August Use It Up Challenge – Food

The November Use It Up Challenge is here and it's all about tackling sentimental clutter.

Gather your condiments, canned goods, and freezer items, it’s time for the August Use It Up Challenge. This month’s focus is on food. Before we get into this month’s challenge, I want to acknowledge that I realize food has been a struggle for a lot of people because of what’s going on this year. I had considered switching this month’s focus to something else. However, I decided to stick with my original idea and change it up. So, we are not focusing on using up every ounce of food in the house this time. However, if you wish to do a full pantry challenge, then you are more than welcome to do so. Instead, we will be working on those items that have been shoved into the back of our cupboards, those half-used condiments in the fridge, and other areas of our kitchen that need just a bit of attention.

In the previous months, we have tackled notebooks, candles, cleaning supplies, craft supplies, clothes, bath items, and books.

August Use It Up Challenge

What is the Use It Up Challenge?

This is a monthly decluttering challenge that focuses on using the items instead of simply getting rid of them. This helps to reduce waste and also gets your money worth out of those items. Each month, a new category is chosen and we will focus on that category all month long. However, you don’t have to stop once that month ends. Keep decluttering and using up those items all year long. It will have a huge impact on your home and life at the end of the year.

If you are joining in, be sure to share your progress on social media using #IHUseItUp. I’d love to see how everyone is getting along with the challenge.

Where to start

The first thing to do is to take an inventory of your pantry, fridge, and freezers. Look for items that are getting close to their best before dates. Make lists of those items that should be used up first. What about that condiment that is sitting in your fridge that you’ve been ignoring? Maybe it’s the flavor you aren’t a fan of. Instead of just throwing it out, try to doctor it up with some other ingredients to make use of it. This is by far the most time-consuming part of the process, however, it is necessary to find those items that you need to use instead of just grabbing what’s at the front of a cupboard or freezer.

Once you have a list of items that you are prioritizing, it’s time to make a meal plan for the month. By creating a meal plan, you are committing to using those items throughout the month. This also makes mealtime easier, as you will already know in advance what you will be cooking each day.

You may find that there are some items that you aren’t sure what to do with. That sauce you bought on a whim but haven’t touched yet? Yes, that one. It’s time to get creative! See what other items you can use with it and create something new and unique. Even something as simple as a hot dog can be turned into a full meal with a bit of creativity.

What I’m using up

Since we are hoping to move soon, assuming we can find a house, I am putting my focus on clearing out what we have in our freezers. The move is far enough away that we can’t simply unplug them, load them up, and still have everything frozen upon arrival.

Some of these items I will be canning, as I don’t see us being able to use it all before we move. This means we will have a lot of premade meals, or parts of meals, ready for when we get in our new home. Not only that, but it will count towards getting things ready for winter. I have already created a meal plan that will help us work through as much as of the freezer as possible this month. This includes using up some frozen fruit for muffins.

I will also be working on using up all of the condiments we have in our fridge. This part will be fairly easy as they are items we use regularly. Yes, we may need to buy some more if our move doesn’t happen soon, but at least I will know we won’t be dealing with expired ketchup in the near future. There are also a few odds and ends in the cupboard that need to be consumed.

Will you be joining the August Use It Up Challenge? If so, what food will you be using?


  1. Great post! I need to use up my freezer items as well!!

    1. Author

      Thank you. Hopefully, this challenge will help you work through those items in your freezer that you need to use.

  2. This is a great post! Every year we go on 2-week long camping trips – our ‘big getaway’ (or, some years, a single 2-week vacation). Before heading out for these trips, we do something similar to this – trying to clean as much out as we can before it goes bad. I’m always surprised by how many meals I can make without having to buy anything, just by acknowledging what needs to be used up around the house!

    1. Author

      We do the same thing before vacations as well. The last thing you want to come back to is spoiled food. I agree it’s amazing how little you need to buy when you focus on using up what you have. Plus you can make some pretty unique meals this way.

  3. This is such a good challenge! We definitely have stuff in our freezer and cupboard that we should use up before we head out to the store and buy new stuff. Best of luck with your challenge and upcoming move!

    1. Author

      Thank you. I’m glad this will give you the incentive to get around to using those items. Thanks, I’m excited to work through all our freezer and pantry items.

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