The Importance of Organizing Your Pantry, Recipes, and Kitchen: A Guest Post

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Photo source: Tom Cochrane

Today’s guest post is from Mandi who offers some great tips on how decluttering your kitchen can save you money as well as some peace of mind.

Are you all as excited about Jessica’s Build Your Frugal Pantry series as I am? I can’t wait to learn tips, tricks and recipes to prepare inexpensive but healthy meals using the staples I have on hand!

But first, let’s talk about the importance of getting organized to make the most of your frugal pantry. Today, we’re going to look at why organizing your pantry, recipes and kitchen impacts your ability to cook frugally, and then I’m going to share some quick tips to help you get started.

Organize Your Pantry

Organizing your pantry is an important part of having a frugal pantry. How many times have you added something to the grocery list only to later realize that you have a growing stockpile of that item because you keep purchasing it for a specific recipe, not remembering that you already have some?

An organized pantry helps you:

  • Eliminate food waste by letting you rotate the oldest dates to the front of the pantry.
  • Prevent “accidental” stockpiling of duplicate ingredients.
  • Quickly and easily find the ingredients you’re looking for.

If you’re overwhelmed by the thought of trying to organize your pantry, try these quick tips:

  • Assign different categories to different shelves (or cabinets, if you don’t have a traditional pantry) so that baking ingredients, snacks, spices, oils & sauces, etc. are all grouped with similar items.
  • Use risers, baskets or other pantry accessories to make the most of your space.
  • Buy in bulk and use canisters or jars that you’ve washed and saved for your flour, sugar and other baking ingredients. Not only will you eliminate the extra packaging that just ads to the visual clutter of your pantry, but you’ll also be able to see at a glance when one is running low.

Organize Your Recipes

Likewise, if you want to be able to take advantage of the ingredients you have on hand, you need to be able to find recipes that match your ingredients.

Organizing your recipes allows you to:

  • Quickly find your favorite recipes.
  • Save the recipes you come across that you’d like to try.
  • Perform ingredient searches to find recipes that match the ingredients you have on hand.

There are dozens of different methods used to organize recipes, from sticking a post-it note in a cookbook to bookmark a favorite recipe to purchasing software to organize your recipes on your computer.

Three free internet tools for organizing your recipes digitally in order to make the most of the ingredient search feature: is one of the most popular recipe sources on the ‘net. With almost 45,000 recipes, you’re almost guaranteed to find the one you’re looking for. You can also submit your own, add your favorites to your recipe box and make notes about changes you’ve made to certain recipes, as well as perform ingredient searches.

If you’re looking to keep your personal recipe collection separate from AllRecipes large database, Evernote is another alternative. Although not specifically designed for recipes, Evernote allows you to capture information from a variety of sources and mediums and organize them all in one location. Use the handwriting recognition and tagging features to scan and organize recipes that you already have written down.

Or use Springpad’s recipe function to search and save recipes from across the internet as well as add your personal recipes and share recipes with other Springpad users on your friends list. Although its ingredient search is not as comprehensive as AllRecipes’, you can search your recipe collection for keywords to find recipes that call for the ingredients you have on hand.

Organize Your Kitchen

Finally, let’s talk about the importance of an organized kitchen. Decluttering your kitchen tools and workspace might not save you money, but it will certainly save you time, and in today’s day and age, when time is a precious commodity, that’s part of building a frugal pantry.

An organized kitchen makes life easier by:

  • Putting the tools you use most right at your fingertips.
  • Eliminating clutter that becomes a distraction while cooking.
  • Freeing up space to expand your pantry and stockpiles.

To organize your kitchen, follow these basic principles:

Create zones throughout your kitchen for your most routine tasks: preparing coffee, baking, serving, preparing ingredients, cooking at the stove, etc. Keep all of the tools you need for each task within that zone for easy access.

Determine which kitchen tools and gadgets are really necessary and declutter the rest. Other than a few seasonal items that you might only pull out once or twice a year, you should only have things that you use regularly in your drawers and cabinets. If you’re afraid to actually get rid of the rest, try packing it up in a temporary box and storing that box in the basement and attic. You’ll still be able to get to it if you realize you do use one of the items in the box, and you’ll have the confidence to give away the rest after three to six months of not using them.

Create places for incoming paper, things that need your attention and things that need to be put away rather than just letting everything pile up on the kitchen counters. Eliminate surface clutter to give yourself the space you need to cook and serve so that you’re not stressed out every time you enter your kitchen.

Organizing your pantry, recipes and kitchen really does make a difference in your ability to prepare inexpensive and healthy meals for your family.

What can you do to get started today?

— Mandi Ehman is a WAHM to 4 spunky little girls. She can be found blogging at Organizing Your Way, where she shares tips for organizing, simplifying and decluttering as well as home management printables.

For more ways to save a few more pennies, visit Frugal Friday.

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