Do you ever notice that you end up with things that just tend to sit in your pantry? You keep meaning to use them, and then those items are forgotten. Eventually, items go past their expiration and you have to toss them. I find it really frustrating to throw out food that I have been meaning to use or either completely forgot about – after all, it is throwing out money. And I find it frustrating that my pantry is always bursting with food.
Here is something you can do every month or every few months to reduce your pantry clutter, and save the money that would be lost by tossing expired foods. You may want to pick a time that works, and even write it on your calender – for example, the last week of every other month.
Go through your pantry.
~ If you have the extra time, sort and organize items. This way you don’t end up with so many duplicates. The point of this is not necessarily to do a deep cleaning of your pantry — so if you want to do a quick once over, forget the organizing and just grab a few items you know have been sitting there for a long time that should really get used. Yes, this means those things you have been avoiding using!
~ Choose items that you want to use up/get rid of
~ Check expiration dates and pull your oldest items
~ Toss anything that is expired
~ Collect anything you might want to give away or donate
Come up with a plan.
Take the items that are closest to their expiration dates and create a meal plan.
You may want to make a goal, for example, to use up 1-2 items per week.
Chances are, if it is in your pantry, you’ll need to supplement your recipes with fresh foods. For example, that jar of curry sauce you found at the farmer’s market last summer, or a jar of marinated artichokes – you might need to shop for meat, pasta, or veggies, and so on.
You can also do this with freezer items, especially if you have a deep freezer and foods tend to be forgotten!