- Store kitchen items where you use them: pots and pans near the stove, food-storage wraps and containers near the refrigerator, plates & cups within arms length of the dishwasher, spices near the stove, etc.
- In the kitchen pantry, organize shelves and areas by type of food such as pastas, cereals, and soups. Categorizing makes it quicker and easier to find a particular item. Labeling shelves enables anyone to help put away groceries. I just LOVE my pantry since labeling the shelves. It stays tidier and I can ALWAYS find what I need.
- Designate certain shelves or areas of your refrigerator for storing leftovers. It will increase the likelihood that the leftovers won’t be forgotten. Label and date all leftover containers. (See post "Eating Leftovers - Really!" for more info on leftovers.) Keep labels and markers handy somewhere near the fridge.
- Organize recipes in a three-ring binder. (See post "Consolidating Cookbooks" - I've already shared this idea!) Use tabbed index sheets to create sections (Appetizers, Desserts, etc.). Sort recipes by category. Then insert same-category recipes back-to-back in top-loading clear plastic sheet protectors (affixing odd-size clippings, notes, or recipes to a sheet of 8.5x11 inch paper first). Instead of saving entire cookbooks for a few of your favorite recipes, photocopy the recipes and put them in your recipe notebook.
- Before heading out to the grocery store, clean out your fridge - including the "staples" in the door (like salad dressings, jam, etc). Throw out uneaten leftovers past their "good by" date, and check staple items like salad dressings for expiration dates as well. Doing this before heading to the store will help make sure you don't forget anything. It will also keep your fridge from getting stuffed full of out-of-date (and potentially dangerous) food.
- Use your computer to print out a weekly meal plan blank chart. Print it and laminate it, then use it to write out your meal plan each week. I have a fairly generic form I can email anyone who is interested... (see email address in the right-hand column to request one)
- Store spices in a drawer, laying on their sides. You can even go the extra mile and alphabetize them so they're easier to find - but that's only if you're as OCD as I am. In a drawer, you can see all that you have and find what you need without pushing anything out of the way.
Tomorrow: "Time Organization"