantry door. Will it work? To me, it seems like one of those big wins that saves both time and money. It does require some start-up work, but once that project is complete, the benefits seem tremendous.

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62 thoughts on “The Kitchen Dry Erase Board

  1. I use paper lists for pantry and freezer and it works quite well. It’s not hard to add the items after a grocery shop or to cross them off as they’re used up. I restart them every few months when I run out of space or am having a hard time seeing the current items around the ones that are crossed out. I’ll note that I’m also regularly teased by friends and family about these lists :)

  2. I use paper lists, too. I do them on the computer changing amounts with a pencils by crossing out, then I print off new updated ones on the first of the month. I tape them on the inside of a cupboard door (no teasing). They note where the item is: freezer, cupboard, shed, rv. I’m trying to train my 10yo to cross out or change when he uses something. DH is not sure that is a good idea.

  3. We have a big white board and use it partially for that purpose. Large whiteboards can often be gotten cheaply in the wainscoting section of a hardware store–they often have whiteboard and chalkboard panels in among the other panels. The person at the hardware store where we got ours didn’t even know they had it until we found it.

  4. We use a small whiteboard for the contents of our chest freezer — it’s great! We stuck both the whiteboard and a marker to the top with velcro, so it doesn’t fall off when we open the freezer. We keep it on the freezer to help us remember to update it when we take things out. It makes grocery shopping easier too, because I know at a glance what we’re running low on, so when the sales come around, I can stock up!

  5. Over-complicating every aspect of life. Do you really need a whiteboard to inventory your food supply? It’s yet another thing to manage (and you seem to track almost every aspect of your life if you actually implement all the ideas you present on this blog into your own life.)

    Simplify, simplify, simplify.

    I’m not sure how hard it is to create a system of organization in your cupboards and pantry that doesn’t require a whiteboard for an inventory. Speaking from my own kitchen habits, everything has a place, and everything is in its place. At a glance I’m able to know if some ingredient I need is low or out, and in that case, I add it to a shopping list.

    Of course, my situation is probably different from many in that I typically shop every day for fresh produce and what I have in my cupboards is largely oils and spices and other staple ingredients. But even still, I don’t think we should muck up every aspect of our lives with lists, tracking, or inventories.

    I think we all need to step back and simply our lives, not by adding more layers but by removing them. Think of all the time you could save if you didn’t have to track and micromanage all of these different aspects of your life!

  6. You should definitely investigate cheaper alternatives to white boards – including clean windows, plexiglass, and acrylic sheet. We decided that we wanted a white board on the fridge for grocery lists, so we can note things as we use them. We ended up using an old picture frame that wasn’t in use – I just replaced the picture with a solid color background and hung it on the fridge.

  7. I was going to blog about doing something similar with paper lists on the back of the cupboard (so they cannot be seen unless open.) Also, in the spice cabinet as spice bottles get lost all the time for us.

  8. I just keep all of my non-perishable food organized in the pantry or cupboards – all of the pasta, rice and beans are all on one shelf, all of the different cooking oils are together, all of the vinegars are together – so I always know where to find those very fast.

    With produce and meat, I’m part of a CSA so I actually plan all my meals around what I have, rather than plan meals and then shop for them. I enjoy that personally because I like a lot of variety in my food and enjoy experimenting with food. I’m very, very good at substituting ingredients!

    But I think this could be a terrific tool with the kids, particularly as they’re starting to read (and of course, you could draw pictures next to the words to help with that!) – it’d be a great way to have kids help come up with menus and ideas on food and cooking when they can ‘see’ everything available.

  9. Why not just eat the food you have on hand? If I had enough food lying around that I had to inventory it, most of it would inevitably expire. We just buy what we need for the week and then eat it – besides a few staples like flower or rice that we buy in bulk and that keep well, mostly we buy fresh food anyway that goes bad quickly. If my cupboards were full enough that we had to list things, I think we’d have to implement a “no shopping” week – (which we do occasionally) where we don’t go grocery shopping and it forces us to use up things that are lying around before they go bad.

  10. Am I the only one who pretty much knows exactly what is inside my fridge, freezer and cupboards?
    (And if I am really unsure of a particular item, I just peek)

  11. I do something similar with just paper list held by a magnet to the fridge. I do this especially after getting the CSA share and having a lot of produce that we don’t normally have in the house. The list helps focus our attention on what we need to eat and cook to use up before it goes bad. My sister calls it my reverse shopping list – its our eating list ;-)

  12. Hmm… someone who works at home, is into food, and needs a whiteboard to keep track of what’s in his pantry. Seems needlessly complicated, and why a whiteboard? Wouldn’t a piece of paper suffice?

    But Trent, I beg you, please do NOT visit your local Victoria’s Secret. God only knows what you’d post about as a result. ;-)

  13. I think this would work well for a freezer. We buy half a pig or half a cow at a time. I also make lots of soup and casseroles to freeze. It would be easier to update a board, than rifling through pounds of meat to see what cut we have to work with. Also, I can see how some kind of list to keep stock of home-canned items would work well.

  14. Another blogger I read (Oregon Cottage, I think) painted her old freezer with a couple of coats of chalkboard paint. She used it to note what was in the freezer and in what quantity. Made a grody freezer somewhat more attractive and served a purpose as well.

  15. I can see using some kind of list for a large freezer (which we don’t have), as most items are wrapped & difficult to identify – & need to be tracked by age.

    Yet,I disagree that it’s a one-shot deal to get set up. To make this worthwhile, anyone who cooks or shops is going to have to commit to updating as you use up items and buy new ones, which is ongoing & beyond my inclination.

    We use a small whiteboard on the fridge for tracking items we need to shop for, but even if we had room for posting an inventory board, I wouldn’t do it.

    For the pantry I’m with #11/Carolyn & the other naysayers – I have a good idea of what’s in the cabinets & pantry, & it isn’t that big a deal to search. We group like items by shelf, and are pretty good at improvising if we don’t have a specific item on hand. Or using up items we’ve accumulated multiples. If you’re spending a lot of time searching for items, then you need to get those items organized better (which you’re probably going to do when you set up this whiteboard).

  16. I was kind of disappointed when there was no recipe but I’m actually kind of excited by this idea! I buy in bulk and on sale. And out of sight is out of mind so this would be a time and irritation-saver.

    I do something similar with my main shopping at Costco. I have an Excel list of all the things I normally purchase at Costco. I highlight them as I get low, plus having the list helps make sure I don’t forget. The big time-saver is that I have the list in order of my route through the store. I can do a full Costco run, including checkout in 20 minutes.

  17. Our version of this kind of thing is to write a list of all the meals that can be made out of the ingredients currently in the pantry/freezer/fridge and stick that to the fridge (and this is what our kitchen whiteboard would have on it).

    I have a household full of picky eaters and teenagers, and family dinners are more and more rare. So if everyone knows what they can throw together with what I already know is in the pantry, it saves everyone complaining that there isn’t any food. A list of items in the pantry is unnecessary for us because the 17 year old is not going to think to make pesto if she looks in the pantry and sees pasta, nuts, and olive oil. But she’ll know to go look for those things (along with the basil plant in the window) if pesto is on the list of possible meals and it sounds good.

  18. This is why I don’t have a second freezer.

    But +1 to whoever commented that you can just write on the glass in a picture frame. I seem to think white boards are pricey for some reason.

  19. I will be looking forward to hearing how this works out for you. Not sure this would be necessary for me, but sometimes when you talk about how an idea evolves and works out, I think again.

  20. @ #11 Carolyn I know exactly what you mean. I spend so much time in my kitchen I know where everything is, and how much we have (except when I get in a mental hiccup and think we need brown sugar and end up buying it twice). However, I have a feeling that this is just a different way of thinking (right brained/left brained kind of thing). If it works for you, and you like making and maintaining these lists, and it make your life easier, great! I love the idea of picture frames, I have used laminated paper to write on, and it works really well.

  21. I forgot to add that we do have a version of this on our fridge, but it is a list of things that need to be eaten right away (cut up melon in the fridge, super ripe pears, leftover meals), and things that need to be cooked right away (usually fresh veggies I haven’t gotten around to cooking yet). It works really well for my husband, instead of staring into the fridge wondering what to eat, he can look at the list and know what needs to be eaten. No more wasted food!

  22. While reading the post I felt similar to Steven, comment #5, although my wife would probably love this idea. To each their own. In the area of budgeting, for example, I’ve realized that I enjoy playing with my kids more than my receipts and my budget categories. When I get home from work, I don’t want to feel like I’ve got to block out part of my weekend to get ‘caught up’ on categorizing my expenses. I’d rather make things automatic, avoid TMI and simplify. That’s part of the reason why I’m passionate about what I do. Thanks anyway for the post and comments.

  23. Another idea, though this would be tailored to those in IT, as my boyfriend and I are programmers… write a program to manage it. Granted the hours spent programming it would be enormous, and it would be a while before you’d actually get to use it.

    I’m sure there’s free software that people have built out there though for this task. Just have to do some Googling.

  24. I used 2 white boards in our kitchen/ pantry, but in slightly different ways. one is on our fridge, and lists today’s meal, anything urgent that needs to be eaten ASAP, my son’s current med schedule, etc. I have a second in our largish pantry which I use to list all the meals I have ingredients on hand to make, both with pantry staples and fresh ingredients, and freezer stocked goods. That way I can check my list and pick a meal to make that night. I know which meals need to be made first, using the fresh veggies, the pantry meals can wait till the end of the week. And we rarely order out because I don’t have to think much about what to make, I have a list of meals.

    I also use my board to keep a list of things we are out of, as well as meal suggestions for later weeks. that way my shopping list is half made by the time the fridge is empty.

    Both of our boards came from goodwill and cost less than $2 each.

    And I agree with others who said they basically know what is in their freezer/ pantry in their head. I do that also, and I have a 2nd freezer and large pantry.

  25. We have a white board on our chest freezer. I make large batches of things like soup or chili and then freeze them in individual plastic containers for later lunches. I’ll write the name of the item and put hash marks for how many containers are in there, and then just erase a mark each time I take something out. Easy to see what I’m getting low on! Also invaluable for when you are partway through a quarter-cow and can’t quite remember what kind of steak or roast is still waiting to be used…it’s on the board.

  26. Been doing this for quite awhile. Got this idea when i stared to read about menu planning. I use a sheet of paper, fold it in half a few times until i have 8 sections. Each column is devoted to meats, cans, veggies, pasta’s etc. Even have a slot for frozen leftover meals. It’s been helpful on those, gosh i don’t know what to do for dinner. And reduces the temptation of running to a drive thru. A quick sweep and i already see whats available to make for dinner.

  27. When we had a full pantry and two 25 cubic foot chest freezers, I cut plywood dividers to keep fruits, veggies, meats, canned goods etc seperated so we could easily segregate and find everything. We used a Sharpie to write the in-date so very few items became unusable. The freezers were defrosted every fall, we rotated the newest stuff to the bottom and oldest put on top. For the most part, we always knew what we had on hand. No inventory was needed because our stocks were kept organized.

    Same with the pantry, everything was kept organized and rotated.

    As our children grew up and left the nest, we’ve gotten sloppy with our system. Both chest freezers are gone and we replaced them with a smaller upright that is harder to keep organized. Transient grandchildren and dry erase boards would not work well. A sheet of printer paper with a tethered pencil kept on top would be a better solution. The pantry didn’t change but it’s much easier with less stuff stored in there.

  28. I love the picture frame idea. I currently use a list of my usual freezer items inside a plastic sheet protector, and I mark things off with a dry erase marker. I have to replace the sheet protector every once in a while, however. I’ll start watching the thrift store for a picture frame.
    A friend of mine gave me the idea — think she got it from fly lady (or one of those people who helps get you organized).

  29. I have deep pantry shelves and need to go through them every few months…I’ve been thinking about using this idea of having a list of stuff for the pantry, and also a list of “things to eat soon” on the fridge.

  30. In my experience, though, more important than lists is going through the fridge systematically once a week to “surface” the things that need to be dealt with right away and things that need to be thrown out.

  31. There must be two kinds of people in the world – the ones who keep a 1-4 day supply of food on hand and those who keep 1-24 months’ supply on hand. If you’re one of the former, the need for ways to organize and rotate supplies will make no sense at all, but for the rest of us, this is a useful post.

    I don’t worry about refrigerator items (milk, fresh produce, etc.), but for longer term pantry/storage, I keep an Excel spreadsheet I created, that tells me what I have and what I need for 3, 6 and 12 month supplies. When I get down to less than a three month supply of anything, I start keeping an eye out for sales and aim to re-stock to at least a six-month supply, and more if the price is right.

    I never have to worry about whether I have what I need for dinner, because I know there’s always enough for at least three months of dinners of our regular foods (substituting canned for fresh vegetables, meats and fruits if need be), all of it purchased at rock-bottom prices or home-canned. I also never have to go to the store when the weather’s bad, I’m tired, etc.

    Folks, how many times do you have to read about earthquakes/tsunamis in Japan, New Zealand, Chile, Haiti, snow-storms in the Midwest, hurricanes in Florida, Louisiana, the Carolinas, power outages or snow-storms in the Northeast, etc.? If you don’t have enough food and beverages on hand to need to keep track of, you almost surely do not have enough.

    This chalkboard idea is a good one. I’ve also read of people who painted a door or side of their refrigerator or freezer with white-board or black-board paint and use that to track supplies. It doesn’t fit with my kitchen decor, but it’s a great idea.

  32. AnnJo,

    You make a good point. I know people who shop every day and some who shop once a week. However I believe that most frugal experts would agree that stocking up on sale items is a key strategy for saving money on groceries, thus those who are truly trying to live with in a budget will most likely have a lot of food in their pantry/freezer.

    While I can understand why some might think Trent’s listing is over the top, I believe anyone who has every owned a chest freezer can relate to the diffuclty of remembering what exactly is in the bottom of your freezer and how old it is. Amy Dacyzyn of The Tightwat Gazette also recommends keeping an inventory of food that is in your freezer. I don’t believe she inventoried pantry items, however she was always aware of what she had on hand and what she needed to purchase the next time it was on sale.

  33. Oh, I don’t know. A wat is a temple where Buddhist monks practice virtues including frugality. Should they wish to reach a wider audience, the Tightwat Gazette would be an ideal medium.

  34. I am adding to what Gretchen#19 said about dry-erase boards. I have been using my bathroom mirror as a dry-erase board for years. It is great because it’s already there, I see it everyday, and it works.

  35. Here is what would have happened at my house. I would have spent hours putting up the white board and inventorying and systematizing. After telling my kids not to mess with it, it would be some fairly short amount of time before I would return to find at least half of it erased and replaced with drawings of monsters in battle. At least half of the drawings would be done in permanent marker which they found someplace. I would suggest either no white boards or two white boards, one for them and one for the original purpose. Good luck, Trent.

  36. @AnnJo – you don’t have to keep 3 -6 months of regular groceries on hand in order to be prepared for a hurricane. I lived in an area of Florida that didn’t get hit a lot by hurricanes and I had a shelf in a storage closet of canned meat, canned veggies, soup, ramen, can opener, gallons of water, first aid kit.

    I’d check the expiration dates periodically and eat/replace when needed.

    Also what people need as a stockpile depends on how many people and how much they eat. A single person isn’t going to need as much as a family of four or five. I don’t stockpile but I don’t have to stock pile a lot.

  37. This post just caused me get up off the couch and organize my freezer and pantry. I think I’ll make a list at the same time! Waste is foolish.

  38. @Interested Reader, being “prepared” can rise to different levels.

    You can be prepared enough to avoid hunger until FEMA arrives and starts handing out MREs, then go stand in line for a few hours a day and take what they give you. For that, a few days worth of stored food is probably fine. My choice is to be prepared to get along on basically our normal diet until roads are cleared and safe, grocery stores are fully restocked and prices stabilize, AND to be able to help out my neighbors who didn’t prepare get along until FEMA arrives. YMMV.

    @Gretchen, I think of hoarding as stockpiling things you DON’T need and use.

    Buying large quantities of what you DO need and use at the most favorable prices, assuming you have the ability and space to store them in safe conditions, could be called investing, frugality, environmental awareness (saving gas on unnecessary trips to the store), but not hoarding.

    For example, if you know your household goes through three cans of tuna a week, it keeps for at least 3-4 years, you have no plans to move, and you have the shelf space, why not buy 150 cans or even more when it’s on sale for 33 cents a can, rather than go to the grocery store and buy three cans a week at prices up to $1.50 a can, not to mention forgetting it and running out? How much is “enough” under those circumstances?

    We just finished up the last of 10 40-oz jars of Best Foods mayo I bought a year ago at 70 cents a jar (combining coupons, sale price and register rewards). With “sale” prices of $2.99 for a 32 oz jar the best usually available, I saved about $30 on that single condiment last year. I keep our food budget for three people, including one voracious teenager, at about $300 a month by shopping like that, without stinting on meats, fresh produce, etc. Therefore I DO need systems to keep track of my inventory.

    Funny how nobody thinks of their emergency fund in the bank as “hoarded” money, but keeping on hand a good supply of the things that money would be used for gets that label.

  39. We have a laminated list on a clip board that hangs above the freezer from a hook. We use with a dry erase marker on it. Tick marks show what is there, we just wipe of the tick mark when we use it. We pull list upstairs when we meal plan. Easy-peasy, just have to make sure the list is used. We recount the inventory about once a year. This actually makes life easier because we go to the store less and argue less about what we “think” we have in the freezer.

  40. Except 1. Mayo *does* go bad and
    2. I hope you have enough water. You can go longer without food then water.

  41. Re: #33 AnnJo
    I don’t even know where I would put 6 months of food in my 1 bedroom apartment. I guess I’ll just change a tsunami.
    “power outages or snow-storms in the Northeast…”
    This is exactly why we DON’T keep our freezer fully stocked with 6 months of frozen foods. The second we lose power its just a ticking time bomb waiting to defrost and go bad. Its bad enough when we lose power right after our weekly grocery shopping, but if we had months and months of food in there I might go on a frugality fueled rampage after losing the value of 6 months worth of now useless food.

  42. My diet tends to be on the side of fresh, whole vegetables and fruits. Rare are the occassions that I prepare a meal for a can/box/bag anymore. It’s hard for people who eat like I do to stockpile food…not to mention I don’t have the space.

    I guess it really just depends on your situation, really. If you don’t live in an area that’s prone to natural disaster, there’s not a huge incentive to prepare for one. But if you do live in a location where hurricanes are frequent, it makes more sense to have things onhand to eat.

    I don’t think stocking up on food is hoarding but I do think it works better for some people than others. I don’t eat mayo or tuna, so I can’t stock up on those things when they do go on sale. Also, from what I’ve noticed, most things that go on sale are typically (maybe not always) processed foods that I try to avoid. Meat seems to be on sale frequently, but I don’t eat it.

    If ever there was a great sale on fresh veggies, maybe I’d take up canning or something. For now, I’ll grow a garden and maybe do some canning later this summer and stock up that way.

  43. @Robin S, I completely agree about the problem with freezers. Unless you have a generator and are willing to store a fair amount of fuel, there’s a high risk in any situation where power was lost, and that would include most natural disasters like earthquakes, floods or hurricanes.

    When I get a really great deal on meats, in addition to freezing some, I’ve started home-canning (pressure canned, of course) for uses in casseroles, spaghetti, etc. To my surprise, it turns out that home-canned meats are like a convenience food in that you can whip up dinner much faster than if you have to defrost and pre-cook your meat before assembling your dinner.

    There’s a great sale on ground beef nearby, and I’ll be buying, browning and canning about 12 pounds tomorrow. It takes about 30 minutes of prep time, and then just keeping an eye on the pressure canner while I take care of other chores.

  44. #26 Rebecca Great Idea, Trent: Thanks for posting, I have used a sheet of paper, but so far the rest of the family has resisted marking items off, will try again. Thanks to all commenters for the great ideas.

  45. I used a dry erase marker and wrote directly on the freezer door. It worked fine until one day I mistook a permanent marker for an erasable one.

  46. Steven,

    If I were just feeding myself…or myself and my husband, we would probably shop/eat more like you do. However I am on the tail end of raising 3 kids (2 of them teenage waterpolo players) and it can call for a completely different approach when two parents are working/and or the family is on a budget. Someday when our kids are on their own, I look forward to having a bit more freedom related to grocery shopping and food preparation.

  47. I wonder how you manage to keep this site fresh… This is just another one of those fantastic posts that keeps me coming back. Thanks Trent.

  48. @Steven, we eat vegetarian dinners two or three times a week, but even then, we “shop” from our pantry for staples like rice and other grains and seeds, many varieties of beans, lentils, canned tomatoes, olive oil, coconut milk, condiments, etc. Not to mention oatmeal for breakfast. Gotta have that at least 3-4 times a week.

    Much as I love fresh fruits and veggies, a diet of strictly those foods would be pretty low in protein and complex carbs, I’d think, and it would be hard for the teenager to get the 3,000-4,000 calories he burns up per day. He’s skinny as a rail already; I’d be afraid he’d disappear completely if he turned sideways to me!

  49. Steven, like AnnJo we also eat vegetarian many nights a week, even vegan 1 night a week and have a pantry stocked with peanut butter, beans, rice, whole grain pasta, spaghetti sauce, salsa, etc.

    For those wondering about deep freezers and power outages, we have had the power go out for about 3 days. During that time no one opened the deep freeze. Since it was pretty full at the time, when we checked it after the power came back on, it was still hovering at the correct temp. Having a full freezer of frozen food will keep itself frozen a long time if you don’t open the door.

  50. @Ann Jo I don’t think what your doing is wrong but it’s not right for everybody.

    I lived in Florida a long time, my father pretty much has lived there his whole life 60 + years (except for military service) and the longest he was without power due to a storm was less than a week. I think some people didn’t have power for 2 weeks. But most business did have power and people could still get to the stores.

    Plus not everyone eats the same way. I rarely eat canned food. Rarely as in I’ve got canned tuna in my house I bought 1 year ago in a fit of “I’m going to be prepared and oh it’s on sale!” I’ve eaten one can of it.

    I will admit I eat out too often. But when I cook at home I eat grains, fresh or frozen veggies and fresh meats. The canned stuff is for emergencies.

  51. @#38 GayleRn. I had to laugh at your post, because I could so relate to it! We have tried using a white board on the fridge and my son has drawn pictures all over it! He also takes all available paper from the computer printer, or any other paper for that matter, so I have to put things higher up so he doesn’t get to them…

  52. When I tried this I found that trying to erase one line made the lines above and below smudged, that the writing faded with time, and that no one else in the house would update what they took out or put in.

  53. I’ve been wanting to do something like this but smaller. Not just for ingredients but also for list of what dinners I was planning to cook. I go to the store and buy stuff for specific dishes and then later forget what I was planning for the week! Need to write it down!

  54. Easiest way (that I have found) to remove permanent markerings off a white board is to take a dry erase marker and write over the mark and then remove both with a cloth.

    Somewhat tedious (especially if you have a creative little one on your hands) but has worked for me.

  55. Trent,
    Love the idea of a whiteboard to keep track of items in the freezer/fridge. I am always tossing little baggies of items in my freezer and thinking I will remember what is in them when I next sort through the freezer. Guess what, I don’t. I am currently trying to remember to label everything, even the leftovers I put in the fridge, so I can use them up before they go bad. The white board would be perfect for me. Easy to write on and easy to erase when I use up the items. I have tried paper lists but they get messy quickly and I get tired of looking at them. Currently, I do keep a pad on my fridge so I can list the items we need at the store/farmers’ market/BJ’s so the next time I am headed to that market, I know what we are out of.
    I have a small white board calendar on my fridge where I put the “main course” of our meal for each day. It is easy for me to remember to take it out of the freezer or for my husband to know what is on the menu for that day.
    Trent, thank you for your blog and for all the comments from your fans. Lots of good information from everyone.

  56. This is a great idea! My mom used to do this (paper list) so she could keep track of all the canned goods in the deep, dark pantry in the basement. It would never work for me, I would take all the time to make it and would forget to use it. :(

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