I’m still trying to keep my kitchen clutter under control… so Becci of Bedrest & Beyond is guest-posting today, sharing her favorite kitchen tips!
Few things in my home bother me as much as a dirty kitchen, which is probably because as a mother, I spend so much time there. I find that if my kitchen is clean, my day goes better, but it took me a while to get a good routine down in the kitchen.
Oh, I still have days where it gets away from me. You know, the days where all three kids are crying and I’m lucky if we all eat and get dressed. But for the most part, I have some relatively simple things that make a big difference in keeping things tidy and running smoothly.
Do Your Best to Declutter.
It’s hard to keep an orderly kitchen when you have too much stuff. Look through your cupboards and see where you have too many of a particular item, then decide to bless someone by giving the extras away. You’ll have an easier time keeping track of things and someone else will have something they’ve been needing. The trick is to move quickly, though. If you think about it too long, you’ll end up keeping everything.
Organize and then Organize Some More!
Group like items together in the same cupboard and make sure to designate a specific place for everything. Try using containers for baked goods. Instead of leaving things like baking soda, salt, and cocoa in their original containers, I like to use a series of containers that stack easily, labeling each one on the front. I do the same for each type of dried beans or rice.
Since we don’t have a pantry in our smaller home, I use a tall bookshelf in the garage for anything that is still sealed, such as canned goods, baby food, cereal boxes, snacks, drinks, pasta, beans, and rice.
Clean as You Go.
This is one of the things that helps me the most. Did you just finish using that mixing bowl and spoon? Do a quick rinse in the sink and throw it in the dishwasher if it fits. I like to keep one side of the sink designated for the hand-washing items that have already been rinsed. That way, nothing sits around getting food dried on it and I can just wash it all quickly when I’m done with my meal prep.
Same goes for clearing the table after a meal. Scrape and rinse those dishes right away and you’ll save yourself time and elbow grease later. If they go straight into the dishwasher after a meal, you’ll thank yourself when there are no overwhelming piles of dishes laying around. I also try to do a quick daily wipe-down and sweep.
Create a Menu Plan.
There are a variety of ways to do this, but having a plan is essential. It eliminates waste and keeps your budget on track as well. Planning a menu of healthy, made from scratch foods will keep your family and your pocketbook healthy.
Cooking from scratch is not as hard as you might think, and the taste and health benefits are worth the small bit of extra effort. Start with several meals you know your family likes and build from there.
I like to do seasonal menu plans when I can, cooking the same rotation of foods for three months at a time. I do a lot more stews and soups in the winter and a lot more fresh salads in the summer.
But don’t make menu planning a chore. Add recipes as you find things you like and keep them all in a binder for easy reference so that when it’s time to plan, you can just thumb through it and pick what sounds good. (If you need some weekly plans to get started, Michele posts her healthy & seasonal weekly menu plans (all three meals a day!) for free each Sunday here at Frugal Granola!)
Make a List or Two.
Lastly, lists keep me on track. One of my favorite things I have is my master grocery list. I have compiled and printed a list of everything I like to keep on hand as well as everything I stock up on for particular meals. I have also made a weekly shopping list for each season of meals (4 shopping trips a month).
On my master list I have check boxes beside each item. Right before I go shopping, I go through my house with both lists and check the items on my master list that I don’t have enough of on hand for the month. The weekly list has specific amounts for each item as well as general size/weight that is needed. If I need multiples of an item, I put the proper number of roman numerals to the side of the check box.
For the household items that run out, I keep a running list on the fridge. When one is getting low or runs out, I write it on the list. On shopping day, I check those items off on my master list as well. I always write those check marks with a pencil because as I shop, I simply erase each check mark (and corresponding roman numerals) as I pick up the item(s). When there are no more check marks on my list, I know I’m done!
This helps me keep my kitchen and household well stocked as well as completely eliminates my impulse purchases.
There you have it! This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these are some of the things that help keep my kitchen looking clean and my heart a little more peaceful. I hope they help you do the same.
What are your favorite tips for managing the kitchen?
This post is part of Kitchen Tip Tuesdays at Tammy’s Recipes.
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Becci is a stay-at-home mom from Portland, Oregon. She loves the Lord and enjoys spending time with her husband David and their three children; Dorothy (4), Charlotte (2), and William (6 months). In her spare time she likes to read, write, sing, cook, and craft. You can visit her blog at: Bedrest & Beyond.