5 ways to be more efficient in the kitchen

There are many parts of my house that are insanely chaotic.

For example, the closet in our office (which happens to not have a door) is piled to the ceiling with boxes of stuff that we simply moved from one place to the other.

My desk is messy. My closet is filled with things I don’t wear. Our hall closet is crammed with stuff, only a quarter of which we actually use. The laundry room is cluttered. Our important files are crammed in with gushy love notes sentimental papers. We still haven’t put away all of our wedding gifts from last June.

I could go on and on.

However, when it comes to the kitchen, I’m quite organized. In fact, I can tell you at any point how well stocked we are on any food item and when we’ll need to buy more. I clip coupons and shop sales.

I keep a crazy-accurate grocery list. In fact, I pre-plan all of our meals one week ahead.

(How annoying, right?)

But bear in mind that the kitchen is the one place in my house where I’m organized and completely up-to-date. So, while I can’t tell you the best way to organize your shoes, jewelry or closets, I do feel qualified to offer some helpful tips on staying organized and efficient in the kitchen.

So here it is: 5 ways to be more efficient in the kitchen.

No. 1) Keep a master menu list.

Create a long list of all of the dinners that you make on a regular basis in a Word document. Keep it on your desktop for easy access.

When I am feeling undecided on what to cook the next week, it’s helpful to pull up this rotating menu and compare it to which meats are on sale (and what I feel like eating).

Try to keep it up to date. If you try something new and like it enough top make it often, add it to your list.

A small tate of my menu master list | Brave New Food

No. 2) Keep a running grocery list on your fridge.

When you are running low on something you know you’ll need the next week, simply write it on your running grocery list. (The magnetic kind with matching magnetic pencils are my favorite and can be found at stores like Miachels.)

One of the biggest complaints I hear about this notion is that it’s so easy to walk out of the door without your A) grocery list, B) reusable grocery bags, and C) your coupons.

My advice is to keep each of these things in the same spot in your house and do not leave your house for the grocery story without all three. Make sticky notes each week reminding yourself until it becomes habit. Like anything else, if you keep at it, you’ll get used to it.

No. 3) Keep food staples in stock.

There is nothing worse than getting halfway through a recipe and realize you don’t have a key ingredient. Keep your staples, like flour, pasta, olive oil, garlic, etc., in stock before you run out of them. Shop in bulk if there are good sales or buy-one-get-ones.

No. 4) Use coupons.

However, there are important rules to follow. Only clip coupons for things that you already buy. Do not use coupons for things you’d “like to try.” That’s what they want you to do.

Get in the habit of clipping them every Sunday. If you’re like me,  you’ll actually come to look forward to seeing what coupons are available each week. (Please don’t unsubscribe.)

And, the very best way to utilize coupons is to use them for things that are already on sale. So, if your favorite granola bars are on a buy-one-get-one sale, then your best possible deal would be combining a coupon with it.

But, no matter what, if you’re using a coupon for something you’d buy anyway, you’re saving money.

No. 5) Your freezer is your friend.

Buy meats (that you normally use) when they are on sale and freeze them in freezer-safe bags for future use. The same goes for other items, such as breads.

Check out my freezer below.

 

Frozen meats (The bottom shelf broke, so only the pork tenderloin will stay without falling off.)

 

Taking full advantage of my freezer space.

Tip: I like to section off leftovers in individual, square reusable plastic containers for future lunches (see above). It’s kind of like eating frozen dinners (except actually tasty).

If you have any helpful kitchen tips, please feel free to share them in the comments section below!

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6 Responses to 5 ways to be more efficient in the kitchen

  1. I loved this post! I often feel scattered and overwhelmed in the kitchen, especially if the dish I’m trying to make requires a lot of dishes, pots, pans, and ingredients. This will also help me to plan out my menu better…I often only think one meal at a time. With your tips in mind, I’ll be able to plan out a whole week’s menu!

  2. Alison says:

    Love these suggestions! I also like to take Sundays to get my head on right for the week – look through recipes I would like to try and then go do a shop for the week to get prepared! If I am REALLY on top of things, I do this on Saturday morning so I can hit up the farmer’s market!

    • Nice! I hit up the Publix circular on Thursday nights and then clip coupons on Sunday. I pretty much plan the menu for the week and my grocery list (and comparing sales with the online circular) on Friday afternoon for my Saturday morning trip. It’s worth the planning to have it all taken care of and thought out for the week. :) PS) Am enjoying your blog! I’ve never tried quinoa! :)

  3. Ron says:

    the Freezer is my Friend…I must remember that

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