Food waste can be a black hole in our budgets. Things get forgotten or lost in the back of the fridge and we never see them in edible condition again. Today we are going to talk about how to organize your kitchen to reduce food waste.
I used to really struggle to use up food in our house before it spoiled. But I’ve gotten a lot better about it over the last few years. There are a number of things you can do to help you reduce food waste and I’m excited to share them with you today.
How to Organize Your Kitchen to Reduce Food Waste
Mark expiration dates with a marker. Expiration dates on the packaging are small and easily overlooked. By marking dates large across packaging you can look into the fridge and see which pack of cheese or whatever is going to go bad first and use that.
In the pantry things often get tossed around so the protection of easy to read expiration dates helps your family watch what they are grabbing. Those bold markings are a great reminder to check.
Keep produce visible. Often when we come home from the supermarket we toss produce into the crisper drawers. This is where fruits and vegetables go to die. Out of sight, out of mind really applies here. You can now get storage containers just for keeping produce fresh and visible. Replace crisper drawers with these storage containers keeping produce visible at all times.
I like to go ahead and prep fruits and veggies when I purchase them so they are ready to use. I’ll wash grapes and store individual servings in half pint jars with plastic lids. I’ll also cut up celery and carrots and store in pint size jars ready to grab for snacks later.
Prepping produce ahead of time makes it easier to use when you are in a hurry so that you are less likely to let it go to waste.
related: Meal Prep 101 for Beginners
Rotate food going into your pantry when you get home. This will keep your freshest pantry goods in the back and the older stuff up front ready to be used. If your family is known for tearing your pantry apart when choosing things from the pantry, regularly straighten it up when you stock. For cans, you can find great rotating shelf units if your pantry space is large enough.
Also, marking cans with expiration dates that you can clearly see really helps if you have a lot of food in your pantry.
Replace containers you can not see through with transparent versions. Keeping food visible at all times is key to keeping it from becoming forgotten about until you clean and discover that canister you filled with flour last year in the back of the pantry that you thought was something else.
Freezer cooking & meal prep is a great way to get organized and reduce kitchen waste. When you get home from the supermarket grab some tea, put on some music, and start doing the prep work for your meals. Wash, chop, even season meats and veggies for slow cooker / crock pot and Instant Pot meals into gallon size freezer bags.
This will ensure food stays fresh and gets used rather than lost in the fridge or forgotten. You save a lot of money as well when your meals are organized and ready to cook.
Recently I’ve been making recipes ahead and freezing them for quick weeknight meals. It’s also a great way to make sure that food isn’t wasted! In January I made Twice Baked Brocoli Cheese Potatoes and Homemade Frozen Hash Browns. So easy and it was a great way to use up that huge bag of potoates!
Once a Month Meals has so many great recipes like the Twice Baked Broccoli Cheese Potatoes recipe I used – and their service makes freezer cooking so easy!
Some of their most popular menus right now are:
Clean out the fridge regularly to prevent food waste. As items start to get older use them up for that night’s dinner or place them out for snacks for the children. Grab those leftovers and use them to create a fun feast of leftovers where everyone chooses what they want or pack for lunches before they have a chance to become science experiments in the back of the fridge.
Kitchen organization helps you reduce food waste, feed your family easier, and get the most out of your budget. It just takes a little time and a few handy tools like Clear food storage, a marker, and a dry erase marker to label foods.
Free Printable List of Foods You Can Freeze
How to Download
This list of foods you can freeze to save you money is also available in a free printable you can download! Just fill out the form below and you’ll receive the list in your email box.