This so-obvious tip has been a game changer for food management (and waste minimization) in our home...
Clean the fridge!
It sounds like the most obvious, inane, unhelpful piece of advice, right? Wrong. If you clean your fridge once a week, it is a small job with a big impact.
- You know what's in your fridge. Simply, you have a better awareness of what is in there, what needs (or need not) be in there, what is expiring soon, or what (despite best intentions) never seems to get eaten. You can better plan meals & snacks around what is available, maximizing the food you have, while it is fresh & good.
- Throwing away food does not feel good. If you clean out the fridge each week, you come face-to-face with food that is expired or inedible and needs to go in the garbage/compost. For me, I feel horribly guilty & wasteful when I dump leftovers, slimy veggies, or worst of all, meat-I-forgot-to-deal-with-after-the-grocery-store into the garbage. Do this on a frequent enough basis and you will be guilt-ridden inspired into making better use of each item you bring in.
- Clean & clear feels great. Just like principles of capsule wardrobes or KonMarie declutter mania, having white/empty space in the fridge just feels better when you open it. Instead of the overwhelm of fighting through containers and sauces and piles of tortilla packages (or is that just me?), you have a better sense of the whole food project, even at a glance.
Plus, if you're anything like me, it's just nice to have one thing that is reliably clean! Some say shine your sink to feel better about the whole kitchen, and the whole house. For me, it's clean the fridge.