Simplified 365: The Kitchen - Day 28: Organizing the Food

Simplified 365 - Day 28: Organizing the Food

Now that we’ve done the dirty work, it’s time for the fun part!  We are going to organize your food.  Stay with me, this is where our hard work pays off. 

Set the timer for 20 minutes, grab your notebook and let’s start planning.  You should have already written down a few pain points in your kitchen on Day 1.  What works? What doesn’t?  Do you find yourself crossing the kitchen constantly while cooking to get the needed gadgets and spices?  Is your tableware stored far away from the dishwasher or dining room table causing unnecessary trips? Does your counter always pile up with baby bottles and plates?  Is your food stored in the garage, necessitating several trips every time you want to cook a meal? Is your food stored in 3 different places, maybe the garage, pantry and hall closet, confusing you as to where the hell you put the ketchup? Do you need a drying rack but don’t have one? Or a drying towel and a little discipline? :)

When you’re planning your kitchen, you want efficiency to be your main goal.  While almost all of my clients have hated the physical layout of their kitchen and it’s lack of storage, I don’t think I’ve ever run into one that was completely hopeless.  With a little planning and some paring down, even a tiny kitchen can be useful. In fact, I personally think tiny kitchens are the best.  If you can stand in the middle and touch everything, oh man, so easy.  No hiking to put the dishes away or grab the spice you need for the veggie  stir-fry.  But I’m lazy, and not a chef.  So. Moving on.

A few tips on planning where your food should be stored: 

The spices should be in a drawer close to the stove and prep counter.  If the drawer closest to the oven gets very warm, consider putting the spices one over so the heat doesn’t degrade them.  Consider your habits when you cook.  Do you usually add spices as you’re prepping food, or to the pan once it’s simmering on the stove?  Put the spices closest to that location.  As stated on the spice day, square jars are best for storage in a drawer.

Do you have a pantry? Or do you have to use a shelf or two in the main kitchen area to store the food? If you have a pantry, great, have a shelf each for:

  • Cans
  • Jars
  • Boxed foods
  • Snacks
  • Coffee and teas

If 2 shelves is all you’ve got, don’t worry, you’re golden.  You’ll just need to be mindful when you shop.  Consider making a list of the items you purchase regularly.  Consider sticking to that list. ;-)

The main takeaway is to group like items together in whatever space you have available.  And aim for it all to be in one place, either the pantry or the kitchen shelves. Then, be cognizant of that space when you go shopping.  If space is limited, stocking up at Costco may not be the way to go. Also be cognizant of how stuffed each shelf is.  Based on the amount of expired food I’ve tossed in people’s homes, if it’s hidden, you won’t eat it. 

One last thing. If you have a bit of a “prepper” gene like I do, don’t stockpile in the kitchen the food you’re saving for the zombie apocalypse. Consider purchasing some of the small, but nutrient dense, food bars and keeping them with your emergency preparedness box. 

Now that you’ve mentally planned out where each type of food will go, it’s time to pull all of the food out on the counter and then place it back according to plan.  You’ve got this!

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