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I love sharing my weekly meal plans with you, but I know that kitchen organization involves so much more than that! It means staying on top of what you already have, using up the bits and pieces that remain after meal prep, and also those little tasks to do each day that keep the kitchen clean and organized.
Today, I am sharing a set of free kitchen organization printables to help you stay on top of your kitchen!
Part of keeping on top of your kitchen is keeping it clean and organized, with the right tasks, tools and tips!
I’ve included all of the information you’re going to need in the free kitchen organization printables below (including cleaning checklists and meal planning forms) but I wanted to give you a few more details to really set you up for domestic bliss – in the kitchen, anyways!
I like using trays and clear plastic bins to help keep my fridge organized. These are completely removable and I don’t have to adjust shelves to add more storage. These are great for organizing school lunch items, keeping fresh herbs from getting crushed in the fridge, or keeping all recipe ingredients together for easy meal prep.
I try to keep items with like items, and put things back in the same spots all of the time. This also makes it easier for other people who use the kitchen and you don’t have to deal with people yelling to you from the kitchen to find out where the ketchup is! Condiments are always on the fridge door, ice cream toppings in the second shelf on the fridge door, cheese and lunch meats in the top drawer, grains (bread, wraps, etc) are always in the second vegetable crisper, etc.
In order to figure out where the best spots for your food groups are, look at the quantity of food you have for each category and also take note of your fridge habits. Are you likely to open the crisper and grab some veggies and fruit? Or do you go for whatever’s front and center? Do items on the middle shelf get pushed to the back and forgotten? Try to arrange your fridge with these habits in mind – rather than promising yourself that you (and your family) are going to break those habits. It’s easier to work around them than change them.
Finally, when you have the right set-up for your fridge contents, I like to keep a list of what’s in the fridge, and post it on the front of the fridge. This way, I can take a quick look at the sheet and know everything that’s in the fridge – without having to dig around, or risk missing anything tucked in a drawer or towards the back of the fridge.
I empty and clean my fridge almost every week – it’s necessary with all of the kids and my constant cooking, but you may be able to get away with doing it less often. It’s usually pretty quick since I do it so often and I don’t find myself cleaning up big spills and I usually catch upcoming expiry dates at least a week in advance (and add it to the “use this soon” list) – I would say this task takes less than 15 minutes each week and it’s essential to my kitchen sanity.
Clean Kitchen Routines
My kitchen is easily the room that gets messiest and cluttered the fastest. Not only do we prep and eat most meals in there, it’s also where I have my computer and work station set up most of the time, plus where we do our crafts and a lot of our learning activities. I think most houses, people just seem to gravitate towards the kitchen… and so does the mess!
I do try to clean as I cook, so that I don’t have a giant mess at the end of every day to clean up, but the free kitchen cleaning checklist included everything you will need to do each day to keep your kitchen clean and tidy! Add any additional tasks at the end specific to your own kitchen needs (i.e., if you have pets and need to clean up their dishes, etc).
One thing I always ensure that I do that really keeps my kitchen looking and feeling clean, is I try to never let the dishes build up. This can be really hard with my daycare kids making plenty of dirty dishes, and my constant cooking – but I find a full sink really overwhelming and it makes other tasks (like rinsing or draining) more difficult if the sink isn’t empty.
I always Palmolive because it’s effective and I don’t feel the need to wear gloves while cleaning with it, so I was definitely on board when they asked me to try out the new Palmolive® Fusion Clean™ Baking Soda & Grapefruit available at Kroger & Kroger banner stores. There’s also a New Palmolive® Fusion Clean™ Baking Soda & Lime that sounds like it would smell amazing, and I’m going to try that variety once this bottle runs out.
Even though I try not to let dishes sit, sometimes I do keep leftovers in the original container that I cooked them in, which can cause some stuck-on food when I go to wash it. For those dishes, the new Palmolive® Fusion Clean™ ultra concentrated formula is great because it really does loosen that food and remove that residue that sometimes requires a good bit of scrubbing.
I have a how to meal plan post that goes more in-depth about how I meal plan, but something that I haven’t discussed before is making the best of what you may already have on hand.
I think for many of us, grocery shopping is at least a weekly task that we view as essential. Often, we don’t question if we can stretch what we already have – and in turn, stretch our grocery budget more efficiently. While I mention in the original post to take note of what you already have, I also invite you to pause for a minute and think about whether you can make due with that. Are you buying more based on wants? Habit? Even if there are certain items you consider needs, will you limit yourself to those items at the grocery store – or will you cruise the flyer and the aisles looking for inspiration and deals?
I’m a total foodie (as evidence by all of the recipes I share here) so I totally get wanting some variety every week, but I also know that Ella & I saved over $1000 one summer by shopping our pantry and only spending $100/month on new groceries (milk, eggs and fresh produce). I know that a bit of creativity and determination can transform a handful of canned goods into a week of delicious & healthy recipes – and helps cut down on kitchen waste.
What to Do with the “Bits & Pieces”
For those of us who like to experiment in the kitchen, a common plague is all of those little “bits and pieces” that remain after cooking that you need to figure out a way to use up (or throw out which my frugal self won’t allow). Kitchen waste is a huge issue to me – not only is it money being throw away, I also think it’s a waste of my time having purchased and planned for those groceries, and it’s a waste of resources. I am trying to raise my daughter to be thankful for all that we have and conscious of the fact that there are many people who have less, so being smart about how we shop and use our resources is important to me.
I’ve included a printable for helping track what you need to use up, and then also a printable to help plan those individual ingredients into meals – but I think the first step is that mental shift in how we view shopping and meal planning (described above).
There are several recipe sites dedicated to helping you find recipes based on a handful of ingredients you already have on hand (My Fridge Food, Recipe Matcher and Super Cook are some examples), but you should also feel free to adjust favourite recipes, substituting ingredients based on what you have on hand. For example, greek yogurt is a great substitute for sour cream in recipes.
Also, don’t be so quick to throw away wilting ingredients – they can still taste great when included in dishes, like soups, casseroles, or even desserts!
This set of free kitchen organization printables comes with:
- “Use This First” sheets, helping you prevent kitchen waste
- “In the Fridge” & “In the Pantry” inventory sheets
- Weekly Menu Planner
- Grocery List
- “Bits & Pieces” brainstorm sheet
- Daily Kitchen Tasks checklist
- Weekly Kitchen Tasks checklist