February is Canned Food Month
This month we’re focusing on a food clear out, and while February is technically Canned Food Month, we’ll really be thinking through all kinds of foods. From the tasty treats of Valentine’s Day, to the 5 year old can of string beans deep in the darkest corner of your pantry. In this post, you’ll take away a couple of simple steps to regain control of the food filling your kitchen.
Only have 5 minutes? That’s all it takes to get started! Steps below are grouped into 5 minute chunks, so you can do round one today, and round two tomorrow, and by the end of the week your kitchen will be 10 pounds lighter!
Did you know that 30-40% of food is wasted each year in the US
? Sounds horrible – it is
horrible – but when I think about my household on a busy, unorganized month I have to admit we fall into that range. Next time I’ll talk about meal planning and how that can help reduce food waste (and keep your wallet happier!). Meanwhile, let’s break down how you can get your kitchen in order, reduce that food waste percentage, and help those in need at the same time.
5-Minute Food Clear Out – Round 1
Let’s start in your refrigerator. While you’re reading this, open the door and pull out any old mushy fruits and wilted or moldy vegetables. If you have a compost bin, toss those items there, if not, trash as you normally would.
Pull out every container holding half a can of artichokes, Sunday night’s leftovers, the extra rice you cooked two weeks ago, etc. If you think it’s not good (or, hint, if you see green, brown, black, or white patches, ugh) toss it now! For the remaining items tape a label with date and return to the fridge or stick in your freezer. Rinse emptied containers and recycle or run through the dishwasher.
Next, pull all the condiments out of the door shelves (or any other spots stashed in the fridge) and stick them on your counter for a quick review. No counter space? No problem. Set the jars and cans on a cookie sheet or baking dish, then take them to your kitchen or dining room table for sorting.
Check dates on items (here’s a good article
to help you determine what to keep, because “Expiration Dates” come in many different phrases). Rinse and recycle old or opened-but-you-never-use items.
Grab your grocery list to jot down what you’re tossing that you need to replace (Please! Only replace what you use, not the other random stuff left from last year’s party).
Now we’re moving onto the pantry/cabinets. Start with bags and boxes such as cereal, pasta, cookies or other grains and do a quick review for dates. Toss what’s old, and set aside what’s still good. Before returning items to the shelves, take a good look at what you have. Will you really use it all before it goes bad? Do you really like the items you have? Anything that’s overstocked or underused, put in a grocery bag for donating to your local pantry.
Back to the pantry/cabinets! You’ll be repeating the directions from Round 4, but with all your canned goods this time. Make sure you have the donation bag handy!
Final step for your pantry/cabinets. Pull out the herbs/spices and repeat Round 4! This is another good time to keep a grocery list handy while you work. Jot down which herbs/spices you use often that are being tossed.
Need Help With Your Food Clear Out?
If you’re unable to sort through your food as suggested in Rounds 4-6, perhaps you’d like some support to get your pantry/cabinets in order. Check out my new Virtual Group Organizing Sessions
or Schedule a Call
to discuss in-person or virtual organizing.