We have had company recently. With so many people here, we are clearing out some of the food that needs to be eaten. This is a different way of decluttering, I guess. And, one that I think is important. It is really smart to keep your food rotated properly. You want to be aware of when it expires and use it before then.
I have shared how I organize food in the past, but I am going to post about it again. By rotating properly, you won't find yourself in a situation where you waste a lot of food. And, wasting food wastes money.
Each week before going grocery shopping, I clean my fridge. I take everything out, shelf by shelf and wipe it down. That way nothing gets shoved in the back of the fridge for weeks and any spills are wiped up regularly.
As I clean the fridge, I write down what food I have and what needs to be used. I will make recipes the next week with the food that needs to be used.
I have a special shelf designated for only leftovers. Since they have their own place in the fridge, I don't have leftovers all over. I also have a drawer for fruits and one for veggies. I keep the cheese and meat in one drawer as well. Milk, juice, and buttermilk are on the same shelf as well. I know just where to find everything because it has a place.
It may be hard to keep things organized, especially if you still have young kids at home. If you include them in cleaning up after meals, they may not put things away in an organized manner. If you want kids to be involved, it is best to relax standards on a daily basis and regularly clean the fridge each week yourself. You can teach kids where to put things, but just like cleaning up a playroom or their own rooms, things don't always wind up where they should at the end of the day.
Before going shopping each week, I check my freezer to see what is in there and what needs to be used. I may have leftovers that can be used for a meal the next week. I may already have chicken or beef and not need to purchase more. I like to organize my freezer as well, putting the meats together, breads, frozen fruits, veggies, leftovers, etc. in their own section. I put treats/desserts in their own section as well.
It is good to use containers that are easy to see through and label and date them so you will know how long they have been in the freezer. I try use things up within 3 months and regularly rotate them. I have a determined amount of each item I want to have in the freezer and if I use chicken from the freezer, I will buy it the next week or wait until a good sale and buy enough to replace what I used.
With Covid-19 all around us, it is wise to have at least a couple of weeks of food in your home in case of emergency, job loss or lock down.
Most of the food in my cupboards are the things that have a longer expiration date, not like produce that needs to be used quickly. I arrange my cupboards in sections with soup in one area, veggies in one area, tuna and canned meat in another place, etc. I keep my staples close to the stove where I use them to cook. I put the new cans I purchase in the back, making sure that I put the expiration date on each once in larger numbers than the little dates they put on the cans. This way I can easily see what needs to be used up. When I open my cupboard, I know that the things in front are the things that need to be used first and I can see right when they need to be used by.
As I make my menu, I will see if there are cans that I need to use soon and make recipes that will use them.
I do have another pantry cupboard that I keep extra cans. I don't put all of them in the kitchen at once. I keep one or two rows of cans of each item depending on how often I use it. Every three months, I look through my other pantry items bringing the ones that need to be used into the kitchen cupboards where I will see them more regularly and use them before they expire.
Speaking of Covid-19, I would strongly encourage anyone who does not have at least a couple of months of food stored to seriously consider building up a food storage. There are some real benefits whether it is an emergency or not. First, if money is tight one week or one month, you have food in the house that can carry you through until things improve. If you have food stored, you are going to be ok for a period of time if you lose your job. If you have food stored, you don't have to worry if other people panic and crowd the stores. You will feel peaceful knowing that you already have things. For example, I bet most of you remember people buying up toilet paper and hand sanitizer recently. The shelves were empty of some things. Then it was soap and pasta. If you had some on hand for a few weeks or few months, you wouldn't have to panic or worry because you are taken care of for the short term.
Some of you may think that getting food stored may be a good idea, but are struggling just to make ends meet now. The food you store may not be sufficient to make gourmet meals, but even if you have some ramen and canned green beans, they will keep you alive. You can find inexpensive things to stock up on. Rice, beans, pasta, macaroni and cheese, soup, etc. can be some other possibilities. I try to buy some things that can be eaten easily in case there is a power outage as well. What you eat will be determined by what you like and how much money you have to spend. But, something is better than nothing. It does provide a measure of peace to have things on hand since we live in uncertain times where we don't have control over everything.
As the old saying says, "If you are prepared, you shall not fear."