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Eat Well, Spend Less: Food Storage Tips

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This month’s Eat Well, Spend Less topic is food storage! I shared my tips for an organized pantry earlier this week, and each of the other participating bloggers is sharing their best food storage tips as well.

There are some really good tips here for every size kitchen and situation! I’m especially interested in Tammy’s Costco tips because we’ve been debating signing up for a membership again to take advantage of their awesome produce and meat prices and to do more once-a-month shopping trips instead of buying staples every week like we’re currently doing.

Bulk Storage Solutions

From Tammy @ Tammy’s Recipes:

costco shopping
source: Tammy’s Recipes

I love shopping at Costco! After moving to the Seattle area and living quite close to Costco, I’m really hooked on their quality products, return policy, and competitive pricing. I don’t buy everything at Costco, but I have been doing the vast majority of my grocery shopping at Costco for the past 2+ years.

During this time, our family of 5 (and then 6!) has lived in a 2-bedroom apartment (for 2 years) and now a rental house. While my storage space has significantly increased since our move from the apartment, I don’t really do a lot differently aside from no longer having our master bedroom closet packed full of food buckets.

Here are some of my methods for storing bulk purchases, like the food I buy from Costco:

#1: Avoid clutter or unnecessary things in your kitchen and home.

If your kitchen cupboards, fridge, and freezer are already packed with food, condiments, old food you keep planning to use but never do, and stuff you like but rarely use, then trying to fit bulk food purchases into your kitchen won’t be easy. I really recommend going through your pantry, fridge, and freezer, and eliminating unnecessary items. If something is outdated or no longer good, you can toss it. Otherwise, I like to set things aside in a box or container so I can remember to use them — and making a menu plan that includes those things helps a lot, too!

Read more of Tammy’s tips for storing bulk purchases…

How to Store Pantry Food for Maximum Shelf Life

From Aimee @ Simple Bites:

storing dry foods
source: Simple Bites

We all know the benefits of a well-stocked pantry. It’s essential for menu planning organization, helps maintain a healthy diet full of real foods, and saves you money by allowing you to stock up when food items are on sale.

But if food is not stored properly and is allowed to spoil, where is the value in buying in bulk? None whatsoever. That is why it is important to know how to store pantry food for maximum shelf life.

Waste in the average North American kitchen is at an all-time high. The numbers are shocking. Too much food is being thrown away. Is it coming from your kitchen? If so, you may be eating well, but you are certainly not spending less.

In the theme of our continuing Eat Well, Spend Less series (spearheaded by the whip-smart Jessica) I thought we’d take a look at keeping all those groceries fresh and properly stored, and thus, keep more cash in our pockets.

Contamination = Cash Lost

Food spoilage occurs when:

  • items are poor quality or damaged when purchased
  • items are just plain old as the hills!
  • items are stored incorrectly, allowing for damage to occur

What is damaging our food? Heat. Cold. Air. Light. Moisture. Smells. Critters. Any one of these factors can ruin our hard-earned food, and all can be prevented.

Read all of Aimee’s tips for storing food for maximum shelf life…

How NOT to Organize a Pantry

From Alyssa @ Kingdom First Mom:

source: Kingdom First Mom

The Eat Well, Spend Less series is continuing this month with a discussion on food storage. If you are shopping strategically for food, then storing it well naturally comes next. Have I mentioned that organization is NOT one of my strengths?  Ahem.

My fellow Eat Well, Spend Less bloggers can tell you all about innovative and resourceful ways to store food this week. So I am telling you how NOT to store it. Just keeping it real, m’kay?

Growing up, I never had a pantry. Food was haphazardly stashed in our tiny cupboards just so it would fit. Years of apartment living were also pantry-less. Now I have a glorious pantry, large enough to stand in. I am thankful… but a little lost.

Bigger is not always better.

Read Alyssa’s 10 ways not to organize your pantry (and see her before and after pictures!)…

Limiting Food Storage

From Shaina @ Food for My Family:

storage in a small kitchen
source: Food for My Family

There are six people in our family, which means quite a few hungry mouths on a daily basis. While I’ve talked before about how we love purchasing food in bulk rather than in small, generally more expensive portions, this doesn’t mean we have the ideal, organized pantry space with glass jars stacked on meticulously organized shelves. In fact, it doesn’t mean we have a pantry at all.

Yes, I know I’ve talked about stocking my pantry on multiple occasions. However, in reality, our pantry consists of the everyday cupboards in the kitchen, which already lack in size, and the counter below them that holds my dry containers. I also have a few limited shelving areas in the garage that provide food storage overflow. By limited, I mean one decent cupboard area where I store extra grains.

See how Shaina organizes her food storage and makes purchasing decisions in a small kitchen…

Unusual (Frugal) Storage Solutions

From Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship:

creative food storage
source: Kitchen Stewardship

No one will ever accuse me of being an organizing blogger, that’s for sure. One peek at my cupboards or pantry or basement will assure you of that. However, I get all my food to fit and at least I know where everything is. If I die, no one will know what to eat…but then again, they wouldn’t anyway without me to make a list and check it twice.

This week’s topic, tackled by nine noteworthy ladies, is long-term and bulk food storage. And yes, I was tickled to find that it meshed so perfectly with my already-planned series this month on preparedness.

The main focus isn’t exactly on storing emergency foods, but on spending less on bulk purchases so your family can truly eat well…and then making sure you don’t waste your bulk foods because they were improperly stored or unorganized and got so old you had to pitch them.

While others are meticulously organizing their cupboards and pantries or posting beautiful pictures of their Type A storage systems, I’m taking the alternative route and showing you some ways I use what I have and watch for strange and unusual storage solutions.

See Katie’s unusual and creative storage solutions at Kitchen Stewardship…

Extreme Pantry Makeover

From Katie @ goodLife {eats}:

pantry makeover
source: goodLife {eats}

Well this is a little embarrassing. It seems like I just posted about Organizing A Well Stocked Spice Cabinet not too long ago. And here I am today sharing with you my Extreme Pantry Makeover. What have I done?

Truth is, I go through periods of being really organized in the kitchen and others where I’m too busy to a.) care and b.) deal with it. Or maybe even c.) not motivated.

I wish I could keep an organized kitchen all the time, but it just never happens. The dishes are either done or it’s a total disaster. I can find things in the pantry or I can’t. The kitchen is clean or it’s a nightmare. I think you get the picture. One extreme or the other.

More often than not, the pantry is a jumbled mess. It’s small, not even a full sized door, and certainly not a walk in. And I just have more food than really fits inside it well, “well” being the key word.

Read Katie’s 5 tips for an extreme pantry makeover at goodLife {eats}…

Keep a Tidy Pantry to Save Money

From Jessica @ Life as Mom:

source: Life as Mom

I don’t love my pantry. It’s a awkwardly-built closet, curved around the staircase. The shelves are odd shaped and deep, so deep that things get lost back there. It’s often a jumbling mess.

At the same time, I recognize what a blessing it is to have abundant storage. Having a place to store a small stockpile of dry goods allows me to stock up on things when they are on a great sale, instead of buying them at full price when I want or need them.

While we could do a major overhaul to the physical structure of the pantry, we’ve chosen not to invest that time or money into a home we are renting.

Instead, I have to regularly go through my pantry and tidy it up.

Keeping a tidy pantry is essential to both my sanity and my savings. Let me count the ways.

See pictures of Jessica’s pantry makeover and hear how a tidy pantry saves money and sanity…

Life Without A Deep Freezer

From Carrie @ Denver Bargains

Back when I taught (live) coupon classes, I always got a few gasps when I mentioned I didn’t have a deep freezer.  How can one stock up on good deals without a gigantic freezer?!

Well, I’m here to tell you it’s possible to live life without a deep freezer – and it can almost be a better life, I think!  Here are my tips and suggestions for living life without a deep freezer, and why I think it keeps my family eating healthier.

Full disclosure: in anticipation of someday purchasing a cow, we did purchase a very small deep freezer a few weeks ago!  It’s not even turned on yet, though, so I’m still writing this post from the perspective of not having a deep freezer!

The freezer is an amazing tool for eating well and spending less: it allows you to preserve many fresh, whole foods with very little effort, and it enables you to prepare healthy foods in advance so that they are as convenient as frozen dinners – and much tastier and healthier!

But, it can also be a tool for storing junk food – frozen pizzas, anyone?  Awhile back, I discovered something about myself: when there are frozen pizzas in the house, I magically do not feel like cooking.  I have basically no self control when it comes to food that’s in the house – I can resist in the store, but not once it’s in my house – so when I buy frozen pizzas, we eat them right away.

I realized that by not being able to stock up when frozen pizzas went on sale because we simply didn’t have enough space in the freezer, we were actually eating them less often than we would if I had ten of them stored in a deep freezer!   But, because we have limited freezer space, I have to be much smarter about what I purchase for the freezer, which in turn forces me to be healthier, too!

Read Carrie’s tips for living without a deep freezer at Denver Bargains…

What other tips would you add for organizing your food storage?