Cleaning Out My Cabinets

While tracking how much food I purchase in a year, I realized that our cabinets are full of foods that we purchased in 2006. For my 2007 numbers to be accurate, I need to either: eat the 2006 food, or give away the 2006 food. My goal for today will be to clean out our cabinets, so that I can determine which foods to eat and which to give away. Then, my goal for February will be to use all of the foods that we already have in our cabinets. I will suspend my “How Much Do I Use In A Year” experiment.

If I can limit (or eliminate) my food purchases for February, I can take the money that I budgeted for this February’s food, and put it into another category. Most of the food that we already have is healthy. We have canned vegetables, bags or brown rice, whole wheat spaghetti, etc. A small portion of the food is “junk food”. I’ll probably give this type of food away. We also have some healthy foods that we don’t like (or that our kids will not eat) that I’ll give to our local shelter.

I have a “love-hate” relationship with food. I love to eat food, I love to shop for food, I love to cook food. I hate that eating many of the foods I love (in the quantities that I love to eat them) makes me fat! I also obsess about food issues, so as I go through the process of cleaning out my cabinets, it will be interesting to see what my emotional reactions will be. If you have “food issues” you’ll understand. Having been reared in the South, where throwing away food is a “sin”, it’s so difficult for me to feel good about getting rid of unused food. Plus, being frugal like I am, I hate the idea of something going to waste. So, on the one hand, there are food items that I don’t need in my house, because they are unhealthy. On the other hand, I HATE the idea of getting rid of something for which I paid good money.

8 thoughts on “Cleaning Out My Cabinets

  1. You have to look at donating the food to a food shelf as “charity”. It’s an extension of your tithing, which you have no problem doing. That’s not wasting, that kindness and helping those less fortunate. Think “loaves and fishes”, dude.

    Or are you talking about tossing opened containers of unfinished food? Can you make it into something that you can bring to a potluck? Then you are not “wasting” it.

    I’m the daughter of a parents that grew up in the depression, so I know where you are coming from.

  2. I’m not clear on why you have to get rid of 2006 food to do this food tracking thing. You are tracking “how much do you use in a year” not “how much you buy in a year” right?
    If you use a jar of spaghetti sauce from 2006, you’d mark it down as “used.” Doesn’t matter when you bought it, right?
    I know you are tracking things like toilet paper too….will you throw out all your TP you bought in 2006?

    If you want to clean out your cabinets to get rid of the stuff you don’t like or won’t eat, that makes sense, but for tracking purposes, if you’re going to use the stuff this year, I say keep it. 🙂

    Does this help?

  3. Karen,
    The experiment was one of those things that I started, without a clear direction. I want to track how much I use AND how much I buy. At first, I was only going to track a few items, but I’ve really become interested in tracking everything. In order to get a true picture, I feel like I need to start with a clean slate…

    Some of the stuff, I can simply donate, and that’s cool. The other stuff, like brownies and chips, etc. have already been opened or partially used. I hate to just throw it out, and I’m not going to donate “used” food… I’ll let you know how it works out…

  4. umm, send in the brownies on a paper plate, covered with foil into school with a note to the teacher to put it in the staff lounge as “teacher appreciation”. The teachers will appreciate it as long as the food is fresh and not obviously old. Most will assume that you hosted a party or something and are sharing the leftovers. I would suggest the firehouse and police department as well, but they’re a little stricter and more worried about ulterior motives like poison.
    Teachers, we’re easy. We’ll love you! Otherwise, send the to Switzerland. I’ll eat the brownies.

  5. Keep in mind that you ought to have some emergency food stores. Don’t empty your shelves every month. Keep some canned goods and dry pasta and such.

  6. no offense, but this is one of the most rediculous things i have ever heard. you are going to get rid of food so you can accurately track how much food you use in a year? wow. move all of the food u have now into another room. when u use it, add it to your running total for the year and act as if you bought it in 2007. for $ totals, save your receipts and debit card statements

  7. Bryan,
    I will completely agree with you, this is a pretty ridiculous thing to do… From time to time, I think that it helps me to do something that is completely ridiculous, something that other people think is weird… I can’t explain it. Not all of my ideas are “winners”… I’m not going to get “rid” of all of my food. I’m going to use what we already have, and start with a clean slate… No offense taken, by the way. MOST of my ideas are ridiculous… like starting a blog where I talk about my personal finances… that’s pretty ridiculous, when you get right down to it…

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