|Faith in Action Volunteers, Dexter, Michigan|
Waste of any kind bothers me, but I am particularly sensitive with regard to food waste. Perhaps this comes as a result of my rural upbringing, the fact that both my parents were raised on farms or that my oldest brother is a farmer. Farm life isn't easy and farmers work really hard to put food on our tables.
I have been working with clients in kitchens lately. Since founding Simply Organized Life in 2005, on average, a kitchen organization results in about four garbage bags of waste. This makes everyone feel bad. I am not there to judge, but to help clients move forward in a positive way. We cannot change our past, but we can change our future.
Here are some simple tips to avoid food waste in your kitchen:
1) Buy only what you need between shopping trips. This means that if you go to the grocery store once a week, buy only what you need for the upcoming week. If you are not sure what you use in a week, a simple way to track your usage is to write the date you open an item on the container. For example: Upon opening up a box of cereal, mark the date on the box and see how long it lasts.
2) Resist the urge to stock up on sales. This is where folks get into trouble. Something might be a great deal, but if it ends up spoiled or expired, it really is not a savings in the long run. Stocking up can also create clutter, making it difficult to see what we have in our pantries or refrigerators.
3) Keep an eye on what you have. Take five minutes once or twice a week to scan your refrigerator for things that need to be eaten up before they go bad. Scan your pantry or food storage area about once a month. Most non-perishable foods have expiration dates printed somewhere on the package.
4) Donate excess. Perhaps you shopped hungry, or just could not resist some sales at the supermarket or warehouse club. It is okay. Remember, we only look forward, not back. In the Ann Arbor, Michigan area we have wonderful resources for helping those in need of food. In Ann Arbor, donate excess food to Food Gatherers. Residents of Dexter or Chelsea can donate to Faith in Action.
These tips will help keep your kitchen clutter free and save lots of money for your family.