Below: Discover the simple kitchen hack that saves my family both money and food waste!
He stands in front of the open refrigerator, surveying the contents inside. After a moment, he reaches in, pulls out a Rubbermaid container, cracks the lid open, and does the sniff test.
“When did we have stir fry?” he asks.
I roll his question over in my mind. Yesterday we had… chicken? Wait, no. Yesterday was soccer night. We had leftover pasta and meat sauce. Was the stir fry from three nights ago? Or was it four?
Finally I give him an answer as inconclusive as the sniff test.
“I can’t remember. I wouldn’t eat it if I were you, just to be safe.” Then I add my food safety motto for emphasis, “When in doubt, throw it out!”
This post contains affiliate links.
One Simple Kitchen Hack to Save You Money and Food Waste
Have you ever had a similar conversation in your home? Unfortunately, it happens all too often at our house. And as much as I refuse to take a chance on questionable food in the fridge, I really hate to waste it. It’s like chucking dollar bills right into the trash.
Recently though I found the solution.
I don’t even know why I thought of it. I was cleaning up after dinner, just like I always do. I put the leftovers into a container, tightened the lid, and opened the refrigerator door to put them in. But before I placed them on a shelf, I glanced to my left.
Our family command center is on the wall there and the dry erase marker I use on our calendar caught my eye. I grabbed it, wrote the date on the container, then popped it in the fridge.
It was that simple.
From that point on, every time we’ve had leftovers, I’ve taken two extra seconds while putting them away to write the date on the container.
There’s no more question about when we had a certain meal. There’s no more wondering if the food my husband just took a chance on is going to come back to haunt him later in the night. There’s no more waste.
Okay, maybe that last one is a bit of an exaggeration. There are still some food items that get left a little too long and we end up throwing them away, but the percentage of those has decreased greatly since I started this system.
Now when I look in the fridge, I know what needs to be finished and can plan our dinners (or lunches!) accordingly. And once the leftovers have been used, all it takes is one swipe of a thumb to erase the date before tossing the container in the dishwasher.
Don’t you love when the simplest hacks also save you money? Less food waste = less money waste. I’ve never been a big fan of math, but I like that equation!