How do you track your preps?

That is, how do you know exact­ly:

What you have on hand?
Where it is stored?
What is the quan­ti­ty sta­tus?

And then, how do you deter­mine what needs to be stocked/restocked? Where to get it?

Prep­pers use a vari­ety of mech­a­nisms to track and plan there preps. Some peo­ple have cre­at­ed elab­o­rate spread­sheets for dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories (food, water, med­ical, defense etc). Oth­ers more com­put­er inclined have devel­oped their own Access data­base appli­ca­tions. And still oth­ers use old fash­ioned pen and paper (which does have the virtue of being “off the grid” in the event of a dis­as­ter!).

I rarely give a pub­lic review for a spe­cif­ic prod­uct or ser­vice. And even more rarely rec­om­mend a prod­uct or ser­vice. But this one I feel is real­ly worth­while to dis­cuss.

I start­ed out with a spread­sheet sys­tem and still use it for my long term stor­age preps. But for my short­er term sup­plies, the com­mer­cial supermarket/Costco/BJ’s/Wal­mart etc sup­plies it doesn’t work well.

So I began a search for a bet­ter sys­tem to orga­nize and track short term stor­age sup­plies. It soon occurred to me that I don’t need a sys­tem specif­i­cal­ly for prep­ping per se. There had to be soft­ware, ide­al­ly free­ware or low cost share­ware, for pantry and kitchen food inven­to­ry.

And there is.

First, my require­ments were sim­ple:

  • Be able to have mul­ti­ple pantry/inventory loca­tions.
  • Be able to add prod­ucts to loca­tions (ide­al­ly by scan­ning the UPC code for speed).
  • Be able to spec­i­fy the quan­ti­ty of the item and any notes about it.
  • Ide­al­ly, be able to enter the expi­ra­tion date.
  • Be able to move prod­ucts from one loca­tion to anoth­er with­out need­ing to re-enter it.
  • Be able to cre­ate To-Do or shop­ping lists.
  • Be able to see a list of prod­ucts are each loca­tion and the quan­ti­ties of each prod­uct.

There are quite a few PC based pack­ages for pantry and inven­to­ry man­age­ment. There are also sev­er­al web-based ser­vices for this, though most require a mod­est fee for use.

Then it occurred to me there had to be a smart phone app too. A quick browse of the Android Mar­ket Place list­ed sev­er­al. Most were free so I down­loaded sev­er­al and put them through their paces. Unfor­tu­nate­ly none meet all my require­ments. I don’t think that would be pos­si­ble with­out cus­tom work (if any­one is a Droid app pro­gram­mer and is will­ing to do some pro-bono work let me know!). But with com­pro­mise in mind I test­ed each one.

I final­ly set­tled on one that I think cov­ers the bulk of the sig­nif­i­cant fea­tures I want: Out Of Milk

This is both a Droid and web appli­ca­tion (maybe avail­able for iphone and ipad too by the time this is pub­lished). It can work stand alone as a smart phone app, as a web-based ser­vice, or work togeth­er as a smart phone and web-based app.

So here’s a run­down of what I like and don’t like about this prod­uct:


  • Can oper­ate stand alone as a smart phone app (free) or in con­junc­tion with the web-based app (fee).
  • If you sub­scribe to the web site ($4.99 life­time access for 2 users then a small amount  for up to 9 addi­ton­al users as of writ­ing this) it will sync lists in real-time auto­mat­i­cal­ly (con­fig­urable) between your smart phones and the web­site.
  • Cre­ate shared or pri­vate lists.
  • Select who to share your lists with (if using the mul­ti user fea­ture).
  • Can cre­ate lists and enter/maintain inven­to­ry on the web­site then upload (sync) the smart phone app. (gen­er­al­ly much eas­i­er to enter from a PC than use a smart phone key­board inter­face).
  • Can enter prod­ucts man­u­al­ly or by scan­ning UPC.
  • Can select a spe­cif­ic quan­ti­ty or a full-half-emp­ty to indi­cate amount on hand.
  • Can enter the price of the item and comments/notes (option­al).
  • Can trans­fer prod­uct from one list to anoth­er (e.g. move an item from one loca­tion to anoth­er).
  • Can sched­ule sync updates from every 15 min­utes to every 4 hours as well as man­u­al­ly force a sync.
  • Pret­ty good cus­tomer sup­port.


  • No entry for expi­ra­tion date (unless you put it in the name of the items – ex: Canned Tuna, 5 oz, exp 12/31/10).
  • And there­fore no auto­mat­ic way to report on or indi­cate items that have expired or are about to expire.
  • No auto­mat­ic way to remove prod­ucts from inven­to­ry such as by scan­ning the UPC – must man­u­al­ly edit the quan­ti­ty to reduce the on hand amount.
  • No report­ing tools (no way to print a report) of items in stock.
  • The smart phone user inter­face is a bit “clum­sy” for some fea­tures.
  • Pos­si­ble secu­ri­ty issues from hav­ing your data on a web ser­vice (I am not say­ing any­thing spe­cif­ic about the site’s secu­ri­ty! Mere­ly say­ing there is the com­mon issue of secu­ri­ty that stands for any web­site). Also secu­ri­ty for hav­ing your data on a smart phone that can be [phys­i­cal­ly] lost or stolen.

Over­all I think this soft­ware and ser­vice is a good bal­ance of the fea­ture I think are impor­tant for good pantry inven­to­ry man­age­ment and is a good price. Def­i­nite­ly worth try­ing the free ver­sion at least.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email