Reducing waste, one organized cupboard at a time

On this past holiday Monday, in an effort to keep my mind off of certain things that  happened to me over the weekend, I decided I was going to clean out the pantry, or food closet as we call it at my house.  Now, about 76 seconds after I started pulling things out, I thought I was making a mistake, as I knew that what I originally thought would be a 30 minute job quickly turned into 90 minutes, a whole bunch of effort, and more than a couple of curse words.  It was also a bit of an eye opener.

Now, over the past couple of years I have become more and more aware of the idea of reducing waste.  I’m not about to turn into a “tree hugger” or whatever term you want to coin for it, but I try to concentrate on the little things.  Making sure lights are off when they don’t have to be on, turning my computer off when I’m not at home, recycling more and more, and using reusable bags whenever possible instead of relying on the plastic shopping bags.  Little things like that that don’t make a huge difference on their own, but have a cumulative effect.  One of the last places I thought of to look was the pantry at home, but after cleaning out the pantry, that is definitely one thing I know I’ll be paying more attention to.

Now, I don’t know how many people have a decently sized pantry or food closet, and if it’s kept well stocked or not.  But ours was a mess.  There were a fair amount of items in there, from soups to pastas to snacks to baking goods to seasonings to juices, and even a few more random things.  The problem was, was that it was such a mess that you couldn’t find anything.  When pulling everything out I noticed there were things in there I did not even know we had, or 2-3 copies of the exact same item, when we only needed one.  There were also a few things there that were past the expiry date and had to be thrown out.  Needless to say that cleaning out the food closet made me really think about how we use it.

How many people have a pantry that they don’t even know what is in it?  Because of that, how many times do you re-buy something because you don’t know you have it?  How many times do you look into it, and think there’s nothing there to make for dinner, because you just simply don’t know what is in there?  We do that, and I think that in keeping the pantry more organized, and paying attention to it, not only will food costs be reduced, but there will be less waste, and more efficiency, and that is always my goal.