Purge Log Day 4 – Food Waste

I hate wasting food.

Maybe it dates back to my youth, and the “eat every bite on your plate!” message drilled into my head every meal.

Or perhaps I’m haunted by the daily news articles on how much food is wasted each year in America, while so many people go hungry.

Possibly even my own specter of struggling to feed my family with an uncertain future looming on the horizon.

These sprinkles have got to go
These sprinkles have got to go

But someday, we could starve without these sugar sprinkles.

Today’s decluttering exercise hit even closer to home for me. I had to admit that I have failed to store garlic and perennial onions through the winter. Again.

My failed attempt to store garlic and onions through the winter
My failed attempt to store garlic and onions through the winter

Decluttering is about letting go of material goods which no longer serve you.

The sprinkles, for instance. I bought them years ago, with fantasies of being “that” mom, who bakes sugar cookies with her kids every weekend. Only then I stopped eating grains (like wheat flour), high sugar foods (like cookies and sprinkles), and most processed foods (again, the sprinkles). Nor did I want to encourage my kids to eat such (although I know they consume worse at school or out with their friends!).

Still, the sprinkles lingered in a hidden corner, until I discovered them and tossed them with only a moment’s hesitation. OK, there was a moment, when I thought about how much money was wasted on them. But then I recovered and into the garbage they went.

… off to the overflowing landfill in a plastic bag with you!

The garlic and onions, though … I should have eaten them before they dried up into useless husks. (The ones which weren’t covered in mold or had turned brown, anyway.) Or found a different way to preserve them, or a different (moister? darker?) place to store them. Purging them means facing my own insecurities about how unprepared we are for a future where you cannot just buy onions and garlic and any other produce imaginable year-round from the grocery store in town. 

At least the garlic and onions can be composted, so they won’t contribute to landfill issues.

And of course I’ll try once more this coming year. After all, the opposite of success isn’t failure; it’s quitting.


  1. I hate food waste, too. For a while I kept inventory sheets on my fridge and pantry that I tried to keep updated but as everyone else in my home refused to use them, they were ineffective. We still throw away about $300 worth of groceries a month.

    • Inventory sheets sound like a good idea – although I’m sure it would ultimately be ineffective in my home too! I have never tried quantifying our food waste. At least most of it can get composted or fed to our hens. Some day I will start a worm bin for everything else!

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