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3 Markers You Must Have in Your Fridge and Why They’ll Save Your Leftovers

Labeling food containers is such an important habit in keeping our kitchens organized and preventing food waste. Sometimes food storage labels work but I have an easier solution for kitchen labeling – for everything from labeling jars to plastics. 

upgrade your food labeling

Every single human wrestles with certain deep, existential questions in life. You know, the “who am I” and “what am I here for?” questions. What’s scary is when we start saying them to our refrigerators:

  • When did I make this?
  • What is it here for?
  • Who put this in the fridge?
  • Can I still eat this??

Labeling Food Containers with Dry & Wet Erase Markers

Joking aside, food safety is no laughing matter. If you’ve ever had a touch of food poisoning, you know exactly what I mean.

Sometimes we let food get lost in a real-food kitchen… and no – it’s not a fermentation experiment! I hate it when I waste money in the kitchen by not remembering the leftovers that got shoved in the back.

So let’s upgrade our food labeling organization by using a secret weapon in the kitchen: markers.

glass jar labeled with marker on lid
The best food storage label isn’t a label at all! It’s a marker. Kitchen labeling is as easy as writing directly on the containers

I keep a dry erase marker tucked into my circular spice rack – turned upside down so it always has ink at the tip. I grab this fabulous tool whenever I need to label and date a container. For example, we enjoy making kefir – a dairy ferment that happens at room temperature. I always write the day and time on the lid so I don’t forget when I started fermenting.

fridge food label for glass

Refrigerator Food Labels  

But don’t stop at kitchen labeling ferments. I was standing in my friend’s kitchen just yesterday and she pulled out a WET erase marker to label all leftovers in her fridge.

Unlike a dry erase marker, wet-erase markers (like the Vis-à-vis brand used on transparencies) can’t be smudged off with your thumb – whether on purpose or on accident. Need to remove the marker? She just pops her containers in the dishwasher and the markings come right off.

As a busy mom, she maximizes her time by prepping her food at the beginning of the week. She writes the date on her container, as well as what day she plans to use it. This lets her hungry middle-school boys know if the food is up for grabs (or off limits) when they come home hungry from school.

RELATED: Organizing with Shoe Boxes in the Kitchen

Labeling Jars Made Easy

Bonus? Wet erase markers can be used on both glass jars and plastic.

But don’t just stop with the fridge! Do you have any mixes in your pantry?

Permanent Markers In The Pantry

I took a permanent Sharpie marker to label all of our homemade seasoning mixes, including taco seasoning, Italian salad dressing, and ranch salad dressing.

I write the ingredients that make up the bulk mix on the back of the jar. On the front, I write what wet ingredients I will need to mix it with. What a relief to cut out time to find my ranch dressing recipe! Now, it’s always there.

Permanent markers can be removed from glass jars with a little elbow grease and rubbing alcohol. Don’t use it on plastic.

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organize your fridge with a lazy susanKatie here!

Another tip I learned from my friend Lisa Woodruff from Organize 365 is to use a Lazy Susan to not lose condiments and leftovers in the fridge. Genius! 

I hate when I reach for something in the back of my fridge and I knock everything down in front of it. It’s even worse when one of my kids spills something that way. 

Using a Lazy Susan to organize the fridge makes it easier to access everything in there. It’s perfect for small jars of fermented foods you want to remember to eat at every meal, refrigerated probiotics, or things like ground flax, whey, or small jars of flour for soaking oatmeal properly…

My Other Secret Use for Dry Erase Markers

Sometimes I can be a bit…forgetful. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten about my yogurt, letting it sit out overnight, or neglected to pull my 5#-frozen-rock-solid chicken out of the freezer, or forgot to pull my fruit leathers out of the dehydrator…until I find them a week later.

Can You Write on Mirrors with Dry-Erase Markers?

Yes! I now use a dry erase marker to write notes to myself on the bathroom mirror

You know, things like: “DON’T FORGET THE YOGURT AGAIN” or “check fruit leather 7:00 pm.” It’s been extremely effective. And while you have the dry erase marker handy, go ahead and leave an encouraging note or doodle for a family member! Who says bathroom mirrors need to be boring?

How do you plan to upgrade your food labeling organization?

Need More Baby Steps?

Monday Missions Baby Steps Back to Basics

Here at Kitchen Stewardship, we’ve always been all about the baby steps. But if you’re just starting your real food and natural living journey, sifting through all that we’ve shared here over the years can be totally overwhelming.

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Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

14 thoughts on “3 Markers You Must Have in Your Fridge and Why They’ll Save Your Leftovers”

  1. The green side of a Scotch-Brite or similar sponge and some water works great to get sharpie off of jars.
    I use wet erase markers for all kinds of stuff, but never thought of labeling my fridge containers with it. Will definitely start doing that!!

  2. Mona Casselman

    I like blue painter’s tape and a sharpie. Dry erase markers are something I have not tried yet, gonna give that a try!
    I have a dry erase board for general reminders, appointments, tasks to be done (in case someone else wants to jump in and help). My son in law divided it into sections for me with mustache duct tape in narrow strips.
    The date and day (Wednesday 2 July) are always the top line for the memory-challenged in the house.
    I write the recipes on 3×5 cards then either stuff them in the container or use clear packing tape to attach it to the outside of the jar/container. Packing or scotch tape and a sharpie to label jars, etc of ingredients (FLOUR, W/W: ORG SUGAR: etc) Pantry bucket lids- duct tape and sharpie before I discovered painter tape. I am fond of glass jars of all sizes, types and styles for storage. Most are recycled, scrounged or purchased second hand for small sums (too frugal to spend large sums).
    I am a serious scrounger/repurposer. Been doing it since waaaay before it was popular.
    Blesses my socks off to see you kids learning these useful skills and sharing them with each other.

  3. I’ve used the dry erase ont he bathroom mirror since my daughter started elementary, about 22 years now and now she does the same thing! I love to leave a message in the morning for my husband!

  4. I have a white board in the kitchen for notes, so I love this idea! No more searching for the tape the kids borrowed! Thank you for sharing the tip – will have to look into wet erase markers too.

  5. Never thought of using erasable marker on the actual container! What a great idea.
    My parents keep a small whiteboard and dry erase marker on the side of the fridge. When leftovers go in the fridge, it gets written on the list with the date. Bonus to this is that you can see what needs eaten up without having to open the door and hunt, thereby saving energy!

  6. Elizabeth Partida

    Great idea using wet eraser marker. I use a piece of scotch tape and permanent marker. First I write on the scotch tape then tear it off and put on the container. I remove the tape when done with the container and put it in the dishwasher.

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