kitchen organization http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/10715/all en-US How to Organize Your Pantry and Save Cash http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-organize-your-pantry-and-save-cash <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-organize-your-pantry-and-save-cash" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cleaning_kitchen.jpg" alt="Woman cleaning a kitchen" title="Woman cleaning a kitchen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="163" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The cost of groceries is increasing, and many consumers are on the hunt for better, more efficient ways to save and cut down on their monthly food expenses. While researching sales between retailers and clipping coupons can certainly help, there is a good chance you&rsquo;ll get the most savings by first clearing out your current food pantry and cabinets.</p> <p>Too often consumers with disorganized cabinets and pantries overspend simply because they can&rsquo;t find anything. They buy excess amounts of stuff they already have. Here are some organization tips that everyone should use to sort out the pantry and make you more effective at grocery shopping. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-grocery-shop-for-five-on-100-a-week">How to Grocery Shop for Five on $100 a Week)</a></p> <h2>Hunt and Gather</h2> <p>Start by clearing your kitchen table, then opening all of your food cabinets and removing everything from the shelves. As you remove items, try grouping them on the table in categories such as baking supplies, soups, and condiments.</p> <h2>Check the Dates</h2> <p>Keep a trash bag and an empty box nearby. As you remove items, check expiration dates and toss the bad stuff. When you find items you know you will never use, put them in a donation box, provided you have never opened/used the items. This box can later go to a local food pantry, soup kitchen, or church organization.</p> <h2>Clean Effectively</h2> <p>Since your food pantry and cabinets likely do not get cleaned weekly, make the most of the empty shelves. Clean and disinfect them thoroughly. Add some grip liner to keep items in place after the space has adequate time to dry.</p> <h2>Make an Inventory</h2> <p>With everything spread out before you, consider the pantry priorities. The things you use most should be placed at a convenient location so you can see immediately when you are running low.</p> <h2>Label Shelving</h2> <p>If you are not living the single life and fear others will mess up your organization efforts, use a labeler or colored tape to designate where things can go. Make categories somewhat generic such as condiments or snacks so as not to micro-organize yourself out of space.</p> <h2>Eliminate the Mess</h2> <p>If you store bags of sugar, sacks of flour, and boxes of cereal, invest in some air-tight canisters. Not only will they help in organization and space-saving, you will also help eliminate the attraction of pests. Don&rsquo;t forget to purchase containers that are in line with the height and width of your shelving space.</p> <h2>Tier It Up</h2> <p>In order to make it easier to see in the back of the cabinets that go three or four rows deep, insert scrap wood or other items from your home that could serve as tiers, boosting the height of the canned goods and other items in the back row, so you can see everything easily at one time without having to rifle through the rows of items.</p> <h2>Restock Wisely</h2> <p>Extra grocery items should be stored up and out of the way. Make a list of how many extra jars of peanut butter you have found. By recording the extras and taping the list inside the pantry door, you&rsquo;ll know right away if you have something you need, even if you can&rsquo;t see it right away. Similarly, if you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bulk-buying-101">purchase items in bulk</a>, consider another storage area that is out of the way so your pantry is less cluttered and easier to manage.</p> <p>Spices and smaller items can be stored in a plastic tote or basket so you can remove the whole thing when you need something.</p> <p>Also, consider putting items in categories by expiration dates. Put stuff you need to use first in the front, so you can stop having to toss food out after it expires.</p> <h2>Install a Dry Erase Board</h2> <p>Pick up a dry erase board at the dollar store, and install it inside the pantry or on the back of the cabinet door. When you take the last of something, make a note of it so you can keep your grocery list more accurate, and likely shorter.<strong><br /> </strong></p> <p>Going forward, your pantry and your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/schedule-regular-fridge-cleanings-to-prevent-food-waste">refrigerator</a> should ideally be free of clutter, kept clean, and regularly organized so that any time you need to, you can glance at the shelves and know immediately what you need and what you don&rsquo;t.</p> <p>And don&rsquo;t forget to drop off that donation box at the local food pantry or soup kitchen. What you don&rsquo;t use or don&rsquo;t like will be appreciated by those who receive it.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tisha-tolar">Tisha Tolar</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-organize-your-pantry-and-save-cash">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-the-most-of-a-tiny-kitchen">7 Ways to Make the Most of a Tiny Kitchen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/food-going-bad-quickly-heres-how-to-fix-it">Food Going Bad Quickly? Here&#039;s How to Fix It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/254-uses-for-vinegar-and-counting">254 Uses for Vinegar. And Counting.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-knife-sharpeners">The 5 Best Knife Sharpeners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Home Organization food pantry kitchen organization using up food Wed, 11 Jan 2012 11:36:36 +0000 Tisha Tolar 860820 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Make the Most of a Tiny Kitchen http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-the-most-of-a-tiny-kitchen <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-make-the-most-of-a-tiny-kitchen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/little_kitchen.jpg" alt="Woman in a little kitchen" title="Woman in a little kitchen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="152" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I recently downsized from a rowhome to a small apartment. How small? Let's just say that the kitchen is better defined as an &ldquo;alcove&rdquo; than a &ldquo;room.&rdquo; There's no dishwasher, an appliance I grew all too accustomed to over the past few years. There's no silverware drawer. And there's literally no counter space, unless you count the two inch strip that runs between the sink and the oven. Heck, when I looked at the apartment, the previous tenant had been keeping his microwave on the floor. Something about having to get down on hands and knees to heat up a Hot Pocket seems really unappealing to me, but hey, maybe that guy really enjoyed the process.</p> <p>I love to cook, so I was worried about the tiny kitchen. But it's forced me to reconsider what tools I need to cook and how I prepare food, and so far, I'm loving it. Here are some tips on how to make the most of your kitchen if you're short on space:</p> <h3>1. Only Own What You Use</h3> <p>When I moved, I got rid of half of my glasses, some plates, and several rarely used kitchen appliances, among other things. As much as I loved whipping up frozen treats with my ice-cream maker, for example, it was hard to justify keeping something so large that I used maybe three or four times over the summer. And while I thought that not having a dishwasher would be a pain, it has made paring down my kitchen items easier, since before I could allow dirty dishes to pile up in the dishwasher until it was full, and now I immediately wash what's in the sink.</p> <h3>2. Purchase Miniature Versions of Appliances</h3> <p>I have a little Kitchen Aid food processor, and for my purposes, it has served me just as well as a regular-size one. The only real difference is that I have to puree my soups in batches instead of all at once. Similarly, I use a hand mixer for baking instead of a stand mixer. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-mixers">The 5 Best Mixers</a>)</p> <h3>3. Add Extra Storage Space</h3> <p>As you can see in the picture above, my apartment already had a wall-mounted pot rack installed, which has allowed me to free up the minimal cupboard space I do have for plates and food. (If you don't want to buy a pre-made pot rack, Myscha has suggestions for how to craft your own in her piece on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/gourmet-kitchens-on-a-shoestring">Gourmet Kitchens on a Shoestring</a>.) I also keep non-perishable ingredients on my windowsill and on top of my cupboards, which allows me to both have extra storage space and put interesting items on display.&nbsp;</p> <h3>4. Make Areas Multi-Purpose</h3> <p>I thought about getting a little kitchen island for prep space, but instead I use my kitchen table for both eating and prep work. Not having the island makes the kitchen feel much less cluttered.</p> <h3>5. Keep It Clean</h3> <p>The messiness of a kitchen is heightened exponentially when there are fewer places for that mess to go. Clean as you cook, and don't let things sit out needing to be put away.</p> <h3>6. Buy the Ingredients You Need</h3> <p>I love buying pantry items in bulk to save money, but in a tiny kitchen, doing so makes my precious cupboard space fill up quickly. Be choosy about what you buy in bulk, and consider buying more fresh fruits and vegetables. They're healthy, and because you have to eat them while they're still good, they won't sit around taking up space.</p> <h3>7. Use the Oven for All Cooking</h3> <p>I got used to browning my bread in the toaster. If I wanted to defrost frozen soup, I popped it in the microwave. But just about anything that can be cooked, unfrozen, toasted, melted, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-panini-presses">panini-pressed</a> in a countertop appliance can have the same thing done to it in or on the oven. Sure, it's not always quite as convenient, but your oven's broiler will make your bread just as crispy as a four-slice toaster. &nbsp;</p> <p><em>Do you have a tiny kitchen? If so, how do you cope?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-the-most-of-a-tiny-kitchen">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-organize-your-pantry-and-save-cash">How to Organize Your Pantry and Save Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/studio-apartment-living-a-5-point-survival-guide">Studio Apartment Living: A 5-Point Survival Guide</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/garden-ideas-for-small-spaces">Garden Ideas for Small Spaces</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/food-going-bad-quickly-heres-how-to-fix-it">Food Going Bad Quickly? Here&#039;s How to Fix It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-and-cheap-storage-solutions-for-tiny-apartments">10 Fun and Cheap Storage Solutions for Tiny Apartments</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Home Organization apartment living kitchen organization small spaces Wed, 29 Dec 2010 01:12:09 +0000 Meg Favreau 409877 at http://www.wisebread.com