My one sanity-saving kitchen tip for the holidays

Party planning is in full swing around here. I’m not cooking and styling a cookbook (like last December) or pregnant (three years ago), and so I’m feeling inspired to cook up a spread and entertain to the nines.

We’ve got a massive cocktail party in the works, as well as a few intimate dinners. Danny’s planning a beer tasting, and we’ll probably host a holiday brunch or two as well.

So far my love of lists is helping me stay organized with shopping items, guest lists and menus, but I’ve stumbled upon a little kitchen trick that is totally saving my sanity  — and we all know how important that is over the holidays.

Handy tip for the holidays: use a wine pen to label fridge items #tip

I’m using a non-toxic, erasable wine glass writer to label my refrigerator items. That’s the big tip. I’m writing on jars and tupperware containers, plastic bags and beer/wine bottles.

It’s so helpful because it’s taking communication to the next level in my kitchen. People no longer stand with the refrigerator door open and say ‘what’s this?” “what’s that?” “can I eat this?”.  It’s laid out in plain sight.

Here are just a few reasons why I might want to label refrigerator items.

  • Reserving wine for fondue, cooking, etc
  • Labelling punch/juice/cider as ‘spiked’ or ‘virgin’.
  • Listing the date a dish/ingredient was made.
  • Listing the date a product was opened.
  • Alerting grazers to ‘help yourself’ snacks.
  • Reminding grazers what needs to be eaten first.
  • Listing amounts of egg whites, etc
  • Reserving specialty ingredients for specific dishes.

This tip works for day-to-day cooking as well, but I think it is particularly useful over the holidays for the reasons listed above. When you are prepping for a big event, there’s nothing worse than someone hacking into the brie for your special appetizer or chugging the pomegranate juice reserved for your winter sangria.


I picked up my wine glass writer at Crate & Barrel; I also love the pretty metallic pens on Amazon. Most kitchen supply stores should carry a wine glass pen.

I don’t have to tell you this tip is exceedingly practical for the holidays. Let me know in the comments if you put it to good use!

More good stuff:

What’s your best entertaining tip?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. So helpful and “stupid-easy” – a great combination at this time of year! Sharing. 🙂

  2. Audrey Kasdorf says

    I love this tip! I have been trying to train my husband to label things before they go into the freezer and I am having some success. This wine glass writer would definitely make it much easier! Thank you!

  3. Excellent- beats my masking tape and sharpie. Can you tell me how well the ink holds up once glass chills in fridge? I see on their site that it says for chilled wine to write above the fill line.

  4. Love this tip-thanks for sharing! Where did you get your clamp-lid glass containers? I love them, and have never seen them before.

  5. I use the wet erase vis-a-vis, same idea, but easier to find in rural MT. Costco has great prices on the snap lock glass ware. The lids are still plastic but the container is glass.

    • I was just wondering if the dry erase markers I use for everything would work, thanks Deb. I also use Sharpie for my pantry but have not thought about using it for what goes in the fridge. A swipe with acetone nail polish remover will take sharpie off glass, if a run through the dishwasher does not.

    • Good tip!

  6. I love this tip and can validate how helpful it can be. My husband was notorious for eating ingredients that where planned for dinner dishes. Or leftovers that was intended for lunch the next day would be gone by morning.

  7. Jan @ Family Bites says

    Such a simple, yet brilliant, idea. I need to do this so I can stop my teenager from eating anything and everything that he finds in the fridge. Sometimes I have food for work that still needs to be photographed and what do you know… when I go to take picture it’s all missing!

  8. This is awesome. My husband was just remarking on how difficult it is to know what is in which containers and how long it has been in there. I’ll grab one of these and mark it so that will no longer be a question! 🙂

  9. We do this with the dry erase pens! Saves a lot of headaches!
    I was wondering where you buy the glass containers with the metal hinged lids?

  10. Such a good tip to avoid food waste (and food poisoning !) too
    I must find one of those pens ! Though Google doesn’t seem to have heard about “stylo marqueur effaçable pour verre de vin” around here (France)

  11. I use a sharpie marker, black or silver right on the glass. It removes with dish soap and a sponge, although it will not come off in the dishwasher. I put the sharpie out for wine and beer glasses when we have a large party. I also use the Sharpie to write directly on the jar when I’m canning. I put a date on the bottom of the jar as well. You can’t however use it on plastic. no need for masking tape, labels, or special pens.

  12. I label anything glass going into my fridge or freezer with Sharpie. It wipes off easily with a tough of isopropyl alcohol. With a toddler in the house, we have the little alcohol pads around for quick cut clean up.

  13. Ok, this is a totally epic way of storing food in the fridge. My current method of placing left-overs in the traditional non see through tupperware in the refrigerator has me opening up 3 contatainers before i actually find what i am looking for. It’s time for glassware shopping. I can’t deal anymore.

  14. I’ve tried to use dry-erase markers but they come off too easily. Instead, I took a tip from working in a lab and started using sharpie on everything, it stays on in the fridge but washes off very easily with a little ethanol. I keep some bottom-shelf vodka around for the purpose. Never heard of these wine bottle markers, though, that’s what I was initially looking for!

  15. These pens make great stocking stuffers, too!

  16. We love this post and will have to share it would our viewers! some any great ways to use our wine glass writers. Thanks for this great blog post and supporting our woman fun family owner biz!! Cheers

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