For as long as I could remember, I could hear my mother reciting, “everything has a place” when it came to cleaning and creating storage in my room. I always found this cliché motto as an excuse to organize my belongings and, as a way, keep things tight. Flash forward to the present, I hate to admit it, but this motto is more accurate than ever. Finding the right place for everything is more critical now than ever and defiantly applies when it comes to storing food. A key benefit of having flexible food storage containers is ditching the buffet lines in the cafeteria for a VIP spot at Café de Mom, better known as my mother’s homemade cooking.
From the homemade spaghetti and meatballs to penne ala vodka, the fantastic creations are far too amazing to just eat for one night. Plus, with grocery stores still lacking some basic grocery necessities, it is essential to clean out your fridge to make the food last. This task may be a challenge; however, I plan on letting you in on some useful and savvy food storage hacks, ensuring that your food stays fresh and that you have plenty of room to stock up. In times like these, maximizing your space is more critical than ever.
So, head into the kitchen and open your cabinets, because ladies and gentlemen we are about to dive in. And if you like what you see, feel free to share your food storage hacks with us on social media by using the #SharpHome on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. We would love to know how you manage your space.
The Perfect Pantry
Many times, I have tried to make my pantry look like a grocery store that has been freshly stocked, but without proper organization and storage techniques, it falls short. Because of this shortfall, I need to regularly clean and keep the shelves tidy. During the pandemic, I decided that it was time to give it the proper time and attention and get a little thrifty.
A huge misconception among many is that it costs money to organize, and for an extended period, I thought the same way. It was not until I came across a piece from “The Krazy Coupon Lady“ and realized that the idea was just an excuse not to get to the bottom of things.
Throughout the article, there were many different solutions on how to maximize space, while spending little to no money. The first thing that I saw was the concept of taking magazine holders and converting them into storage for onions and potatoes. When it comes to organization, gravity is not my best friend, so I needed to get creative. Simply pick up a few mesh magazine holders from your local office-supply retailer and find shelf space in your pantry. Next, stack up the foods on top of one another, labeling which one is which.
Another pantry hack mentioned in the article was using old pant hangers (the ones with clips) to hang open bags of chips. I don’t know about you, but my closet is filled with old hangers. All you need to do is find a space to hang the bag of chips and use the clips to secure the bag. In addition to storage, an added benefit is keeping your chips secure and making sure they stay closed, ensuring they do not go stale. A double win!
Both concepts emphasize the importance of vertical storage and how to take advantage of the space that you have.
Chalk Board Freezer
When many think of food storage, they commonly think of just ideas in the kitchen. However, many families, including mine, have a chest freezer in either another room or their garage.
If you are fortunate enough to have one, it serves as some great extra storage. However, if it is filled up, it may be hard to see since they are typically on the ground with access from the top. Luckily, while searching through the web, I found a neat organization hack from “Stuff Parents Need,” calling for a chalk top with listings of all the food divided in each section of the freezer.
All you need to do is go online and buy a giant chalk sheet. Feel free to pick up some chalk and an eraser if you do not have them already. Make sure to measure your freezer beforehand to get a good understanding, making sure it is big enough to serve its purpose. Grab scissors as you may need to customize it to the size of your freezer. Place it on top and mimic lines representing the different sections of the freezer. At that point, you can write with chalk whenever you add something new and simply erase when you take something out.
The benefits? You no longer must bend down and rummage through all the different sections looking to see if you have a particular item. Having an updated chalk sheet will allow you to check and show you where something is easily. Also, you will be conserving energy as you will not be letting out as much cold air. Another added benefit the author mentions is that once the chalk sheet is being used, it may discourage you, other members of the house, and guests from placing things on top of it. Overall, increasing accessibility.
If you are a lot like me, I enjoy starting each morning with a bowl of cereal. Cereal is one of my all-time favorite foods, and there are times that I eat multiple bowls throughout different times a day. Being in a house with four other people, it was common that people would eat out of the same cereal box and would leave the bag open. This resulted in me visiting the bag the next morning, with all the cereal being stale, therefore wasted. While I do admit, this got my blood boiling a few times more than it should have, I knew there had to be a solution.
Searching throughout the internet, I stumbled upon an article from “The Kitchen Professor“ and found a fantastic solution. It turns out that many storage and container companies offer an air-tight storage container explicitly designed for cereal. All you need to do is simply head on over to your local big box or favorite online retailer and order a few, one for each type of cereal. Then clean them out after purchasing them, open your box of cereal and place the bag of cereal in the new container.
From personal experience, I have never faced the problem of stale cereal after using these types of containers. I even bought a few containers to bring to college with me. When living in a dorm setting, let’s just say keeping food for an extended period is critical, especially when you are balling on a budget!
If you lack cabinet space, don’t fret. Many containers come with modern and sleek designs causing them to be a design staple in the kitchen. Not only will your cereal stay fresh and last longer, however, but this practice may also allow you to clear up some more cabinet space you were lacking. Score!
I come from a lifestyle where going out to eat was an everyday custom, due to my on-the-go lifestyle. So, when I moved back home to quarantine, and going out to restaurants became impossible, eating at home and cooking every meal became my new habit. In the last few months, I have had to throw out and dispose of food due to not realizing it’s there, or simply forgetting about it. This is due to having a disorganized refrigerator with clutter all over the place. Bags stacked upon leftovers; it can be discouraging to go in there.
When you are not experienced in preparing meals for the entire week, keeping your refrigerator organized can be overwhelming. After I saw this amazing organization tip from “One Crazy House,” I am not sure how I functioned before it. The idea of placing bins into your fridge and freezer to organize all your perishable is a great way to maximize vertical storage. Head over to your local dollar store or ever check the back of your pantry (who knows what you will find back there) and look for small plastic bins.
Simply place the bins throughout the shelf and categorize each of them. You could include labels such as “veggies” where you can store items like corn and broccoli. The bin concept allows you to take them out and go through each food item. By following this practice, you will have much easier access to all your items and may not overlook foods you may have before. Also, this may allow you to categorize bins by expiration date, making sure that little food goes to waste.
Overall, this project will take you less than 30 minutes to complete but will go a long way. I know what I am going to do as soon as I get up from writing. You guessed it!
I sure do hope you find some of these tips useful and that you can apply them to improve your lifestyle. Let us know your favorite on social by using the hashtags #SharpHome #SharpStayAtHome.