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FOOD WASTE.  While we obsess over the latest food trends, restaurant openings and anti-diet ad campaigns, there are 870 million hungry people wondering where their next meal will come from.  On average, Americans waste 20 pounds of food per month per person.  We HAVE to do better.

How can we reverse this trend and make a social, environmental and economical impact?  Adopting a minimalist lifestyle has forever changed my consumption habits and provided space to focus on issues I’m passionate about.  In this four part blog series, I’ll discuss how I’ve created a more sustainable kitchen, reduced food waste, saved money and positively impacted the globe. BONUS-you’ll definitely eat healthier as well!

This week, we’ll tackle kitchen organization and inventory, possibly THE most important aspects of food waste prevention and money loss.  I’ve worked in the restaurant industry and a commercial kitchen would NEVER purchase food supplies without first taking note of every single item in storage.

My kitchen is far from perfect and I’m a constant work in progress.  We can all relate to mining the pantry for a needed ingredient and instead surfacing with a barely used bag of organic, gluten free oat flour from 2015. Gluten free pancakes aren’t my style anyway. All that to show you a before picture of my gloriously, disheveled pantry pre-organization.  This was real life-YIKES.

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Don’t panic and dump the contents of your entire fridge, freezer and pantry just yet. Start slowly, one shelf at a time if needed.  Toss out any expired items and donate any non-perishable foods  you’ll unlikely use to a local food pantry.  I’m so obviously not an organized individual by nature, but once it’s finally done the system is fail proof. And the after:

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I know exactly what I have on hand, which allows effective meal planning and proper stock utilization.  When I’m done with an item, it easily returns to its place on the shelf. The same holds true for my ‘catch all’ drawer and refrigerator.

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The Everything drawer from Amazon.com: http://a.co/cAdWFWI

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I’ve saved approximately 30.00 per week since organizing and tracking food inventory, equaling roughly $1,500.00 a year. Less than 2 pounds of food per month end up being tossed, a feat unheard of in my household only a year ago.

There’s no better time than TODAY to start organizing your kitchen and utilizing what’s on hand for weekly meal planning.  Every tiny step taken progresses the global  sustainability movement, and THAT’S how we make change.

For part two next week, we’ll shift to more sustainable eating and grocery shopping.  In the meantime, drop a comment if you have any kitchen organization tips to share!


The Sustainable Kitchen Series: Part One


March 20, 2017


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  1. Bellewood Cottage

    March 20th, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Love this series already! I get sooo frustrated when we have to throw away food, so I agree that taking inventory is so important! I try to be proactive too about getting leftovers in the freezer right away if I know we won’t get to them before they go bad.

  2. Erin Hendrickson, The Minimalist RD

    March 20th, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    Thanks so much for reading! I’d love to eventually have a zero waste kitchen! My problem is freezing leftovers and then forgetting about them 🙁

  3. Erika

    March 20th, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    As I’ve been working on the Contentment Challenge this year, I’ve also started to be more zero waste. We don’t live near a bulk store, but I have figured out a few ways here and there to trim the waste. I’d love for you to check out my post on them too! Can’t wait for your next post in this series…an I wish my pantry was as neat!

  4. Erin Hendrickson, The Minimalist RD

    March 20th, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    Hey Erika! Thanks so much for reading! That sounds like a fabulous challenge-I’ll definitely check out your post! Organizing the pantry was many months in the making when it finally happened!

  5. I tripped over a stone.

    March 21st, 2017 at 8:54 am

    You are a brave soul! Minimalist or not! The pantry. I should have scary music playing every time I open the door! Things jump out at you when I open my pantry door. But I will do it! I will overcome! This week I over ordered apples, oranges and pineapple, (double ordered) and it is just my hubby and I… any ideas??? ~Kim

  6. Erin Hendrickson, The Minimalist RD

    March 27th, 2017 at 11:02 am

    Haha! That’s how I felt for sure! How did you end up using the fruit? I love pineapple for everything-smoothies, in salsa, for breakfast, homemade teriyaki sauce and stir fry! If you haven’t used it, chop it up and put it in the freezer.

  7. I tripped over a stone.

    March 27th, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    The apples are maintaining… Pink Lady apples taste like a special candy so using those as an after dinner and/or late afternoon treat… almost gone. Oranges into OJ. Been a treat as I never drink the pre-made stuff, too much sugar. Pinapple, LOVED pineapple until now… just a bit much! Definitely chopping and freezing for next stir fry! Thanks for the tip, had no idea pineapple would freeze well. AND my pantry continues to grown at me in passing so as I gear up and gain strength (maybe have an exorcism of sorts) this will be done! Soon. Really…

  8. abbey sharp

    March 25th, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Love this!! I love having everything organized, especially in the kitchen! Not only does it help decrease food waste, but I can clearly see what I still have/ need to eat and make it a priority to do so before it goes bad!

  9. Erin Hendrickson, The Minimalist RD

    March 27th, 2017 at 11:04 am

    Yes!!! Lately organization has been my stress relief and I love the calmness of our kitchen space now!

  10. EatRealLiveWell

    March 25th, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    Wonderful that you are equating food waste to $$$ here! I often just discuss it as an environmental issue, but saving money speaks to everyone. Great post!

  11. Erin Hendrickson, The Minimalist RD

    March 27th, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Thank you! It definitely impacts the environment and the economy!

  12. @EatRightMama

    March 26th, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    We try hard to avoid food waste–but unfortunately it still happens. Organizing is key and you’ve done a great job of showing how to do it!! I’ll be sharing with my readers!

  13. Erin Hendrickson, The Minimalist RD

    March 27th, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Thank you!

  14. The Sustainable Kitchen Series-Part Two | Minimalist RD

    March 27th, 2017 at 7:01 am

    […] back to the sustainable kitchen series! In part one, we covered the importance of inventory and organization to reduce food waste, save money and […]

  15. Katie Cavuto

    March 27th, 2017 at 10:56 am

    LOVE everything about this!!

  16. Erin Hendrickson, The Minimalist RD

    March 27th, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Thank you!

  17. Denise Barratt

    March 27th, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    I am glad that I am not the only person that sometimes gets “organized pantry challenged”!

  18. Shannon @ KISS in the Kitchen

    March 27th, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Loving this series already, can’t wait to see more of these posts!

  19. Erin Hendrickson, The Minimalist RD

    March 27th, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Thanks for checking it out Shannon!

  20. Stacey Mattinson

    March 27th, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    Okay – this is amazing!! Can you come to my kitchen?! Love these sustainable living tips.

  21. Katie Pfeffer-Scanlan

    March 27th, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    This is such a helpful article! Spring cleaning here I come!

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