If you are just tuning in to the series this is what you’ve missed as far as tasks:
#1 – Create Short and Long Term Goals
#2 – Make a Budget
#3 – Make a List of Highest Priced and Most Used Items
#4 – Create a Low Inventory List and Maintain It
#5 – Create a Sensible Stockpile
$6 – Learn How to Make a Weekly Meal Plan
So we are now finding items on a hot deal, we’ve built up a nice stockpile and we’ve started learning how to make a weekly meal plan. But guess what? Having a meal plan does no good if you aren’t capable of cooking in your kitchen. If your sink is full of dishes, pots and pans fall out when you open your cupboards and finding something in your fridge is like a game of hide and seek, you definitely won’t be motivated to do any home-cooked meals. I’ll be the first to admit this: there have been days where I’ve walked into my kitchen and felt so overwhelmed by the chaos that I immediately called my husband and asked him to pick up a pizza on his way home. It happens.
I think part of the problem is that they make too many awesome kitchen gadgets these days, right? There’s a tool for just about everything except something to help keep our kitchens clean. All those gadgets add up to space issues so the first task I’m going to give you is to take a good long look at them and weed out the ones you don’t need. If there are some that you use randomly, you can toss them in a container and store them elsewhere to free up space.
The next task? You are going to keep track of all those things that don’t fit in your dishwasher and clutter up your counter when you have no energy to hand-wash dishes at the end of a long day. Ask yourself if you truly need them or if there’s a dishwasher-safe option you could use instead. This will help reduce your clutter in the long-run.
Then comes the pans. They need to be easily accessible so pick and choose which ones you use the most and eliminate those you don’t. Trust me, you won’t want to cook if you have to battle with them every.single.night.
Move on to your baking cabinet. No one needs 300 cookie cutters. Or 20 mixing bowls. Keep your favorites and put the others in a bin to sell at a garage sale or something. Continue on with this process for the rest of your cabinets.
The last thing you should do is ask yourself if the current set-up of your kitchen works for you? Last year I completely re-arranged where things were in mine. I put the storage containers closer to the fridge. My baking goods were moved by the spot I stood at the most when I mixed up a batch of something. And my pans and spatulas and all that were moved right by my stove. It’s working out much better. Plus, I had fun watching my husband fumbling around trying to find stuff for awhile.
If you do a lot of homemade cooking, I recommend getting these Wall-Mounted Spice Racks. I have one in my kitchen for my most-used spices and two in my pantry for lesser-used ones. They are all in alphabetical order and it’s a breeze when it comes time to cook or when I need to see which ones I’m getting low on. There’s no more digging around searching for paprika only to find out it’s empty!
And I saved the best for last–your fridge/freezer. I look at my fridge as a place where things go to hide and mold, if I’m not careful. A few months ago I ordered some great organizational shelves to double my fridge space and it’s been a lot easier to keep track of everything. Now when I was talking about making that low inventory list and told you to wait on the fridge it would come soon….this is it. This is when you are going to tackle cleaning it out, organizing it and making notes of what you need to buy. Don’t forget to check condiments as those expiration dates sneak by us fast! Take time to pull everything out of your freezer, too, and put it back in a more organized way. Anything that isn’t labeled and looks like a science project needs to go!
I cannot even begin to tell you how much I enjoy cooking more now that my kitchen isn’t a battle as far as being organized and clean. In the end you may find that you will enjoy it more too once you get yours set-up in a way that’s more fitting to your cooking habits.
1) Go through your kitchen gadgets and weed out those that only cause extra clutter.
2) Try to eliminate things that aren’t dishwasher safe or only cause you excess time when hand-washing dishes. Some pans might not fit this rule if you use them a lot.
3) Eliminate any pans that are only taking up space. You should keep only the ones you truly use!
4) Go through your baking supply cupboards and get rid of duplicates and re-organize.
5) Make sure your kitchen is set-up in a manner that allows the best accessibility for how you cook/bake.
6) Take time to clean out your fridge/freezer, toss out anything expired, re-organize and make notes of things you need to purchase.
When I got my kitchen set-up better it was almost like a cleansing process eliminating so much dinnertime stress!
How Does This Save Me Money?
1) You’ll be more likely to cook more meals at home if your kitchen is a warm and welcoming place and not something to battle. Add up all the money you spend each month on fast-food and/or carryout and it might surprise you!
2) You might bake more if you aren’t digging through duplicates upon duplicates of gadgets and things.
3) You won’t be throwing money away because things went bad in your fridge.
4) You might be able to freeze more in-season items at a better price if you have the freezer space to do so.
I’m hoping that if it isn’t already that you’ll take some time to make your kitchen a place that you can feel comfortable in and where you can make some great family memories by cooking and eating together each night! Stay tuned for more in this series this week!