I don’t know about you, but in my house, kitchen real estate is a premium commodity. I am always looking for ways to improve the efficiency of space & the ability to quickly locate the things that I need. I am very excited to welcome Donna, from Heart of the Matter Professional Organizing to share some of her best tips & tricks to get our kitchens in tip top shape!

Hi there, it’s Donna here from Heart of the Matter Professional Organizing.

When it comes to storing food in our homes there are a few things to consider:

  1. Where do we store extras that we buy, but won’t be using immediately?
  2. How do we keep track of what we have on hand and use it in a timely manner?

These days lots of us shop at Costco or at other locations where we take advantage of items on sale and stock-up when we have the chance.

We suggest that you have a kitchen overflow area where you can store two categories of things: Bulky kitchen items that you only use occasionally (the fondue pot, large plastic containers used only for Christmas cookie baking, large sectioned veggie tray that you take to potlucks, the extra crockpot – you get the idea!)  Don’t store these seldom used items in the prime real estate of your kitchen where they take up valuable space. Keep them on a shelf in your basement, laundry room or even your garage.

  • If you buy food in bulk then don’t store all 12 cans of diced tomatoes in the prime real estate of your kitchen pantry.  Put the extra container of mustard, ketchup, bbq sauce (or whatever) on your kitchen overflow shelf.

Here is a photo of my food overflow area in my basement

How do you keep track of what food is in your kitchen overflow area?  Use The Elastic Trick!

This works well for the multiple containers of any grocery item, but also for the food items you purchase in large bulk packaging.  You know how you buy a large bag of flour and it doesn’t all fit in your flour container? Or you buy a bulk container of basil and it doesn’t all fit in your little spice container?

Try this! Open the new package and fill your container.

If it doesn’t all fit in then put an elastic band around the container. This is a visual cue for you that you have more of that product stored elsewhere.

Place the remainder of the product in a bin marked product overflow and store the bin with all the part packages on your kitchen overflow shelf.

When the container with the elastic is empty, then go to your product overflow bin. Grab the remainder of the package and re-fill your container.

When the original package is empty, it is time to remove the elastic.

No elastic on the container is a visual cue that you don’t have anymore in storage and need to put the item on your grocery list.

The elastic trick works great for canned/jarred foods as well.  Remember those diced tomatoes I mentioned earlier?  Store a few cans in the prime real estate of your pantry.  Put an elastic band around the one that you tuck furthest to the back.  When you come to use this can the visual cue of the elastic tells you that you have more tomatoes in your kitchen overflow area.

The elastic trick works great for all kinds of items. We even use it for our different types of cooking oils and vinegars. They are often in large jugs or tall bottles that are awkward to store in the prime real estate of your kitchen. Put some in a smaller jar, and store the larger containers in your overflow area. Don’t forget the elastics!!

Before we close for today I want to leave you with a tip for organizing your chest style freezer.

Buy these plastic bags at the Dollar Store.  Cut the zipper tops out of them.

Divide the items in your freezer into categories and use one bag (or more if needed) to store each category.  

You’re likely to have vegetables, fruit, chicken, beef, pork, bread, etc etc

Line the bags up in the base of your freezer.  Stack them if needed, depending on your quantities.

The firm plastic style will allow the bags to stand upright and hold their shape.  We choose this type rather than cloth bags. The handles on the bags make them easy to re-position as you need to access various categories of food or as quantities in the bags change.

You can choose to put labels on the bags to indicate the categories.

We like this method of organizing because you can keep track of your quantities and use things in a timely manner.  If a bag is almost empty, then you can add the item to your grocery list!

If you would benefit from some “hands on help” to create calm out of chaos in your  home, we’d love to partner with you! Contact us today.  Mention this blog and receive 15% off your project.

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