Useful Tip: Label Your Pantry Items with a Marker!

Useful Tip Label Your Pantry Items with a Marker

I hope you all enjoyed your 3-Day weekend!

It’s back to reality today, but I want to share a quick tip. This is something I do which helps A LOT! It saves us a lot of time because we don’t need to waste precious seconds hunting for the Best Before date every time we open a can of luncheon meat or a pack of spaghetti sauce.


Whenever we bring our groceries home, I take the time to label them before putting them away in the pantry. I don’t use anything fancy – who has time to use a label maker in this situation? All you need is a marker!

I keep a marker, commonly known as “Pentel Pen,” in the kitchen. And I just write the month and year the item will expire somewhere visible on the can/package.

There’s no need to be fancy, and no need to care what anyone else will think. You’re going to use that food item and you’ll end up throwing away the package, anyway. Just write it in big letters, and make it very visible and easy to read.


Don’t you just hate it when you can’t figure out if the Best Before date is in American format or European format?American format is MM/DD/YY, while European is DD/MM/YY.

If one of the numbers is more than 12, it’s easy to figure that it’s the DD part. But what if the date is 06-05-15? Is it May 6 or is it June 5?

I check where the item was produced – if it’s in the US, it’s a safe bet that it’s in American format. If it was produced in Europe, then it’s probably in European format.

When I really can’t tell, I just try to err on the side of caution and pick the earlier date.

Did you find something that’s expired? If it’s just a few days past, it’s most likely still safe to eat. The best before dates refer to the quality and shelf life of a product, not safety. Most product expiration dates are just meant to be guidelines, and most manufacturers put a few months’ allowance. If you want to risk it, just use your own judgement and senses as a guide if something is still safe to eat.

What are the advantages of writing the expiration date with a marker?

  • The expiration date is BIG and VERY VISIBLE. Sometimes Best Before dates are printed in really small writing, are barely visible, and placed in awkward positions where you’d have to turn the item this way and that just to see it. Save your future self some time by writing the Best Before date visibly on the item.
  • Avoid wasting food. You’re more liable to use up items before they expire if you notice that they will be expiring soon. Those big, visible dates you wrote will be very visible to you every time you rummage through your pantry to look for something to cook.
  • Organize your pantry with ease. It’s easier to organize your pantry where you can just arrange items in the order they will expire. There’s no need to waste time hunting for the expiration date of each item because it will be easily visible!

Do you have seniors in the house? Or anybody who has poor eyesight? Writing the expiration date in big, visible writing will be a big help to them, too.

How to Maintain Your Marker

Make sure to put the cap back on properly! Markers are expensive, and it’s such a waste to have them dry out before their time. The fastest way to ruin your marker is to let it dry out. Put the cap back on as soon as you’re done writing – don’t leave the marker uncapped for long periods of time.

I bought a refillable marker and ink to refill it with. It’s a bit more expensive (the ink was around P200+), but whenever the marker dries out, I just need to soak the tip of the marker in the ink. The ink bottle is designed for this, so I just need to leave the marker in the bottle for 5 minutes and it’s as good as new!

What do you think of this tip? Do you think it will work for you?

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please feel free to leave a comment below, I love hearing from you!

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2 thoughts on “Useful Tip: Label Your Pantry Items with a Marker!

  1. brandylovesvintage

    genius, as always! i always feel bad for food waste. luckily, this time we only had to throw 1 pasta sauce and a salad dressing.

    ps: the peanut butter must used a.s.a.p =)

    1. Barat Queen Post author

      Hi brandylovesvintage! Thanks for reminding me about the peanut butter! I actually took this picture last month and just never got round to writing the post yet.

      But thanks for the reminder, I almost forgot about it! I put the peanut butter out on the counter so people will start using it up now 🙂


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