Organizing food storage areas

Saving you time and money.

Looking around your kitchen, are you happy with how your food storage works for you? Or do you need to go searching for what you need? Having an organized food storage area can cut time when preparing meals; it can also help keep your food safe!

The first step is identifying safe food storage areas: Pantry, cupboards, refrigerator and freezer. Start with one area and pull everything out. If you have the time, dust and wipe down shelves while they are empty. Then sort through and toss any expired or damaged packages. For refrigerated items, if you are unsure how long to safely keep a food item, refer to the FDA’s fridge chart as a resource. If food is not expired or damaged but you no longer need it, please donate it to your favorite food pantry.

Next, categorize what you keep, this allows you to see items you have more than one of. If you don’t plan on eating it before it goes bad, get rid of it! Some find it helpful to keep an inventory of what you have on hand. You can create a simple list, by category or you can find numerous examples online. This makes creating a grocery list much easier because you know at a glance what you are out of.

Now it is time to put your food back. It does not matter if you have a large closet for a pantry or just a few small cupboards. Keep like items together, and if needed, use storage bins to keep small items together (seasoning packets, tea bags, etc.) and from getting lost. Dollar stores are great places to find inexpensive storage containers in a variety of colors and sizes. When putting items back and as you add to your inventory, Michigan State University Extension reminds about the importance of the first in first out rule. As you add new items, make sure to store them behind the old items. This insures a constant rotation so you are always using the oldest item. This can help to eliminate waste and save you money!

Investing a few minutes in organizing your kitchen can have a big return by saving time in your daily routine.

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