Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Organization In My Kitchen


Fortunately for me, the theme of this week's WFMW is kitchen organization. If it had been closet organization or paperwork organization, I would have really had to work hard at coming up with some ideas. Kitchen organization I get though. In fact, I get it so much that I blog about it a lot and this post feels a little redundant. But I like to do what I'm told, so here you go.

  1. Menu planning, Grocery Lists, and Freezer Cooking. Although much of this work happens outside of the kitchen, it is my #1 way to maintain organization in my kitchen. I use a master menu plan, a master grocery list, and I grocery shop once a month. After the big shopping trip, I spend the next week to 10 days cooking extras and filling my freezer for the rest of the month. (You can read more about this here and here.)
  2. Saying No to the dinner rush-hour craziness. A few years ago, I got sick and tired of the busyness and craziness that seems to go along with that hour before dinner. So I decided I was done with it. Obviously, my family still needs to eat dinner though. Instead of starting dinner an hour before we eat, I now have dinner fully cooked by one o'clock most days, unless there is something special that needs last minute preparation. My freezer cooking has helped this process along even more. (You can read more about my method here and here.)
  3. Using the zone method. I have my kitchen set up in zones so that when I am working on something specific, nothing is more than an arms-length away. For example, my baking cabinet is in the same corner as my utensil drawer and my Kitchen-Aid mixer. Although I long for a large (huge!) kitchen, this is definitely a bonus of having a smaller kitchen.
  4. Keeping my most frequently used utensils on my counter. I have a nice white milk pitcher that I keep next to my block of knives that holds all of the things I use the most when cooking. This means I never have to dig through a drawer at the last minute for my whisk or a spatula when I am cooking. It is also next to the stove, so again, whatever I need is never more than an arms-length away.
  5. A well-organized pantry keeps me sane. There is nothing I love more than keeping my pantry well-organized. First of all, it's just fun to look at when it's full and in order. It reduces searches for food, especially when I need an item immediately. It is easier to tell at a glance what I need from the grocery store also. I store my beans and grains in glass jars so that I don't have to deal with a plastic bag/twist tie hassle whenever I need them. Plus, I like the way they look in their jars.
  6. Numbers 1 - 5 aside, I'm not perfect when it comes to kitchen organization. (Or anything else for that matter.) I still have a few cluttered cabinets and drawers that get neglected on a daily basis. My refrigerator could probably stand to be cleaned out more than once a month. And for some reason, even though they are regularly on my grocery list, I always forget to buy carrots at the grocery store.
Don't forget to stop by Shannon's blog to read more WFMW kitchen organization posts.

Betty Crocker

17 comments:

Michele 10:37 PM  

What a beautiful pantry! :) Everything is so wonderfully in sight, and within reach. Sometimes I miss having a pantry, but the kitchen cupboards have worked better than I expected, thankfully. :)

I love the pitcher for your utensils! I do the same thing, using a glass mason jar by our stove for wooden spoons.

Hope you have a good week!
Blessings,
Michele :)

Audra Krell 11:36 PM  

You are fantastically organized. I too, have started cooking dinner earlier in the day and it has changed our lives. Also doing simple things like setting the table for dinner right after breakfast, makes my day go much better.

Baby Tunnel Exodus 11:42 PM  

I love your Zone tip; I'm going to implement that this week! Blessings, Whitney

Blue Castle 11:48 PM  

I like the zone tip. I can sure use that. Beautiful pantry, by the way. :)

Heidi Boos 12:26 AM  

Excellent tips. Thanks for sharing. I especially like your attention to detail with meal planning. I've had so many aspirations to do this, but haven't followed through with it yet!

Sonshine 9:45 AM  

I am so glad I read your post before I finished writing my WFMW post! I read your post thinking "I could have posted the same thing!". Are you sure we haven't met somewhere before and taken notes of each other's kitchens?? LOL We have lots of the same kitchen organization implemented in our kitchens.

Well other than the once a month shopping! I still can't wrap my head around doing something like that! I stand in awe of you for doing your shopping monthly.

I love your pantry!

Thanks for sharing! :)

Leanne 9:50 AM  

I think when we were in the queue for the organising gene you got my share.

And you're added to the feed reader too. I'll definitely be back again.

Jerralea 10:01 AM  

Your pantry is beautiful!

So you really buy groceries only once a month? You must be some planner!

heidi 10:34 AM  

You are an inspiration! I only go 2 weeks ahead and I don't premake and freeze much. I did after I had my 4th child this summer, but only for 2 weeks worth in advance.

Do you have an extra storage place for all the staples? I just don't know where I'd put it all.

Coco 10:56 AM  

HOLY COW! First off I am in love with this post. I read through it like 3 times and took notes. Your amazing. I have taken on the challenge of planning out the main menu for next year, and your post made me realize I can freeze so many of the things I will be making. IM SO HAPPY.

I also wanted to know if you used a program to organize your shopping or if it is your "own" program.

Thanks Again

-Coco

marigold 12:50 PM  

Love the photos of your beautiful kitchen! I wish I could cook starting at one, what tips do you have for work outside the home folks?

Jennifer 1:10 PM  

This is such a wonderful post! Great ideas. I got so excited about your link that talks about cooking everything in the morning that I posted a link on my blog. You should start a website with lots and lots of those morning plans! I sure would pay for that. I am going to use that one that you posted, and I am pretty sure I won't be able to come up with more plans like you did.

Sherry 4:45 PM  

Great ideas! I need to get something like a pitcher or crock for my most used utensils, too.

Have a great WFMW!!
Sherry

Heidi A. 7:44 PM  

What a great blog -- and some inspirational ideas! Don't thinks seem to run more smoothly when there is some order and organization!

We've got a menu list on the fridge as my children are now old enough to help with meals. It saves a lot of time trying to decide what to fix every few hrs.!

Would you mind if I add you to our new homeschooling list? It's like a directory for homeschooler bloggers and websites.

If you like it http://homeschoollist.blogspot.com will you put a link on your site back to us?

Then, if you have any other great sites -- let us know!

Thanks!!!

Mrs. Tara 11:54 PM  

Thank you so much for sharing. I can't wait to read all the posts you referenced in your post on organization. I am tired and going to bed so I will be back to read those. You gave me some amazing tips that I can put to use. Thanks so much for sharing. Have a great day!

Amy 12:46 PM  

I am loving your master lists- that is a great idea! I have done that in the past and need to get back to it again. Thanks for the inspiration!!

Angie 11:58 PM  

I just used your master grocery list tonight! Although, then my husband figured it out how to put in in Excel so that I can tweak some of it to things we often use. Now I'm really psyched to add in those things, and I plan on posting it in the kitchen. That way, we can mark things as needing them throughout the month.

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