A guest post by:
Rachel Rosenthal, Organizing Expert & Founder
Rachel and Company
As a busy mom, I’ve learned a thing or two about how kitchen organization can impact not only what we eat, but how we eat. I’ve developed some tried-and-true strategies to address everything from food prep and grab-and-go snack stations to storage solutions.
- How to Prep to Prevent Food Waste
I know that we all are busy and have little time we all have in our days, but I promise you that a little advanced planning will save you a ton of time over the course of the week. Start off by doing a quick sweep of your fridge and pantry to figure out what things you can use up, and then put together a shopping list based on the ingredients you need to buy. This will help to cut down on unnecessary trips to the grocery store while also discouraging food waste.
Speaking of – researchers have found that [ctt template=”1″ link=”s2Ve7″ via=”no” ]“The average American household throws out $640 worth of food each year.”[/ctt] That’s 16% of the food that you buy during the year! Why? Food waste is created by not knowing what’s in your refrigerator and pantry to begin with, as well overbuying at the store and underusing what you bring home. The end result is spoiled or expired foods that end up in the garbage. What a huge waste!
Mindful food planning means that you’re not scrambling to throw something together when it comes to mealtime. When it comes to basic food prep, I like to start with the essential fruits and veggies that I gravitate toward whenever they’re in season. I set up a workstation on the kitchen counter with a cutting board and some little grab-and-go containers or baggies. After the washing and slicing is done, I portion things out so that there are enough go-to options for the week. Everything then goes into their designated spots in the fridge.
- How to Organize Your Kitchen Better
An important part of kitchen organization is taking stock of what you have. Pull out everything and forming specific groups from within broader categories of items like your drinks, fruits and veggies, and snacks. If you have food in boxes or bags, like granola bars, ditch the packaging. It takes up unnecessary space, and makes it harder to see how much you have on hand.
Now that you can see everything in their respective groups, incorporate containers and labels. By using separate containers for each item, it’s much easier to see what you have at-a-glance. I like the idea of organizing my kitchen products in clear bins so that I never run out of the things I use on a regular basis. Because I can see what’s inside my bins, if I start running low on something, I can simply add it to the shopping list I keep near my fridge for my next grocery store run.
Another important thing to think about is food placement. To encourage your family to snack healthfully, pick a space in your fridge or pantry that’s at eye level and accessible for even the smallest family members. If you can, try to adjust the shelving height to accommodate your products, and don’t forget to leave enough room for those scheduled meal service deliveries. This might require a little creative problem-solving to make everything fits, but it’s worth the upfront effort.
- How to Store Your Cleaning Supplies
Cleaning supplies are often tucked away in small, awkward spaces (i.e. under the sink) but regardless of the cramped quarters, the same basic organizing principles apply. First and foremost, categorize your options. This means that the “specialty cleaners” like granite and stainless steel spray should be grouped together in the kitchen, and the toilet bowl cleaner and shower spray can grouped together in the bathroom. Maximize the space under the sink by adding stackable storage like bins and drawers to make the most out of the open space, but shallow items like low bins or turntables are helpful for corralling items when vertical space is not in your favor.
- How to Get Your Family Involved
Regardless of the area that you are organizing, having the kids help to categorize and create labels are great ways to make them feel involved in the process. Have them help out in the pantry by grouping like items and checking for expiration dates, or let them choose their favorite colored bin to use for their toy storage. Making them responsible for these little tasks will help them understand the process and make it easier for them to know how the organization can be maintained. And remember, always add labels in spaces where multiple people need access (i.e. the kitchen and pantry) so that everyone is on the same page for what goes where and keep everything at a height that is accessible for the intended user(s).