by Susan McCarthy
Everyday practice: Schedule regular time to sort through your refrigerator and pantry so food doesn't go to waste.
Your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry are some of the most straightforward locations in your home to declutter and organize. So, why might you avoid decluttering these areas? You may find yourself facing good intentions that fell to the wayside – food for the diet you were going to follow, the healthier meals you were going to prepare, the attempts to be more adventuresome.
And, while many other items around the house may tempt us into saying, “I might use this,” food has an expiration date that prevents us from holding onto it indefinitely. So, how can you psychologically deal with the embarrassment or disappointment of purchases that end up in the trash?
Instead of flipping the item into a trash bag as quickly as you can so to hide the evidence, hold the item for a moment and consider what you got from making this purchase. Was it the thrill of finding a bargain? Was it the feeling that you were making positive changes in your diet? You got that feeling by buying the items, not using them; so, in a way, the items served a purpose.
That thought probably doesn’t improve the frustration you feel from wasting money or resources by buying food that you didn’t eat. Use this knowledge. In the future, allow yourself no more than a single new- or unusual-for-you food item a week and make yourself use the item within a week (before it has a chance to slide to the back of the pantry).
How to Clean and Organize Your Refrigerator, Freezer, Pantry, or Spice Rack
Before you start, you’ll want a few things on hand. Grab a cleanser and cleaning cloths. Have a trash barrel (and a back-up trash bag) handy. If you wear reading glasses, have them or a magnifying glass on hand so you can see expiration dates.
Note what types of food you threw away. If fresh fruit and vegetables spoil before they get used, consider purchasing frozen fruits and vegetables, purchasing smaller quantities, or only buying these items when you’ve planned a meal.
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Susan, chief (and only) organized squirrel at A Less Cluttered Life, loves learning and sharing information about organizing, productivity, and habits. She also likes reading young adult novels, crocheting, and spending time with her cat and husband in their riverside home in Massachusetts.