Waste-Free Ways To Clean Out Your Fridge Before Leaving For Vacation

We've all done it. Right before vacation in the mad scramble to finish work, clean up, and pack, the fridge is forgotten. More importantly, the food inside the fridge is forgotten, left to rot while you are away.

8 Things in Your Fridge You Should Throw Out Right Now slideshow.

In the U.S., we waste nearly a third of our food each year. Instead of wasting money and good food while you are away, next time you plan a vacation, be sure to spend a couple extra minutes to consider your fridge and pantry.

Start about a week out. Just as you would write any other grocery list, devise a meal plan for the week that will use up whatever food you have left in your fridge that won't keep through your trip. Start with the most perishable items, like produce. Then, decide what you will most likely freeze while away, such as any meat you won't finish before the trip. Finally, purchase only a few staples you will need to complete your meals.

Another way to minimize food waste while traveling is to pack a cooler. Obviously, this isn't always possible if you are traveling a long distance, but if your trip only involves a short road trip, you can use up, rather than throw away, good food for snacks and meals on the go.

With just a little planning, you can save food and money by cleaning out your fridge before you leave on vacation — and there is the added bonus of returning to a fridge sans rotting food.

Angela Carlos is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Find her on Twitter and tweet @angelaccarlos