Interesting question, huh? But the ramifications of what I’m about to share may just aid in putting you on the road to more savings. Let’s consider several types of storage that can aid in this endeavour:
In this article, we’ll cover types of food storage. We’ll cover clothing storage in the next article.
Freezing your food
Many articles have been written about sealing your food properly when placing them into storage, but what about accessibility? I saw a Pinterest photo how-to about ensuring you don’t have to thaw out and cook an entire frozen block of meat just to have homemade hamburger patties. That how-to spawned this article.
The first step in managing your frozen food, is solidly related to how you buy it at the store. If you buy large portions of meat that are already frozen, you won’t be able to engage in the money-saving tips mentioned here. Try to buy your meat fresh. Buy it in bulk, but buy it fresh.
Your second step occurs when you get your fresh meat home. Consider just how much meat is necessary at each mealtime, then break up the fresh meat package into meal-sized portions. If you have a family of three, each portion will include enough meat for all three of you at one meal. Carefully wrap each portion so that no meat is exposed and juices stay trapped within the package.
Your third step occurs as you open the door of your freezer. This step is the same whether discussing a deep-freeze, or a little freezer at the top of your fridge. Older purchases must be brought forward and the newer purchases placed in the back. This ensures that meat is eaten within it’s best-by date, or within a reasonable time frame after that. Meat can suffer freezer-burn if left too long, and should be thrown out when that appears. Allowing freezer-burn throws your hard-earned money in the trash. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the idea of throwing my money in the garbage can! If I paid for it, I want it eaten, not wasted. If someone else paid for it, I want it eaten and not wasted.
Canned and boxed goods (see top image) also need care and attention when storing for later access. While it is quite true that canned goods and dry packaged goods last a very long time, it is also true that improper storage can waste them just as much as wasted frozen foods. This is perhaps more true of canned goods than of packaged goods. The danger with canned food in storage, relates to a) what is in the can and b) whether or not the can has been damaged in any way. A dented can should have its contents eaten sooner than later to avoid the contents becoming contaminated and growing such problems as botulism. If the can is bulging, toss it out! The contents have already begun to grow unwanted bacteria and the food is spoiled. If neither of these conditions exist, then the big point to cover when storing these forms of food, is placing newer purchases at the back of the shelf and bringing the older purchases forward.
Bringing older purchases to the front allows the food to be eaten in a timely manner and prevents the food from going past it’s best-before date. Some people are more sensitive to how foods taste following the best-before date than others. If you are the sensitive type, arranging your shelving in this manner will always ensure you are not eating anything that tastes old or stale. For the rest of us who will eat almost anything provided it isn’t growing, managing your dry food storage in this way merely keeps you from tossing out food that could have been eaten before it went bad. Either way, you’re saving money by ensuring you eat food while it is good.
Refrigerated foods follow similar guidelines to the above methods of food storage, with the added concern that refrigerated foods generally have a shorter shelf-life. Their ability to go bad before or after the best-before date will be contingent on how cold the fridge is, how often it’s accessed in hot climates, and whether or not it gets pushed to the back and forgotten. Some fridges come with shelving systems that allow for greater organization than others. For those that have little to no shelving assistance, you are the one required to remember why you placed something where you did, and keep it there. Educating the household on the importance of this is crucial!
Older foods should be near the front while newer foods should be near the back. The only time this won’t be true is if the back of your fridge tends to freeze things. Your point of organization then will stop around the middle of the shelf instead of going all the way back for leafy items, vegetables, fruit, etc. Breads, cheeses, and other items that can handle accidental freezing can be placed near the back of such fridges.
The goal of organizing your fridge in this manner is again, to save money and not throw it in the trash can or compost heap. Taking care to only buy enough perishables to last till the next grocery run also avoids unnecessary spoilage. Plan your grocery trips so that you aren’t overstocking or understocking your fridge.
The concept of saving money by proper organization extends beyond food to other areas of the home as well. Take clothing as yet another example. We’ll cover that in our next article.