Have you Decuttered your fridge lately?

This subject was a special request from a frustrated friend who asked for some simple ways to organise her fridge so she can stop wasting food. Yes, we do need to declutter and organise our fridge and pantry on a regular basis. Here are a few reasons why:

– Most foods have an expiry date and can become unpleasant past this date.

– It can be frustrating when you plan a meal, convinced you have a certain ingredient in the pantry or fridge, only to find you either don’t have it, or it’s expired and turned green!

– Conversely, we can also overbuy if we think we don’t have an item and then find we actually have plenty at the back of the pantry [I helped one client organise her pantry and we found six packets of pasta! She kept thinking she didn’t have any so went out and bought more].

Obviously there are many scenarios around food and our storage mishaps. Better though that we look at some simple ways we can store food in our pantry and fridge to make our lives easier:

1. Storage containers – I believe containers for the fridge, freezer and pantry are a must and there’s a wide variety of these to choose from, including ziplock bags which are also useful. You will want good airtight containers for the pantry to keep your flour and such like sealed and safe from moths. Ideal containers for pantry and fridge/freezer are stackable ones that will sit on top of each other – stick a label on the side though so it’s clear exactly what they contain.

2. Organising the fridge – if you have a decent sized fridge you can categorise your shelves by food type, at least to some extent. This saves time and is a simple and expedient way of organising your fridge. Keep those items with a short shelf life to the front so they are very visible and you get to use them before they die. Remember, what you don’t see you don’t use…

3. Organising the pantry – this is definitely the place where you will want to categorise the multitude of items you store in the pantry. Depending on the size of your pantry, each shelf can have designated food groups; here are my suggestions:

– Cereals, spreads, coffees and teas
– Snacks, quick meals, sauces and gravies
– Pastas, rice and related items, legumes, canned foods
– Baking goods, herbs and spices [and maybe kids’ party ingredients such as cake decorating bits and pieces]
– Vinegars, oils, and maybe wine and spirits
– Pet food, and veges such as potatoes, kumeras and onions can be stored in plastic bins or baskets on the floor of the pantry

These are just a few ideas and hopefully you’ll find them useful. My fridge is pretty easy to organise because it’s not very big, and I do go through my pantry on a fairly regular basis, not only to check for expired foods but also to see what’s at the back of everything else. I’ve sometimes surprised myself to find something stuck behind a group of items that I had completely forgotten I had, a jar of olives comes to mind which I’d bought for a particular recipe and forgot to use.

Even trying out just these simple tips will make your life run smoother when it comes to food preparation and storage. And it’s a pleasure to be able to scan the shelves of fridge and pantry when they are organised and everything is visible.

I wish you a wonderful month ahead as we burrow in for a chilly winter; the perfect time for homemade soups, delicious slow cooked casseroles and hot spicy lemon drinks.

In Joy!

Angella Gilbert

P: 09 410 4166
M: 027 224 8937
E: angella@gioia.net.nz
W: www.gioia.net.nz

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