5 Steps that help you save money with organizing
Family life is always busy. There is dance class, soccer practice, math tutoring, chess club. It doesn’t stop. Do you feel like you need a break?
Does this sound familiar to you?
In a hurry you write a shopping list for a quickly improvised meal plan. You are going to follow next week. You want to save money and plan on getting the value packs from Costco. After shopping at Costco, there are a few Items you only can get at Fred Meyer and the other only at Newseason. Before you know it running errands is turning into a four hour ordeal.
At home, it is close to dinner time and you rush all your items into the house and try to put them away. But where!? The Pantry is so full of stuff! Ok! let’s put some out in the garage there is that extra closet which you meant to store your winter clothes in. Finally you get all your groceries away, you have about thirty minutes left before everyone gets home and is starving. But wait!! You need to pick up your oldest from soccer. On the way home you decide that you are just too tired to cook and you order pizza.
A week has passed and you are happy, that you managed to cook at least some of the meals you planned last week. You are sitting there again and create a menu plan and a shopping list for the week. You think you can manage by only going to Fred Meyer. But wait you need maple syrup and Costco has that great deal going on two for one. You decide to stop there as well.
But we all know that you don't just buy one item at Costco. You get your maple syrup, granola bars, soap, a pack of 20 sharpies. Because you really always wanted them, cheese, extra socks….. and so on. You at least spend a hundred dollar or more and your trunk is full.
At home you realize again that in your pantry is no space and it's no different in your fridge. Even though you are technically out of food. After all that's why you wen to the store! You relocate some more groceries in that garage cabinet and squish as much as needed in the fridge.
Put a "eat until" date on your items in the fridge. Through out whats old before you go to the store and create free space.
It's dinner time again; you go into the pantry and you are looking for tomato sauce you were so sure you just bought some the other week. But you cannot find it, but what you find instead is a double pack of maple syrup which you bought last month.
Does this sound a bit like you? Try this 5 steps
1. Organize your pantry by categories
It will make it easy to find items and to put them away. Write labels and if possible have everything visual. My categories are for example pasta, grain, caned food, bakery, oil and vinegar, breakfast and snacks. You come up with your own if you sort your food in like items. If you get stuck a professional organizer can help you with creating the categories for you. Sometimes we just need a second opinion.
2. Schedule time each week to create a meal plan
Create a habit each week to write your meal plan at a certain time, when your mind is clear and you are free from distraction. Stand in front of your pantry to get inspired. Ask your professional organizer about time management. She can show you helpful tools to manage your time more efficient. I don't really like to say time management, you can't really manage time. Time is always the same. But what we can is managing tasks and projects. Getting meals on the table is a projects made up of different tasks like planning, creating a list, shopping and cooking. All of this needs time and we have to schedule accordingly. Don't forget to include driving time.
3. Use a paper or digital meal planner
If you use a paper planner make sure it is a planner of good quality with nice paper and something that brings you joy to use again. There are lots of great meal planner apps out there one of my favorite is meal board. It is very basic and simple but gives you all you need. You can easy import recipes or write your own. Create meal plans, pantry list and groceries lists; all very automated.
Using a meal planner makes it easy to plan meals also in busy seasons. You can easy just copy a plan from a previous week and just adjust it to your needs. Which I do a lot, who sais we have to eat each week something different?! Why not just stick to the five favorite meals and have two days flexible.
4. Have a dedicated space for items you need to use first
Create a basket or shelf on eye level in your pantry where you put those items you are aware you need to use up soon. Next time you create your meal plan, look there look for inspiration. Use cardboard boxes you have around your home before investing in storage containers and see how they work for you. Your professional organizer will help you to find the best storage containers for your needs.
5. Be careful buying big quantities
If it isn't and item like toilet paper it is possible that you get bored of it. You don't use what's left but can't trow it away because you might eat it at some point. They are taking up space for who knows how long. This might not be a big deal, if you didn't also had extra beans, vitamins, cereal; we quickly run out of space. You start stacking and hiding items and soon you'll forget all about it. Next time we see them we are way past the expiration date and can't even donate them to the food bank. Pantry organizing can quickly get overwhelming if you have to check all the items. Invite a friend over to help or hire a professional organizer to get it done faster and smarter.
A professional organizer can help you getting your pantry organized and create with you a system that you can maintain and that will save you time and money and help you see storage space which you didn’t know you had.