Easy Tip to Reduce Food Waste: The Kitchen Chalkboard

8 DIY Kitchen Ideas

reduce food waste with a chalkboard

We’re all doing our best to reduce food waste, and sometimes it’s the simplest solutions that can make a big difference.

You know this feeling, right? You’re looking for something in the produce drawer, and you instead encounter an alien life form. What was that round, furry thing? It’s unpleasant, and even worse, it’s wasteful. Even when you do your best to stay on top of what’s in that produce drawer, once in a while an errant lemon will roll to the back or one pesky tomato will evade you until it’s too late.

After banishing so many produce drawer aliens to the compost bin, I decided that it was time to take action in my own kitchen. I originally made this chalkboard sign to use as a craft market display, but now that I’m not selling my crafts, I decided to put this sucker to use in a new way: cataloging my veggies, so I would waste less!

Each week when our CSA basket comes, I write down everything we got on the chalkboard, and as we finish each item, I can just wipe it away. It helps me know at a glance what we have. Meal planning is easier, since I don’t have to dig through the drawer to find out what veggies are in the house. Easy peasy!

You can use a store-bought chalkboard, but in case you want to make a chalkboard sign like I did, here are the basics:


  • ugly painting from the thrift store in an interesting frame
  • spray paint (optional)
  • masking tape
  • chalkboard paint (the home improvement store should carry this)
  • paint brush
  • chalk


1. If your painting’s frame is fine as-is, you can skip this step. If it’s a horrible bronze or something like the one I had, paint the frame with a couple of coats of spray paint in whatever color you like. Let the paint dry completely according to the directions on the can before you go on to step 2.

2. Use your masking tape to tape off the frame part, then use your chalkboard paint to paint over the ugly painting. You’ll get the best results with 2-3 light coats, rather than 1-2 heavy ones, and try to have your brush strokes go in the same direction.

3. When the board is completely dry, grab a piece of chalk. You’re going to “prime” the board by rubbing the whole thing with chalk. That will make your writing go on smoothly. Just rub the side of the chalk all over the board, then wipe excess away with a rag.

That’s it! You’re ready to document your weekly produce haul and reduce food waste in your kitchen!

photo by Becky Striepe

4 thoughts on “Easy Tip to Reduce Food Waste: The Kitchen Chalkboard”

  1. Dead cucumber – that’s hysterical. I use my kitchen whiteboard to write what leftovers we have. I’m horrible at eating leftovers! I love the idea of using an ugly painting to start. You’re so crafty! :-)

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