It’s a not uncommon occurrence.
You plan out dinner based on what you remember being in your fridge, only to find when you actually get into it that the ingredient you planned on using has gone bad. Suddenly, that easy weeknight meal means a run to the grocery store or a scramble to use whatever else you might happen to still have on hand.
The nonprofit organization Feeding America notes that the average four-person family throws out $1600 worth of produce each year. And with the price of groceries still going up, that number is only going to grow.
So how do you reduce food waste and spare your wallet? Read on for some tips on how to set up proper food storage for your home.
Do a Clean Sweep
Start by assessing your pantry and fridge. Are you rotating through things like produce and dairy regularly enough to eat everything you buy before it spoils? Do perishable items end up getting forgotten in the back of the bottom shelf? Maybe you started with a working system, but it’s gradually fallen apart.
Whether your cabinets and shelves need a deep clean or just a bit of readjusting, it can be helpful to empty them first. That way you get everything out where you can see it, sort it, and toss anything expired or unwanted. Wiping down shelves and sweeping out the pantry corners will provide a clean slate for resetting.
Make a Plan
Good food storage means food will last longer and retain more flavor. When you’re planning out your new system, make sure you know where your favorite food items will do best.
Meat, for example, should usually be kept on the bottom shelf of the fridge. And while storing that jug of milk in the door seems like an obvious choice, temperature changes there make it likely to spoil faster. Put it on a shelf instead.
Many produce items—potatoes, onions, citrus fruits, and even tomatoes—should be kept on the counter or in the pantry rather than in the fridge. And some, like apples, don’t play well with others.
Make a plan based on what you and your family are most likely to have in the house. Try to keep foods that spoil quickly visible. Labels are a great way to make sure your system doesn’t fall apart when someone else is putting away the groceries.
In the fridge, drawer dividers and other small storage solutions can keep things tidy. In the pantry, you want to maximize your space and organization ability. Which might mean options like extra shelving, produce baskets, and built-in spice racks.
You may want bigger cabinets for root vegetables. Bins for citrus fruits. Spaces to keep air-tight containers for pasta and dried grains.
The better your organization system, and the more your space is customized to suit it, the more likely your pantry and fridge are to stay organized. Which means fewer food items end up out of sight and out of mind.
Closet & Storage Concepts of Las Vegas can help! With nearly twenty years of experience designing and installing custom storage solutions in southern Nevada homes, we’re experts on great pantries. We know what you need and how to install it, and our designers can help you make the most of even a small kitchen space.
Contact us today for a free in-home consult and start building the custom pantry you’ve been dreaming of!