Kitchen Organization. I want to show you how I've been organizing my Meal Planning. Let's go ahead and call this Phase 1. We'll both feel better about it that way.
Organizing and streamlining your life is about making something easier and more efficient. It's not about making it look Pinterest worthy. Say aloud and repeat. I had a mental debate about doing this post because 1. It's obvious and 2. It's not pretty. And then I realized that it's been really helpful for me this week and I know it might be really helpful for some of you too.
We all know the post that reads: head on over to the dollar store and score 15 little matching plastic bins in all white or clear or maybe pick up some cute wicker baskets for just $7 each with a 50% off coupon. Then whip up something gorgeous on your cricket and laminate and hang it with twine. Or make some cute little chalkboard signs using placecard holders to label each bin. I'm not knocking those posts. In fact, I'm calling those ideas Phase 2. Because they are awesome and I want to implement them one day. I want that to be my life.
But the honest truth is that I'm still stuck on Phase 1. Phase 1 is free and took an extra five minutes while I put the groceries away in peace. The babes stayed in the other room after helping me unload the bags and snacked on marshmallows I bribed them with. Phase 1 is where you know you want to be more organized so you don't let the idea of taking a 2 year old and a 3 year old into the dollar store or your lack of creativity or ownership of a cricket stop you from making your life easier. You don't let the bridge between you and $50+ dollars of kitchen cabinet baskets keep you from being organized. You don't let old and unfinished kitchen cabinets keep you from living your life. You just grab what you can find and make it work.
I started with my coffee. I corralled all of my tervis tumbler tops, my sugar jar (just a mason jar filled 3/4 of the way to the top and a teaspoon kept inside), my coffee (kept in a special coffee tuperware), and, filters. I pull it down every morning and then put it away. I'm not big on kitchen counter clutter.
So I pretty much had an idea of what some of my simple meals were while I was grocery shopping. Then I came home and put the things I needed (minus refrigerated items) into a bin. Whatever I could find. I labeled the bin with the name of the meal and the ingredients. When Matthew got home from work I let him pick a bin. Simple.
Okay, judging over. Do you feel ready to go organize your cabinets today? Let's talk about what's working for you. Do you organize by item or by meal? I always organized by item thinking I was working efficiently by grouping like things together. And you know what? That's not working for me. All it did was applaud my need for order by staring at two rows of kidney beans neatly lined up by dark or light. It didn't get my dinner made.
The flexibility of choosing from several available meals feels less forced. I've also made a bin for meals that are mostly made from refrigerated items, like our salads. That's helping to make them feel like a good viable option.
We still keep certain extra items like pasta or canned goods that aren't designated for a meal yet all grouped together by item in the bottom cabinet. The kids eat things like penne pasta and black beans pretty regularly so I keep them stocked. By keeping our "designated meal items separate, it allows for creativity with non-planned meals. Matthew can still shop our bottom cabinet and throw together a pasta or nachos without leaving a planned meal minus one necessary ingredient.
This system of organizing by meal is working wonders for our family but every family is different and you just need to find what system works for you.