Declutter Refrigerator Plus How To Eat Leftovers & Not Waste Them
Today's decluttering mission is to pretty quick. It is to throw away all the leftovers that you know because of age or other reasons you aren't going to eat anymore, and then wash and put away the food containers.
In addition, also get rid of other spoiled or old food in your refrigerator. You can use this refrigerated food storage guidelines printable cheat sheet
to help you know when something should get tossed.
But after you do this decluttering, the thing I'd really like you to consider even more is how to not waste those leftovers and food anymore, in the future.
Food waste costs us money, and also it isn't being a good steward of the resources we're blessed with.
So I'd like you to think seriously about why you had lots of spoiled food that was perhaps becoming a science experiment in your fridge to begin with.
That isn't meant as judgment. Trust me, I've had some science experiment types of containers I've discovered in my fridge before. I think just about everyone has.
But I don't like to find them. First, because it's gross to deal with. (Admit it -- you've thrown away a container rather than clean the yuckiness in there before! At least I know I have.)
But also for the reason I said above. I dislike that I've wasted food. It feels wrong.
So today I want you to identify what is causing the problem and implement some easy steps to try to prevent this from happening as often in the future.
Maybe for you it is realizing that you or others in your household just don't like leftovers, and you should therefore just cook less food for each meal. That will require some changes to your habits, but your wallet will thank you when you are purchasing less food, and still feeding everyone!
For others, you may need to work on creating habits that ensure you're more likely to eat those leftovers instead of letting them go
I've actually got some great suggestions below for how to make sure your family eats the leftovers you've got consistently. But here's my three best tips as well.
First, schedule a consistent time you eat leftovers. This can be consistently eating them the next day for lunch, or having a leftover night planned into the meal plan
for the week regularly.
The point is to make sure you allot time to eat the food you've already prepared. This will save you money, and also time since you'll also have to cook less frequently.
Second, let people know, through labels on the food containers or in some other way, what leftovers are available and how old they are.
Often family members have no idea what is available, or don't know how old it is, so they're wary to eat it. Just keeping everyone informed of what is available goes a long way toward making sure the leftovers actually get eaten.
(Also make sure you're using these 5 food storage safety tips
so when you and your family eat these leftovers they are safe to eat!)
And third, to the extent that some food is not eaten, make sure you're clearing it out of the fridge regularly. The two best times to do this is the day before garbage pick up day, so the food doesn't just sit in the garbage for too long getting gross. The other good day to do this is the day before you grocery shopping, so the fridge is clear and ready for new food when you bring it back to your home the next day.
So below I've got some additional tips provided by readers for how they've implemented some simple strategies to eat their leftovers, and if you have some as well please tell me in the comments.
In addition, in the comments I'd also love to hear how many food storage containers you had to empty as part of this mission.Top photo courtesy of Kathleen Franklin
Keep A Simple List Of Leftovers Available On The Fridge
I got this tip from a reader, Susan, recently. It is so absolutely simple, but simple tips that work are the absolute best!
She sad, "I'm finding it helps to keep a list on the fridge of what leftovers, veggies, etc. need to get used up. Leftovers aren't getting lost in the back of the fridge as much."
If you don't want to use a piece of paper like I used for the illustration above, another great idea would be to use a little magnetic wipe board that you keep on the fridge where everyone can write the leftovers available, and just mark them off, or erase those words when they've been used up.
***Update: So many people asked me for a printable to keep track of your leftovers that I finally created one for you. You can grab your copy here
! ***End Update
Label Leftover Containers So You Know What Is Available To Eat
I already shared above telling people what is available to eat as leftovers is one of the best ways to actually make sure someone in your household eats them.
One way to do this is to label what is inside the containers, along with the date it was cooked.
But sometimes labeling can be hard. There are a lot of methods for labeling, but when I received this tip from a reader, Sandy, I just knew I needed to share it. It certainly isn't the only way you can label containers, but I thought it was both a good idea and easy.
I found a wonderful way to label leftovers.
I was looking at the store for some freezer tape to use but never found any, but I was over in the canning section and I saw some Ball dissolvable labels for canning jars.
I was skeptical at how dissolvable they actually were since I was going to be using them on plastic bowls and lids, but I was more than pleasantly surprised at how easy they did dissolve under running water with no effort.
So now I have leftovers in various bowls with names and dates of when I cooked them, and no longer wonder how long it has been sitting in there.
I have not tried them in the freezer yet, but I would not think it would be any different.
Are You Ready To Declutter Your Home?
I hope this decluttering mission has inspired you to get your refrigerator cleared out. If it has, you can check out the Organizing Refrigerator & Freezer Challenge
which gives even more hints and tips for getting these appliances in your home in order.
In addition, when you begin to declutter the feeling you get is contagious, so if you're loving the results you're getting I would encourage you to keep going.
I've got a whole series of 15 minute decluttering missions
(eventually 365 of them!) that you can do.
Just pick and choose the ones you want to do, that will make a big impact in your home. But if you want someone else to tell you the order you can also grab the 15 minute daily decluttering mission calendars
and follow along as we all get our homes clutter free together!
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