When it’s time to start making dinner, there is nothing more frustrating than walking into a messy kitchen with a sink full of dishes. Before you can start cooking you have to clean up the dishes, which leads to cleaning the fridge and then organizing your kitchen counter. When you’re finally ready to start cooking you have to find everything you need for the recipe. You spend precious minutes looking for all the utensils and missing ingredients. Before you know it, you’ve spent two hours in your kitchen and haven’t even started dinner yet. You give up and call the pizza guy. Sound familiar?
This was my story for years. I was tired of cleaning my kitchen and then making yet another mess. So I decided to change how I did things. Over time, I came up with three great tips to live by in the kitchen. Follow these tips and enjoy a more efficient kitchen. Of course you will always have to do the dishes—but these tips will help that task go a little bit quicker.
3 Tips for Organizing your Kitchen
How many sets of measuring cups do you really need? If you have four you may have two too many. I have found that the fewer dishes I have the less mess I have to clean up. I once read about a family where everyone had their own cup, plate, bowl, and set of silverware. Everyone was in charge of making sure their own dishes were clean. That is all they used every day. They did have a set of nice dishes for when company came over. This meant that mom did not end up doing dishes all day long.
In my kitchen I had three sets of measuring cups and spoons. Tons of tupperware, spatulas, mismatched dish sets, and more. My cupboards and drawers were full and there was always a sink full of dishes. I solved this problem by limiting the number of things I owned. For example, I went from ten spatulas to six—four small and two big. I donated my three sets of mismatched measuring cups and utensils. I now have two sets of metal cups and spoons. Declutter your cupboards and countertops by buying appliances that do the work of many appliances.
For example, using a high powered blender gets rid of the hand mixer, ice cream machine, grain mill, food processor and, in some cases, a large mixer! Look through your drawers and cupboards. Take note on how much and many items in them you need. Donate or sell the things that are taking up more room than they deserve!
2. Clean your fridge and pantry.
By keeping your fridge and pantry clean, you will find your ingredients more quickly and save money by not buying food you already have.
Read how to efficiently clean your fridge here: http://www.blendtec.com/blog/a-healthy-fridge-quick-smoothie/
Having a tidy cupboard will help get your shopping list together more quickly. You can easily see what you have without digging to find it. Keep bulk things easy to see by using glass mason jars. Pour your bulk items into these jars and label them. It makes seeing what you have so simple and quick!
3. Make a meal plan.
My favorite tip for a more efficient kitchen is meal planning! When you have a meal plan in place and you know your kitchen is stocked, you will have a great week. You will no longer wander through cupboards in a 5pm “what’s-for-dinner” panic. It’s all in your kitchen. You know you can count on having dinner every night you have planned for.
Meal planning boils down to three simple steps. Find 4-6 recipes you enjoy and find some common ingredients for those recipes so you can buy in bulk. Make a little extra so you have lunch or dinner leftovers. Use an online program or app to help build your plan and list. There are so many programs and apps out there to use! Find one that works for you. Having a plan keeps things simple, organized and efficient for your busy weeks!
Putting it all together.
Let's apply these three tips to your busy week. Imagine that you walk into your kitchen before dinner. You look at your fridge and glance at your menu plan. Quickly find your recipe and ingredients from your decluttered fridge and pantry. Cook dinner in your tidy kitchen. After dinner, rinse the dishes and put them in the dishwasher. You spend 10 minutes cleaning up dinner after everyone eats. The dishes are washing, the family is fed and you have some time to put your feet up before bedtime. These three tips have made my time in the kitchen much more efficient. I hope you find these tips work well for you too. Plus, organizing your kitchen could be a great resolution for the new year! I would LOVE to hear how you make your kitchen more organized and efficient. Please comment below.
About the Author Natalie Hixson loves finding new ways to make life fun, simple and balanced. She owns two businesses with her husband as well as homeschools her three daughters in Bozeman, Montana. She motivates and inspires the overwhelmed mom entrepreneur at www.striveforprogress.com.