Preventing Food Waste with Roommates

When you’re living with roommates, you probably don’t get the option to store your food like this food storage guide suggests. In my house, we have five people and one refrigerator. Each person gets their one shelf and sometimes the fridge is so packed it’s difficult to keep tabs on your food and not let it go to waste.

So, what should you do?

Do the food shuffle daily. 

A list can help remind you what food you need to eat.

The most common culprit of food waste is when food gets pushed to the back of our shelf (And sometimes falls into the crack behind the bottom drawers). To prevent this, I rearrange and take stock of what we have DAILY. I also write a list in a dry-erase marker of my ingredients or meals that we need to eat. I put things that I know I need to use towards the front of our shelf and try to arrange the ingredients of a meal in a row so I’ll visit the back of the shelf daily. 

Out of sight, out of mind.
We have one tupperware that isn’t clear and it’s most often the culprit of food waste. Being able to visually see and take stock of what you have can stop food from being lost. 

There are usually a few black holes in our fridge where I don’t notice food until it’s too late. The condiment shelf that’s right below eye-level, anybody? Find the dead spots in your fridge where food most often goes bad. Check those spots weekly.

Communal space and sharing food.
The top shelf in our fridge is a communal shelf for food that anyone can eat. If you notice a trend where your communal shelf is becoming a food graveyard talk to your roommates about it! What are people buying and wasting? 

You can also think of the communal shelf as your “Eat First” shelf. I will visit the communal first when planning out meals. What’s more satisfying than using up food you didn’t pay for? 

There’s a rule in our house that if you go out of town and leave food that will go bad it’s free game. Last weekend, my roommate went camping and left mushrooms and basil that was starting to wilt. It was the perfect addition to our lasagna! 

Plan a family dinner!
A family dinner can be a great way to use up communal shelf food and food that you bought but you won’t use! Use this recipe finder to use up those ingredients that have been sitting on your communal shelf.