Masking Tape in the Kitchen

by autumn on January 6, 2013


In the name of tackling big, bad problems with small changes, I’m here to tell you to make masking tape a staple in your kitchen. Even the most conservative estimates about how much food we waste in a year are staggering. As much I try to make my kitchen a low-waste operation, I know the biggest trigger for me to waste food is when I don’t remember how long something has been in the fridge. All too often, this leads my food-borne-illness-paranoid brain to throw something away “just to be safe.”

After meaning to do it forever, I took a cue from my short stint in a professional kitchen, and stashed a sharpie and a roll of masking tape in the drawer with my kitchen utensils. I now try to be in in habit of labeling everything from homemade syrups to refrigerator pickles to egg whites. Basically, anything that hasn’t been slapped with an expiration date. It not only makes me more confident that foods are still good, it gives me a greater, at-a-glance sense of what needs to be used up and when. The tape peels off easily and in my experience it doesn’t leave any residue.

How do you cut waste and stay organized in the kitchen?

More masking tape in the kitchen ideas:


Autumn Giles is the creator of Autumn Makes & Does and the co-host of the Alphabet Soup Podcast.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Eileen January 7, 2013 at 8:17 pm

This is a great idea! I have a sharpie already (how does anyone manage in the kitchen without one?) but no tape to be found. I guess a trip to the store is in order…


2 autumn January 7, 2013 at 10:31 pm

Thanks, Eileen! I really can’t take credit for the idea, but I can say that once I started trying to make it a habit, I definitely wished I had done it sooner.


3 Aimee @ Simple Bites January 8, 2013 at 3:19 am

Ah I remember this from the old resto days. Thanks for the reminder; totally jumping back on this bandwagon.


4 Pamela January 8, 2013 at 6:02 pm

I do the same thing although I use the blue painters tape. It is made to come off easily.


5 Jane January 9, 2013 at 10:46 pm

If it’s a glass jar, just write straight on it with the sharpie! It wipes off easily with soap and water.


6 kelly @ kellybakes January 11, 2013 at 5:01 am

fantastic tip. We had to do this at work because everything in our fridge was questionable… who it belonged to, when it entered the fridge, when it should get chucked, etc. I’m usually good about throwing stuff out the night before garbage day, but sometimes I can’t remember when something needs to go!


7 Sara @ The Cozy Herbivore January 11, 2013 at 1:49 pm

Yes! I do this as well, and it’s changed my kitchen life. I’m always throwing away food I think might be the littlest bit suspect, so this helps me to keep track of exactly what’s safe to eat.

I do wish that they made dissolvable masking tape… at work we use day dots, which are water soluble and easily dissolve when you’re doing dishes. I am so much of a waste-not freak that I worry about throwing away the masking tape!


8 Ann January 25, 2013 at 10:25 am

Oh yes. This is my favorite discovery from this year too – I actually think the masking tape labels have a rustic charm, and use them on gifts of food in jars as well!


9 Celia January 25, 2013 at 9:07 pm

I just started doing this too! Nuts = organized! I love having a Sharpie in the kitchen now. It’s totally the thing to do.


10 Sarah February 24, 2013 at 5:29 pm

I’ve gotten into the habit of using a chalk marker on glass. It wipes of mad easily. I use it for my fermentation projects.


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