Kitchen Organization Tips

Some Kitchen organization tips for busy people who want to provide their family with great nutrition.

Kitchens can be daunting nightmares. We are a busy society, and keeping up with all the tasks in a home, providing a family with reasonably nutritious meals, juggling work schedules, and transporting kids to their various activities can be a struggle. Sometimes when this is the case, the kitchen suffers. If you look at your kitchen throw up your hands in exasperation, and resort to fast-food on a daily basis, it is time to invest some time in organizing your kitchen. Time to invest in the future of cooking in your household.

The first step in organizing your kitchen is taking stock of what you have. This is a big job, so have some patience and attempt to accomplish only one small task a day. If your time is limited, try cleaning out one cupboard or drawer at a time. The affirmation you need to repeat to yourself as you go through this process is: "It is okay to throw things away." Learn this thought and put it in action. If there is a pan you hate using, get rid of it. If you are holding onto your children's baby cups, and they are teenagers, it is time to get them out of the cupboard. If your husband is using your cupboards to house his beer stein collection, carefully box them and move them into the garage where they belong. Your space in the kitchen is sacred, do not allow clutter to defile it.

Once the cupboards are emptied out, the focus should be on easy access and return. If you can easily get to something and return it to its designated space without a hassle, the chances of your kitchen staying organized is greater. Put the special holiday pans, or rarely used utensils in the back of the cupboard, and the favored mixing bowl and wooden spoons in the very front. These items that are used frequently should not be more than one space deep in your cupboard.

Your food stuffs need to be organized also. Hopefully all your Y2k supplies have been utilized by now. If not, go through those that you are simply not going to use, and donate the canned goods and non-perishables to surplus food pantries. Remember, donations should be in date since food distributors cannot give outdated food away

This process of going through your food will help you with another organizational task. It will give you an idea of what foodstuffs you actually have in your cupboard, and allow you to categorize them by use. If you bake, all your baking ingredients should be in one cupboard. Your soups, and convenience foods might live separately from your cooking spices and basic ingredients. You need a space for single ingredients like dried beans, rice, noodles, canned vegetables, etc. In this way, when you are approaching a kitchen task you will not need to rummage through more than one cupboard at a time. Some people take this step even further by setting their cupboards up in date sensitive and size regulated systems. This is great as long as the task of organizing does not become an obsession. And start using up your precious time. Usually when a system is in place this kind of organization is not necessary. Some people keep supplies around to last them months or even years. If for philosophical reasons, you are one of those people, some kind of foodstuff rotating should be implemented.

Otherwise, it is not necessary to worry about the dates on food if you organize your shopping trips too. If you allow your cupboards to become packed with food that is not sorted, and organized, you will have a huge mess on your hands. In this case you do not know what you have, or what you can make for dinner, the result is pile ups of ingredients and no process for using what is available.

Making a weekly or monthly menu is essential to kitchen organization. If you know what you have and you know what you need, the trips to the grocery store will be both more economical and efficient,. You will find that when you are following a meal plan, there is less impulse buying and you save money all the way around. A menu plan does not have to be a horrible constraint to cooking. Your plan is there as a guide. If you have hot-dogs planned for Thursday, but are in the mood for spaghetti, a meal trade can be made. If there is an incredible deal at the market on something you did not plan for in the week's menu, you can make the choice to deviate. Following a guide allows you the comfort of a fall back plan, but does not eliminate the opportunity for creativity and spontaneity.

Some other kitchen organization tips inspired from the book, Confessions of an Organized Homemaker include:

· Make only one trip from the table to the dishwashing center by keeping an empty tub by the table to carry all things from the table at one time.

· If you use a dishwasher sort the silverware as you put them in to be washed to make putting dishes away easier.

· Keep all the needed baking utensils such as measuring spoons, measuring cups, wooden spoons, sifters, etc. in one mixing bowl in the cupboard, so you only need to organize ingredients before beginning any baking project.

· Avoid duplicates of anything to eliminate clutter in the kitchen.

These techniques and tips will be helpful in creating a kitchen that is user friendly and neat. It takes some initial effort, and some continuing care, but the outcome is a pleasant environment for providing your family nutritional basics. Cooking becomes a much more pleasant task when the kitchen is organized and set up for efficient food production

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