If you ever worked in a restaurant kitchen, you probably had the “FIFO” acronym drilled into your memory by the end of the first day, and for good reason.FIFO – aka “First In, First Out” – is sacrosanct in any professional kitchen, and is a key in avoiding all sorts of nasty issues, from food waste and inventory loss to making people ill by serving spoiled food.Of course, the same issues apply in any kitchen, and using FIFO at home can help in the same ways.1. Use Labels
Package dates are often hard to locate and even harder to read, and they’re just suggestions, anyway, so it helps to know when the item went into your pantry rather than when it expires.Experiment to figure out what works best for you – it may be stickers, tape or markers. Just make sure the date is visible and smudge-proof.2. Separate Perishables & Nonperishables
Now that you’ve got things labeled by when they come in, you can further organize by storing them with other items that have similar shelf lives.The goal is to avoid perishables getting pushed to the back by nonperishables that come into the kitchen at a later date.3. Consider Stronger Seals
Kitchen storage containers can really help or really hurt, depending on how – and if – you use them. Used well, they can preserve open food longer and help organize it. Used poorly, containers just add clutter and slow down your prep times.It's really up to you, and you'll know after trying them out whether food storage containers
are right for you.4. Rotate Your Stock
This may be the most important trick to using the FIFO method. As new things come in, take a moment to adjust your inventory accordingly rather than just pushing everything into your cabinets at once.It’s not as important when you’re dealing with nonperishables, but even they can get lost in the mix, which leads to a final organizational tip.5. Avoid Hoarding Unused Goods
Throwing out food is never fun and for most of us it goes against our natures, which is often why we end up with overflowing fridges, freezers and pantries. The above tips should help reduce the need, but sometimes inventory buildup is impossible to avoid.When this happens, don’t be afraid to donate nonperishables you’re not using to make more room for the things you do use.As for that old cottage cheese in the back of the fridge – there’s no saving it. Sometimes running a kitchen is a really tough, dirty job.