If you’ve spent time in the kitchen and cooked something more than ramen noodles, then you know that 4-6 hours in the kitchen is not uncommon, especially if you manage 3 meals a day and have a family to take care of. Time is precious, we all only have 24 hours a day, and 5-8 of those hours are spent sleeping. What we aim to help you with is to shave off hours of time in the kitchen a day by implementing some of the kitchen pantry organization tips below.
Save Time with Better Kitchen Organization
Bulk Prep & Freezing Applicable Foods
Imagine not having to prep for dinner and all you had to do was throw the ingredients into the pot or pan and whip up a meal within 15 minutes. How much time would that save you? That’s what bulk prepping ingredients such as vegetables, herbs and spices can do for you. Next time you have to prep ingredients, double the amount of put it in the fridge. And if you’re making dinners such as stews, soups, rice or pasta, freezing them can save you just as much time!
Leftovers for Lunch
No one wants to spend over an hour just to make lunch everyday, so what if you made extra leftover dinner the evening before and use that for some of your lunches throughout the week? That can certainly free up a few afternoons out of the week. Don’t like reheating foods? It’s probably because you’re using a microwave. Try reheating on the stovetop or oven if possible, add a bit of water if applicable, add some simple fresh ingredients and the food will taste much fresher.
Clean and Cook
There are 3 parts to making a meal: prep, cook and clean. The last thing you want to worry about after making a meal is cleaning. Therefore, the solution to shorten the cleaning phase after eating, is to clean as you cook! There is always time while you’re prepping or cooking to clean, such as while you’re waiting for the pot to boil or food to be heated. You can always find the 15-30 seconds of stillness to wash something. Just do it. You’ll always thank yourself afterwards.
Functional Kitchen Pantry Cabinets & Shelving
The foundation to better kitchen organization is a functional and intelligently designed kitchen pantry. Sure, the average kitchen pantry can be worked with, but if you can’t easily find and store all of your ingredients and minimize the time and effort prepping, you will lose valuable time and decrease enjoyment. It may be time to upgrade your pantry.
Group & Categorize Items
Depending on your household’s lifestyle and common staple foods, you can customize the grouping of your ingredients to minimize the time gathering ingredients and mental effort in analyzing what you need and where to find those ingredients. For instance, maybe the lunchbox you make for your children contains the same sandwich every day. Those ingredients can be grouped together in the fridge and the pantry – maybe even have their own basket if deemed beneficial. Taco Tuesdays or Pizza Fridays? You get the idea.
Use Spice & Ingredient Containers
One of the largest collections you may have that are used most frequently are your spices, which adds flavor to your food. If you buy your spices from different brands, your containers may be all different shapes and sizes. Sometimes, you may buy bulk spices in packets or bags because they’re cheaper that way or that specific spice doesn’t come with a dispenser. The solution is to have uniform containers with labels. Same goes for bulk ingredients like flour, rice, pasta, etc. Having them in uniform containers makes finding ingredients easy and saves time.
Intelligent Kitchen Workflow
Intelligent kitchen workflow goes hand-in-hand with grouping items together, but with more emphasis on minimizing the amount of walking you do. In order to do that, keeping similar ingredients together or meal ingredients together such as breakfast, lunch and dinner can save a lot of time. To clarify further, the greatest benefit (in my opinion) is that cooking becomes less of a hassle and thus, more enjoyable.
Remember, you don’t have to do everything yourself. Have your kids help out and be creative enough to make it enjoyable for all who participate. If that doesn’t work, use the logic that everyone does their fair share. If you’re doing all the prepping and cooking, the least they can do is to wash the dishes! This goes for frequent comers/guests that eat your food. Ask them for help, it’s only fair as they are no longer just a “visitor”. Surely, they can’t get mad to help out after a full tummy 😉
Implementing the tips above will definitely save you a lot of time in the kitchen and if done right, you may even save many hours a day. If you find difficulty in implementing the steps above, it may be because of your kitchen pantry cabinets, which probably needs to be upgraded to be functional. Otherwise, your pantry can easily be a mess.
If you’re in the Washington Area, you have a unique opportunity to have a kitchen pantry designed in a 3D software, specific to your needs and lifestyle for FREE. Creative Closets offer Free In-home Designs and Consultations so call (425) 276-7764 today.