Shelf help for your kitchen: Clever food storage solutions to reduce waste

This year, The Mail on Sunday is waging war on food waste. And, as we show here, making your storecupboards work harder can mean a big – and stylish – difference.

See your ingredients at a glance

storecupboard ideas
Camera Press/Bauer Media Group/Chris Warnes

Out of sight is often out of mind, so food hidden away in a cupboard is more likely to be forgotten about and wasted. Store dry products such as pasta and flour in clear, marked containers on open shelves. It will keep them fresher than in opened packets and let you see what you have to work with. For similar containers, try ikea.com.

Keep everyday condiments to hand

storecupboard containers
containerstore.com

It makes sense to have the things you use every day easily reachable to ensure they get used (apart from fragile and electrical items if you have young children). For a similar spice rack, try johnlewis.com. For baskets, go to oka.com.

Display stylishly and orderly

food waste jars
Camera Press/Bauer Media Group/Nic Gossage

Use matching or similar containers, baskets and jars across shelves to keep a cohesive feel to the kitchen.

kitchen storage rack
Camera Press/Bauer Media Group/Real Living

Categorise and coordinate

kitchen jars
cherietu.com/Instagram/thrivingonplants

Try ‘zoning’ food items in groups such as breakfast, baking and sweet treats. Here, using the same jars for everything creates symmetry. For similar jars, go to ikea.com.

Five ways to save, reuse and recycle

  • Keeping food in plain sight goes beyond shelving. Think kitchen trolleys, baskets made from different materials and utilising the space underneath kitchen islands. 
  • To cut down on single-use plastics try beeswax wraps (from £4.99, beegreenwraps.co.uk) or silicone bowl covers (from £6, amazon.co.uk) instead of clingfilm to help keep food fresh.
  • Store food correctly by reading labels. Leafy greens should be kept upright with their stalks in water, potatoes prefer darkness, while fresh herbs like the light. For more information, go to nhs.uk/live-well.
  • There’s no need to throw away any limp veg unless it is mouldy – revitalise carrots, celery and broccoli by trimming the bottoms then placing upright in a glass of water until crisp. Lettuce leaves, spinach and peeled potatoes can be left to soak in a bowl of water. You could also blend veg and freeze into ice-cube trays to be used in smoothies at a later date.
  • Throw any rotten food or leftovers you can’t reuse in a compost bin. This helps to turn waste into something useful.

Join our campaign

Every week in The Mail on Sunday we’ll be giving you all the information you need to reduce food waste – and your household bills. Plus see today’s paper for our investigations into the shocking amount of perfectly good food that’s thrown into Britain’s bins every day.

Need a food storage restyle?

Here’s how to make your food look as good as it tastes 

jars
ti-mediacontent.com

Multicoloured jars, £191 for three, amara.com 

Crate, £11, selfridges.com 

Shelving unit, £1,524, conranshop.co.uk 

Scoops, from £1.50 each, souschef.co.uk 

Green lidded jars, £11.99, wayfair.co.uk 

Grey jar, from £43, nordicnest.com 

Canisters, £49.99 for five, wayfair.co.uk 

Blue jar, £2.75, ikea.com 

Shelving unit, £126, utilitydesign.co.uk 

Oil and vinegar set, £40, lsa-international.com 

Storage baskets, from £75, utilitydesign.co.uk

Recycling bin, £199, wayfair.co.uk 

Green and blue jar, £61, amara.com 

Chalkboard labels, £1.99 for 24, clasohlson.com 

Pasta canister, £14, argos.co.uk 

Compost bucket, £37.95, wayfair.co.uk 

Report by Nicole Gray