WFMW Backwards Day: Organizing food

A few weeks ago, my husband found a can of mushrooms to put in the spaghetti he was making for dinner. The problem? The mushrooms were expired.

Very expired.


At the top of the can?

On the right?

That’s December 1988. Just over 19 years ago.


So how do you organize your food to prevent things like canned mushrooms from languishing in the cabinet for 19 years?

To ask for helpful hints for the things that have you stumped… and to offer hints to some other stumped folks, head on over to Rocks in My Dryer. Have fun!

8 thoughts on “WFMW Backwards Day: Organizing food

  1. Laura

    1988? That is soooo funny! (hey keep it, it’ll be great the next time you need a white elephant gift!)I would recommend that each time you shop and put groceries away, put the new things in the back of the pantry and slide the old ones up.Also, maybe have a week or two when you only shop for perishables and work toward using up what you have in your pantry. Might be fun to see what meals you can come up with!

  2. ames

    I recently went through my mother’s cabinets and found some foods leftover from the Ice Age, I was too scared to even check the expiration dates! What we did was make a list of everything in the cupboard that wasn’t up front and center and taped it to the inside of the cupboard door. We put hash marks next to duplicate items (why does she have 3 jars of marmalade?) and also noted expiration dates. Now when you open up the cupboard, you can look at the list and realize that if you don’t make mincemeat pie this week, that almost-expired can will grow legs and walk away. It also helps for making shopping lists.

  3. Jamie

    I try to keep like with like- all my green beans together, corn, spaghetti sauce. I put the newest in the back or under the oldest, if I can only stack vertically.

  4. SAHMmy Says

    I use the trick I learned when I worked in restaurants: FIFO: First In First Out (this also stands for Full Hands In, Full Hands Out–a great cleaning tip!) When you buy a new can of mushrooms, put that one behind the older cans. If you have a hard time keeping the pantry straight, just write the date of purchase on top of cans with a Sharpie–I have a hard time even finding use-by dates on cans sometimes–your date will be easy to see at a glance.

  5. Angie

    I was just about to post a very similar tip to the person that just commented. Even if you aren’t going to post the entire date, I try at the end of a year to write something like “07” (or whatever year it is) on the top of a can. That way, it’s a nice visual, and I can see if something is still on the shelf that has an “06” on it. (Plus, then I’ll see that any cans with no marks on the top are ones purchased in 2008. Well — until the end of 2008.)

  6. kirbynbu

    Yep, FIFO is the way to go — but the way to remember FIFO is to also remember what you don’t want — you don’t want FISH (First In, Still Here) I always laugh when I put away the groceries because I say, who’s a Fish?!! and find the duplicate and place the new can behind the older one. Also yes to eating out of the pantry a few times a week for a few months. Get your stock down to a manageable level. You know what you go through – make a list of the “staples” that you use most often and then the assorted other stuff and figure out the optimal number of cans of Cream of Mushroom soup, for example, you need to keep on hand at any one time. This can really help keep your cupboards current.Donate canned goods that you just know you won’t eat. Let go of the guilt of the cost of it and bless someone else with it.Happy FIFO-ing!Kirby

  7. Keera Ann Fox

    Now, me, I’d actually considering using that can. Well, OK, maybe not. I think my limit is two years past the expiration date.


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