January 7, 2024

How I organise my cupboards, fridge and freezer to save on waste.

One of the things that has had the biggest impact on our food budget has been reducing food waste. I will do a separate post on the ways that I use items that I used to throw in the bin, but another major way I save on waste is that I have organised my storage.  I have an inventory of what I have in my prepper pantry, and what I have in my freezers.  I have also set up a system so that I know where things are, and can find them easily.   Rotating my stock monthly also stops items going out of date, or buying things that I don’t need.  Initially this took time to organise, but it has made life easier, and now saves me time, waste, and therefore money.  Before I started my system I decluttered everything that was out of date, and used it if I could.  Some things in my freezer I knew were totally out of date or had freezer burn, and so to get my system sorted, I had to throw them, which I found hard.  However, by having a system, it has saved me having to throw anything since.


My fridge used to be a real mess.  I used to tuck little things in everywhere and used to forget what was in there.  This led to waste and things becoming spoiled or out of date.  I hate having a full fridge now (as it was over Christmas).  To help organise my fridge I have allocated shelves where I know I will find certain items, and have boxes and container in the fridge to keep things together.  One box is for cheese, one for solid fats or margarines, one for meat I have bought or taken out of the freezer, one has all the bottles of sauce in, and I also have a large box with a lid that I put all the salad stuff  in during the summer (with a piece of paper towelling to stop things going mushy).

My top shelf has savoury jars on one side (eg. home made cooking pastes, salsa or pickles) and sweet jars (eg rosehip syrup and jam) on the other.  All home made chilli sauces are in the door, and everything has a place.  An example is that I know if I make yoghurt and put it in glass jars, that it goes in the middle of the 2nd shelf down and that the box of fats goes on the left of the same shelf.  The cheese box is on the right hand side of the second shelf (including cheese spread).  This system saves me time when finding things and makes it easier to put things away.  I can see at a glance what I have. Every week I try to more or less empty my fridge (except for the jars) and use up all the fridge gravel making soup or a main meal.

How I store things in the fridge to help them last longer

My fridge is the short term solution to storing food,  I only usually put things in the fridge before I need them.  An example of this is that if I get a lot of cheese at a good price I will grate it and freeze it.  The only exception is if it is in wax. Most of my vegetables are stored in the freezer or elsewhere (eg potatoes in a cardboard box in a cool place).  I also pick what I need in summer, or freeze.  I take butter and meat out of the freezer the night before I need it to defrost, and anything else I might need, eg desserts. If I have picked berries to use in the summer I wash them in diluted vinegar and store them in glass jars.  This helps to make them last longer without going mouldy or mushy and I  use in porridge or with yoghurt for the week.  The insides of cereal packets are also great for keeping cabbages, lettuces etc and stop them wilting as quickly.  Broccoli lasts longer if stood in a jug of water.  Some people put cut carrots and other vegetables in a jar of water to make them last longer (but I haven’t tried this).



The way I organise my cupboards is to have a small cupboard for tins and things that I use regularly.  I then have a baking cupboard, and a large cupboard which is my prepper pantry.  Every thing in my baking cupboard is grouped together in boxes or jars.  All the flours are in air tight boxes to stop them getting weevils, the nuts and seeds are all together in bags in an open box (or frozen), the dried fruit also has it’s own box, sprinkles and candles etc have a box so that I do not lose those, etc.  As I do not have enough cupboards, I have a tiered trolley that is full of glass jars with all my dried goods and pulses in, and with oils etc on top.  This is kept in a dark corner in the kitchen and I can wheel it next to me when I am cooking.  This helps me see at a glance what is running out.

All of my preserves are in my prepper pantry, including pasta sauces, jams and chutney. At least once a month I rotate my stock (checking dates) and put things into my small tin cupboard, or I fill empty jars on my trolley. I then make a weekly meal plan out of what needs eating up.  If my prepper pantry is running low on an item, I will put it on my shopping list in order to look out for a good deal before it runs out.  This saves me money as I have plenty of time to look and don’t have to buy at full price just because I need it soon.  I rarely buy things the week that I will eat them, and shop from the cupboards, fridge and freezer.


I have an inventory of my freezer which I keep in a folder on top on my chest freezer.  Everything in the chest freezer is stored in large Aldi bags for life as they are large and nice and strong. This saves me freezer diving head first.  I can just take the bag out and place it on top and look in it standing up.  I have a red one for meat and fish, a yellow one for bread and baking, a blue one for fruit, a green one for vegetables.  This freezer is upstairs in a spare bedroom.  My freezer in my kitchen has drawers and these are separated into fruit in the top drawer, vegetables in the middle drawer and meat and fish in the bottom draw.  I also store left overs and an odd batched meal in the fruit drawer. The food in my kitchen freezer is the oldest and where I take my food from.  I rotate food from my chest freezer into the kitchen freezer, and any new food goes into the chest freezer.  Cakes and ice cream are kept in the chest freezer as it is less accessible and so I am less likely to binge on them! I try to remember to write the date and what something is on items when putting them in the freezer, though I do forget sometimes when in a rush.

Is your kitchen organised so that you can find what you need and save on  waste?  Please pass on any tips that you have.




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  1. Alison Holmes January 8, 2024 at 2:26 pm - Reply

    A really useful article Toni. We have cut back on the amount we buy and consume but I still want to be more organised. This has really helped to give me some useful tips

    • ToniG January 15, 2024 at 8:18 am - Reply

      Thanks. I am glad it helps

  2. Angela Carmody January 8, 2024 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    That’s very useful Toni. I think we are mostly organised as we now have a drawer in the freezers in the kitchen for meat, one for fish, a bread drawer, a drawer for containers of things like curries where we purposely made extra, Bolognese and other extras. A fruit drawer, vegetable drawer and a drawer for keeping small bits of white fish which I cook and freeze in tiny amounts wrapped in tin foil , these are for putting in our dog’s dish as it makes him eat his dry dog food. I also put little bits in there that I don’t want to lose.
    We have a pantry with Tins and packets all in their own lines and in date order, each time one is used it is taken from the front . I keep herbs and spices in 2 racks but also have a section in a cupboard as drying so many last year means there are quite a lot. We have the Brexit cupboard in another room and that gets rotated and restocks the pantry. Our flour lives in the same cupboard as the herbs in a large tin. There is another smaller freezer and that has some frozen milk in it and our home grown food which won’t fit in the other freezer. Oh and chutneys are in a cupboard under the sink. I think we are more organised than I thought. Occasionally, things do have to go into a wrong section but having sections does help with not buying too much of something if you stick to it.

    • ToniG January 15, 2024 at 8:17 am - Reply

      Fantastic. You do sound really organised x

  3. Talis Wilson January 8, 2024 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    Thanking you Toni for sharing this article, I think I’ve finally sorted my freezers out and in more of an order. I’m actually enjoying not going for a big weekly shopping now, I’m definitely saving as I used to keep stocking up on stuff I already have in! So only buy what I actually need from now on. 😍

    • ToniG January 15, 2024 at 8:17 am - Reply

      Brilliant. Yes I agree. I used to love food shopping, but unless I am visiting a little town with some good cheap shops, I don’t enjoy it either x

  4. Katie Naden January 11, 2024 at 7:26 pm - Reply

    Again a brilliant post . I followed your lead re freezer & have a stock sheet for my freezer . That said I haven’t recorded dates stored on items in freezer .
    My store cupboard list needs up dating & rotating so a task for the next couple of weeks.I might introduce putting an elastic band around the tins needing using first as sometimes I find it hard when others have moved stock around in the cupboard that & my brother doesn’t read .
    Thanks for your inspiration . X

    • ToniG January 15, 2024 at 8:14 am - Reply

      That elastic band is a great idea. I am lucky as Mr S rarely goes in the cupboards.

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