You’ve just started fixing your favorite one-pot meal (like southwest cauliflower rice bowls.) Just as you open the cabinet to reach for your mixing bowl you realize it isn’t there. Oh, that’s right, you used it last night and it’s in the dishwasher. You open the dishwasher and find yourself wondering if the dishes are clean…you finally determine that they are. You proceed to take the mixing bowl out and shut the dishwasher since you don’t have time to unload it right now. A few minutes later you have your ingredients out except your spice rack is out of chili powder…now, you find yourself madly hunting down that batch of chili powder you bought last week. Finally, you find it only to realize your teaspoon is nowhere to be found…oh that’s right in the dishwasher and it’s back to open up the dishwasher you go…
If this scenario sounds familiar to you and you are ready for a simpler cooking process, these smart kitchen habits will be sure to help you! Keeping your kitchen organized helps to improve efficiency and makes your entire cooking process go more smoothly. Whether you have littles underfoot or simply little time to spend cooking, the less chaos in your kitchen the better!
I would consider my mom the most organized person I have ever met. And one thing I’ve consistently noticed is that cooking at her house is generally a stress-free and efficient process. Her kitchen is always ready to be cooked in. Always.
If you want to be more successful in cooking healthy meals for your family, you need to maintain an organized kitchen, have an organized cooking process, and use smart kitchen habits.
Daily Kitchen Habits of an Organized Cook
1. Clean up the dishes and kitchen immediately after a meal is over.
Cleaning up your kitchen immediately after a meal isn’t exactly exciting, but it definitely helps you serve healthy food all day long. It means you can jump right into cooking when it’s time to prep your next meal and can easily serve healthy snacks between meals.
2. Keep your countertops clean.
This simple kitchen habit ensures you will have a place to prep your meals when the time comes. If the countertops are loaded down, you will have to move stuff and clean up before you can even do a simple task between meals.
3. Refill food storage containers immediately when they run empty.
If you wait to fill up food storage containers then chances are they will still be empty next time you go to get that food product out. This could include your canisters, spice rack, and anything else you buy in bulk and keep stocked. Personally, I find that I use oats frequently and keeping them stocked in a canister on my counter makes baking and breakfast (if I don’t have something else prepped ahead) much smoother.
4. Find time to unload the dishwasher
I know you’ve been there. You didn’t take the time to unload the dishwasher, so you find yourself opening and closing it all day long to get a clean dish out. In the process, you are wasting time. Think about it. You have to open up the dishwasher, then look through it to find what you need, and close it back up. You may miss it the first time and check your cabinet again only to go back to the dishwasher and see it. If everything has a place and is in its place, you don’t waste time looking all over for your dishes and utensils.
5. Start kitchen clean up as soon as you have spare time (while cooking.)
Take any pocket of time you have while food is cooking, baking, reaching a boil, etc, and put it into rinsing the used dishes, loading the dishwasher, and wiping up any messes! It’s especially easy to do this with one pot meals because as they cook, you can clean. Remember anything extra that gets done during the cooking process is extra time you have after dinner!
6. Keep your pantry organized and stocked.
Keeping your grocery list up to date is the best way to keep your pantry stocked. Find a system to create and maintain a grocery shopping list that works for you. Be sure to check out my grocery shopping tips for my favorite app that can help with this, and my other favorite tips for staying organized with your groceries.
How to Foster New Kitchen Habits
Now that you’ve read through the list, pick at least 1-2 habits to implement in your kitchen today. And don’t forget, even simple habits take time and won’t always come easily. However, once we establish them, they do make life easier.
When you’re ready to implement, make a plan on how you will start your new habit. First, pick which habit you want to add. Start with just 1-2 habits, and once it is established you can add more. Anytime you begin a new habit there will likely be resistance. In the case of behavior changes, the resistance is usually in your mind. You will need to push through it by focusing on the outcome you wish to achieve using these kitchen habits. So get out there and get organized!