Habit 4: Shuffle Your Storage

Keeping your food on the move is a good reminder to eat it.

By shuffling your food storage you can keep on top of what needs eating.

Even if you plan your perishables well, you’ll still have bits and pieces of food at risk of not being used on time.

Shuffling the food in your fridge, fruit bowl, bread tin and cupboards creates a useful reminder of what you need to use up.

When you stack a supermarket shelf, if you put the new food at the back and bring the old food forward, that can work for you at home. The fourth step in this project is about shuffling your storage, and that’s about making better use of the food that you’ve got once you’ve got it in your home. This idea applies to your cupboards, your bread box, and your fruit bowl, but it really is at its best in your fridge because that’s one of the places where a lot of perishable foods gets left and then eventually thrown out without being used. 

A reorganized fridge should be more efficient. The milk and juice have been moved to the side, the vegetables have been moved to the bottom, and the yogurts, cheese, and other meal items have been moved to the top. This will help the family to use the fridge more efficiently and waste less food.

Everything that needs to be eaten in the next two days is on the top shelf of the fridge. There is leftover lasagna, custard, vegetables, hummus, and smoked mackerel. A clever way to make a habit of moving stuff around your fridge is to make sure you move something every time you open the door. Opening the door is the trigger to move something around your fridge, and what one should do is try and get anything that needs to be eaten on to that top shelf so it’s right in my face. If you combine shuffling your storage with being a bit more savvy about your use by date and then being clever with how you store your food (like stopping air getting to bread or wrapping up foods that need it), you can dramatically cut down on your food waste.

We are going to use the fridge to demonstrate a system for moving food around. We have reenacted what the fridge used to look like, before they started being more proactive about how they move their food around. This is how the average fridge used to look, before anything was shuffled around. It looks pretty normal, with milk and juice on the side, vegetables at the bottom, some meal stuff like yogurts and cheese, and then some other food items on the top. We shuffled around the food in the fridge, and it now looks the same, but it has actually changed quite a bit.

Remember even though you’re focusing on food right now, there are other non-food related ways to be less wasteful. In fact, if you’ve done any bit of work on food, take a look at non-food habits to see if there’s any low hanging fruit that will reduce your waste.

Lindsay Wilson
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I founded Shrink That Footprint in November 2012, after a long period of research. For many years I have calculated, studied and worked with carbon footprints, and Shrink That Footprint is that interest come to life.

I have an Economics degree from UCL, have previously worked as an energy efficiency analyst at BNEF and continue to work as a strategy consultant at Maneas.  I have consulted to numerous clients in energy and finance, as well as the World Economic Forum.

When I’m not crunching carbon footprints you’ll often find me helping my two year old son tend to the tomatoes, salad and peppers growing in our upcycled greenhouse.

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