Dealing with the matter of Food Waste – Part 2…

The Big De-clutter

A good place to begin de-cluttering is in my cupboards and yesterday I came across the challenge at Carla’s blog – My Half Dozen Daily – so I thought I would join in with this to keep me focused.

My aim here is to clear out and clean my food cupboards and pull out anything that is way past its use by date or needs to be eaten soon and hopefully have a bit of a stock take. From this I can then plan my weeks menu and produce a limited shopping list.

So what did I find in my cupboards…

Dry Foods

I have quite a quantity of dry foods – more dried Parsley than I could use in a year – but hey I’ll find a way to use it.  The Oatmeal is 2 years out of date (I only buy it for Face packs) but I think this is a thrower.  Lots of Pudding Rice and Ground Rice so I can see lots of puddings coming up.

The use up items

After going through every cupboard I am left with these items to use urgently –

A jar of Stem Ginger – maybe I’ll make Ginger biscuits or a cake

A pack of Mini Baileys – bought for my mum so maybe I will give her these

A packet mix of Sosmix – definitely Sausages this week

A packet of Sage and Onion Stuffing – this will go with a Nut Roast

A tin of Light Condensed Milk – bought by mistake, I thought it was just evaporated milk – maybe I will make some Fudge?

A packet of Oatbran- this was a freebie so I think it might become a Face Pack

A jar of Bon Maman Cherry Compote – one of my favourite for a quick crumble

2 Christmas Puddings – we have 2 Christmas puddings both from last year when I found the one I had already bought would not be big enough for the number of people and so bought another and then forgot completely to put them on to steam (LOL). As I do not have a microwave we decided to leave them until this year only as you know we didn’t have a traditional Christmas dinner, we could hardly steam it for 2 hours on the camping stove!!.

One expired in August 2012 and one will expire in April 2013 so neither will keep until next year – so the Jury is out on what to do with these.   My vote would be to eat the older one and give the fresher to my daughter.

Items for work

I have some foods that I can give away and take to work.  The soup is definitely going!  No more Cup-a-soup for me.

Christmas Goodies

We acquired a lot of tins of food at Christmas mostly given to us as presents  – one of crackers, one shortbread and one a biscuit selection.  I think the two of us will take most of the year to wade through this and when I begin my Weight reduction again in earnest I think that I may have to take some of it into work – anything you put on the table outside the kitchen is always devoured very quickly!

The Waste

Kitchen Cupboards Waste

So this was the bag of waste – it looks worse than it is because I didn’t squash some of the wrappings down like the preformed plastic trays that held the crackers and are not recyclable.  I also added the general waste from the kitchen bin in here as well.

Recyclable Rubbish

This is the recyclable waste

Recyclable Rubbish 2

and a bit more…

The End Result

Store Cupboard

… and now my cupboards are in order or at least my order! On the top shelf jars of tomatoes, passata, pasta bake (for emergencies) oils, olives, and fruit compote.

Store Cupboard 2

…and a stock of beans and lentils, fruit and evaporated milk on the bottom.  The cereal also stands in here.

  Condiments cupboard

This cupboard holds the stock and gravy powder and condiments, drinks, herbal tea bags, marmalade, sauce, mango chutney for curry and Balsamic vinegar.  And my supplements.

Dry Foods cupboard

Various Pasta, flours, rice and  crackers / oatcakes.

Baking Cupboard

My baking cupboard full of nuts, dried fruit, sugars, treacle and chocolate…if only I had more time!

Now the cupboards have been sorted I will do the freezer then we will attempt to live completely from what is left hopefully until the end of January only buying fresh fruit and veg as required and any basics we need to replenish. The finished result certainly looks a lot leaner but I do like to be able to see what we have easily and in actual fact there is a fair amount of food here – together with the freezer items it will be interesting to see how many meals I can rustle up from just shopping in my cupboards.

Fresh produce

The left over fresh produce to eat up this week – looks like a Bean Stew then!

The Question of Restocking

– where I go from here – I am torn over the question of stocking up.

I like to keep things in hand and I always make use of the offers where prudent to do so with foods we eat often however ‘reducing’ means I will have to carefully select what I do keep stocks of in any quantity.

The list below is of selected basic items that I will always keep one in hand and more if there is an offer


  •  Coffee
  • Tea
  • Cereal
  • Butter
  • Bread
  • Penne Pasta
  • Brown Rice
  • Lentils and Beans
  • Passata
  • Jam / marmalade
  • Stock cubes or powder
  • Milk

 Everything else will only be bought as one runs out.

 My fear of not having well stocked cupboards might be if there is some kind of disaster (natural or otherwise) a heavy snowfall where we are cut off for days or a terrorist attack – I know in America people are encouraged to have a stockpile just in case.  Would a dozen tins of Baked Beans with a long use by date hidden in the loft be enough?  I suppose we could keep going on the three tins of biscuits and crackers!!

Panic aside I have got to take my aim to Reduce seriously.  I know we can live with a lot less both my Grandmas did they didn’t have a kitchen full of floor to ceiling cupboards they had one of those dressers with a flop down door in the middle that became a work surface.  It stored all the basics and without a fridge they shopped every day.

Working opposite a Sainsbury’s in town I could shop each day for fresh items and I would then shop once a month for the basics.  I haven’t quite decided on my new shopping pattern yet but will keep you posted on this one.

On the financial front I withdrew £10 this week on Monday and gave £5 to my ‘homeless’ friend in the subway who I have seen every morning for the past four months.  I am delighted that at last a flat has been found for him so instead of the usual £1 I gave him £5 as a ‘house warming present.  I sincerely wish him well I know he is so thankful and excited to have his own kitchen and bathroom – but I will be sad not to see him on my way to work.  He was always so cheerful even though he had nothing.  I also spent 85pence on some dried Rosemary for when I do Roast potatoes. So I have £4.15 left.

Tonight I bought organic carrots £1.30 and a Birthday card £1.99 for my niece – but I used a £9 Sainsbury’s gift card and have £5.71 left on that.  I managed to bypass the magazines – I hope I can resist the urge.  My dear husband bought me a subscription to Country Living magazine for Christmas so I will try not to buy Country Homes as well.



7 thoughts on “Dealing with the matter of Food Waste – Part 2…

  1. Sarah

    Your cupboards look so well organised. My food cupboard is so deep that it is difficult to find things, how I long for a larder with thin shelves like my mother had! Using those plastic containers looks as if it saves lots of space.
    Sarah x

  2. ournewlifeinthecountry

    What lovely neat and tidy cupboards, and I love that you have everything neatly labelled…..although I would have thrown none of that food away. NO food gets thrown in this house, even when out of date it is usually usable 🙂

    It is so much easier to menu plan when you can see all your food at a glance like that and I can see the benefit of only having one spare of each of the necessities, although I prefer to have a three month supply of things like coffee, teabags, oats, rice and pasta.

    I am doing something very similar to you but obviously in larger stockpile quantities, for example I have a years supply of bread flours and yeast, so will not have to buy any more this year. Fingers crossed for another offer just before Christmas to stock me up for 2014!

    Also your recyclables, not much of this would have ended up in ours, the boxes would have been flattened and cut up, the larger parts used for shopping lists, notes etc, the rest used to start the fire, the plastic bottles (water and milk) used for cloches/scoops in the garden, the jar used for storage, the kitchen roll tube used to make 4 starter pots for seeds and the small water bottle re-used and re-used on days out being refilled from a larger bottle. I guess this is why we only have half a recycling box each fortnight and only one black big bag per fortnight for our binmen to pick up, we’re mean with what we give away…lol.

    I am already loving following your journey and you have only just begun.

    1. wherethejourneytakesme Post author

      Now I feel quite wasteful reading your comments but read on I can promise you not much food went to waste in that black bag I should have squashed it down before I took the photo LOL! It was mainly non-recyclable packaging- like those inside brown plastic containers that protect crackers and biscuits in the big tins – though I have no doubt they also would have been useful as seed trays! Cellophane wrappings were in the bag too and that is always a problem I reuse any I can when making my own gifts.
      On the recycle front I already have a large store of cardboard tubes, cloches and Jam Jars so I am having to send them for recycle at the moment as I am out of room – I perhaps need to de-clutter the recyling!! We are lucky to have a plastic recycle centre here and a Tetra-pack recycle point too. I use a small glass water bottle to refill for journeys so don’t really use the plastic ones. In fact we have filtered water so I never buy bottled usually only for our cottage weekends to drink and I recycle them here. I would normally put most of the cardboard on the compost but it is quite full at the moment and not composting as quickly with the cooler weather. My idea would be to try to buy foods without so much packaging – years ago when we lived on a terraced street we formed a food co-op together and two people each quarter went across to Leeds to Suma wholefoods and bought large quantities of flour, honey, cheese, nuts etc. Then we all got together that evening for a drink and to weigh out our quantity ordered. It became quite a social night too and that way of buying really cuts down on packaging.
      However keep the ideas coming I will take any on-board that I can.


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