It's interesting how we can get so caught up in the hoopla of purging that we sometimes don't totally get the reality.
And that's in a good way this time.
I was so up and ready for the 40 Bags in 40 Days project that I totally set to doing it. I was going to whip out a plan and get busy. Only problem is: with having just completed the pantry reorg a few weeks ago, as well as having cleaned up my desk area & work supplies, and doing a major overhaul on my closet back in January, I'm left with only the downstairs desk area, kitchen, linen closet & guestroom closet to clean up and clear out.
Such a great feeling when you discover that you are not as loaded down as you first thought.
So ... to report back on the food storage area clean up I mentioned the other day, which I was able to get that done in about 2-hours, I have the following:
To be honest - our food storage is not very big right now. We have a small set of shelves in the garage that we house all our extra canned goods and such because our kitchen cupboard space is limited.
Here are my 5-Tips for Food Storage Organization:
1) Keep It Clean: twice per year, shelf-by-shelf, I clear everything off & tidy up. Leaks, crumbs, dust happen. Best to clean up leaks & crumbs to prevent bugs & other pests from invading & I like to clean up the dust just to keep it from really building up.
2) Organize by Expiration Date: the common way to organize a food storage is by TYPE of food, but I like to do it by YEAR. Each shelf is year specific and the foods organized then by month & type. Currently, I have 4 shelves: 2014, 2015, 2016/17 (combined) & an 'extras' shelf. The current year is always the 'eye-level' shelf. I rotate the shelves at the beginning of the year so I can take stock of what we have, clean up, and reorganize. The extra shelf is for non-food items such as dish soap, which we buy in bulk at Costco.
3) Label Everything: when I add items to the storage shelves, I make it a point to write (in Sharpie) the expiration month & year on the top AND front of all items. This way, on lower shelves you'll always be able to easily see the expiration date on the top & at eye-level the expiration date is on the front making it easy to ensure using products before they expire.
4) Dry-Erase Board: I keep a dry-erase board hanging on the shelves for notes such as items that are running low or that we have too many of, etc. Helps when creating a list for shopping later on.
5) Close to Expiration Date? Donate!: I do a monthly look-over for items that are nearing their expiration date, that we may not use in time & I donate them. Food banks, soup kitchens, and homes housing families in need will typically take them and use them before they expire. So DONATE! My personal rule is anything expiring in two months goes. This keeps you from throwing out food, keeps things current in your storage, and keeps you doing a little bit to help your community! Win-Win!
Although we try to always use what we have in storage, we dontate to a local home that houses homeless families & I never regret donating the food. This load I was counting as my 1st bag of the 40 Bags project before I realized that I have nowhere near 40-days worth of 'bag projects'.
Now, our food storage shelves are neat & organized & current.
Once we buy the new shelves & reorganize this entire section of our garage ~ complete with new deep freezer ~ things will look much different and I'm really excited for that, but for now, this is quite satisfying!