Don't Forget About Expiration Dates When Decanting Your Pantry

One of the beautiful things about a pantry is that it's a place where you can store things that will last a long time — shelf-stable items that can be good for months, even years. But this inevitably leads to asking yourself questions like, When did I buy this rice? How old is this uncooked quinoa? Do dried beans go bad?

In moments like these, it pays to have a system for keeping track of the expiration dates of your various products. When you buy something in a bag or package, chances are the producer will have labeled it with the last possible date you should use it. If you aren't going to store the item in that original packaging, you should write down the expiration date so you don't forget it. And if you buy your dry goods in bulk and don't have ready access to an expiration date, you can refer to expert sources for accurate information regarding how long you should keep certain items.

Creating expiration date labels

Decanting items your pantry is a great way to keep track of what you have stored. In reference to dried goods, this means storing products in clear containers that let you easily see what you have on hand and how much. The problem with decanting is you lose the original packaging of each item, and with it, its expiration date. In this situation, it becomes increasingly important to create a label for the container with the expiration date on it. You can do this with a label maker or even just by writing on a piece of masking table. Regardless, once you get in the habit of doing this, you'll never have to wonder how old something is or when it expires.

While you certainly have flexibility when it comes to how you label your containers, you will thank yourself if you use something that is easy to remove or switch. That way, when you run out of one item, you can replace it and put on a new label without any hassle.