Gallery: How to Save Food and Money with a Fridge Triage Box

In 2010, 33 million tons of food (more than 200 lbs per person) was trashed, and edibles currently represent the single largest component of municipal solid waste that ends up in landfills. While you should definitely be more aware of overbuying at the supermarket, one easy change you can make to help you waste less food is setting up a fridge triage box that acts as an effective visual cue. While it may seem overly simplistic (yes, it's just a box with a big sign on it), you'd be surprised at how this small modification can change the way you and your family view the food in your fridge. If you think about it, one of the reasons that expensive, easily perishable foods like cheese end up rotting before you can eat them is because they're hidden away in special compartments that are supposedly designed to keep them fresh (#fail). By moving all items that need to be eaten to a centralized, can't-miss location, you're more likely to finish them before it's too late. Read on to see how to make one of these boxes and start saving money and food right now.


– a large box (a clean shoebox works great, especially if it’s colorful and eye-catching)
– plastic wrap
– a piece of paper


Line the bottom of the box with plastic wrap to protect it from spills


Print or stencil a reminder to yourself and the other members of your household that this food needs to be eaten to affix to the front of your box.


Tape or glue your sign to the front of your box, and place the whole thing in a central location in your fridge where it’s highly visible. Then, start placing perishable foods near their expiration date inside so that everyone knows those are the things that need to be eaten first. You’ll be surprised at how well this basic visual cue works!


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1 Comment

  1. kedwa30 January 21, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Great concept! It also works for canned goods. I buy the marked down dented cans then I make sure to eat those first by having a special location where dented and close to expiry date cans go. Space is at a premium, so sometimes rather than use a dedicated space, I will write on a whiteboard, which is on the front of the fridge, the suggestion of what to eat next. Although I don’t plan a daily menu, it helps to plan a few meals in advance in order to use up certain ingredients before they go bad. There is a saying: if you fail to plan then you plan to fail. If I don’t write on the whiteboard I revert to bad habits, eat all the snack foods first while the healthy foods perish. I want to do what’s right, but I need visual cues to prompt me and to remind me to help me overcome the bad habits.

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