This exercise was, for me, the most fun out of all the reorganizing tasks. The cork board in my kitchen is an important organizational tool for my family and I LOVE LISTS - they make me feel in control of my life!
Locating the Activities Board in the kitchen is a great idea for us because we all spend time in this room. The purpose of the Board is to have a central location where all family members can find out what is going on and locate items they need for activities such as tickets or directions. I have learned the hard way that things get lost if not pinned down!
Here is my Board. As you can see I have a monthly calendar on the left which I try and keep updated. On the right is the kids' school calendar and contact information for the high school. In the middle is business cards for local businesses we use: the hairdresser; dog groomer; garage, etc. At the bottom is an envelope for gift cards, as well as coupons and information for upcoming events. I've found everyone likes being able to pin items and information on the board then not have to worry about it any more. I like fewer last minute panics looking for directions or instructions!
On the side of the fridge where no one sees but me, I have my food management system. I have a very simple document I created for weekly menu planning. I plan out all seven evening meals and specify if I need to cook a certain meal on a certain night, usually due to time constraints, or if I need to cook meals in a certain order because I have planned leftovers. I also mark with a circled 'D' any meal or item that needs to be defrosted so I can plant that ahead of time. It seems like a lot of steps but I have found we eat out less if I have a plan. Lastly, I have a 'Need' column where family members can list items we have run out of and 'need' to buy.
Under the seven evening meals I have a list of 'other' tasks such as baking or making stock. I also list what we have for breakfast and lunches. This helps my family know what there is to eat if I am not there.
The other part of the system is keeping track of items I have on hand in the pantry, fridge freezer and chest freezer. I list all the items in pencil so it is easy to update the list. I find this helpful because when I make my weekly menu I can create meals with what I have. It also helps to eliminate buying duplicate items. I update the list after I use an item up and after I go food shopping.
The pantry list is organized into lists of cans/jars, sauces, grains, pasta, baking, dried fruit/nuts; beans/pulses. The freezers are listed by: vegetables; fruits; other; meat; bread and baked goods. My freezer lists are short right now because I just defrosted my chest freezer so I reduced my inventory! I also have a clip for recipes I plan on making that week.
I have been using this system for years and I know it has saved me a lot of money. If you think this kind of system would work for you, start by making lists of what you have on hand and group it in categories that make sense to you. Start shopping from your lists before you go to the market and update your lists at least once a week.
How do you keep track of all your food?
Here are the previous posts in this series.
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