Thursday, January 29, 2009

Shelf Life

Last month I started going through my cabinets and writing the expiration date on the front of everything. At the same time I went through and threw out all the stuff that was way past due. The stuff that was a little past or that was coming up, I decided to put on the lowest shelf so that I could see it and know that I needed to make plans to use it.

Now that I have all the stuff in my kitchen cabinets and pantry marked, after I come home from the super market I just have my Sharpie in hand and write the date on it before I put it away. It doesn’t take that much time, and it helps with making sure that I put the newer stuff in back so that I use the older stuff first. It is saving me on being wasteful, which I just can’t stand.

If I see something that is going to be expiring next month when I am putting the groceries away, I go ahead and pull it down to the lower shelf to use. It’s that simple! I actually ended up throwing out about a grocery bag full of stuff. A lot more than I expected and it killed me.

I have also done this on things that aren’t food. It’s hard to remember sometimes that things like toothpaste and deodorant expire, but they do. I hate looking on the packages for the small print that they use for the expiration date, especially if I have to look at the five different tubes of toothpaste in my drawer. Marking over the counter medicines would be a good idea to. I’m usually pretty diligent about checking that, but I might have to work my Sharpie magic in the medicine drawer next.

I am so excited about starting this, because I know that it will cute down on waste and save me the time of checking to make sure that I am using my groceries and toiletries in the most efficient way.

Please let me know if you do something like this too, or if you have any other ideas. Or if you are thinking about starting something like this!

Also, here are some helpful sites about understand the product date terminology or

Real Simple: Surprising Expiration Dates

WebMd: Do Food Expiration Dates Really Matter?

Consumer Reports: The dating game

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