If your goal is to eat better AND save money…

If you are among the many people planning to eat better and save a bit of money this January, then it’s time to organize your freezer and your pantry.

Organizing the food in your house is…well…a chore! Especially if you are not using a system to help you stay organized!

Whether you have a large freezer, multiple freezers, or simply the freezer of your kitchen fridge, there are many ways to organize it and make it work better for you!

Use bins

That’s right, bins aren’t just for cupboards!! Use bins to organize your freezer. Especially if you have a chest freezer. It is easy to label a bin for a food category and pull it out to see what’s underneath. It saves so much energy rather than moving around each thing just to have things fall into the place you are trying to see! Having bins in your kitchen freezer is great for the same reason, but as an added bonus, find bins that are the same depth as your freezer then you don’t loose any of your frozen foods to the “no see” land at the very back of the freezer! You can also try to get bins the same size as shelves in the door on your freezer. That way, you can store small things like sauces and snack sized hummus or guacamole, without it all falling through cracks in the door.

Obviously, bins are also great in the pantry because they can help organize some of the smaller things like lunch snacks or other grab and go foods. Larger bins are great for things like baking supplies or even larger snacks like chips or crackers.

Use pantry organizers

There’s nothing that says pantry organizers need to stay in the pantry. Try getting some pull out trays or under the sink pull out drawers and use them on a shelf in a standup freezer! They are great for separating some of the height of the shelves, and the drawers are another great way to keep your frozen stuff visible! The other great pantry organizer for the freezer is a pot lid or plate organizer – especially if you generally freeze things flat! After your food is frozen, you can stand it up in the organizer!

Pantry organizers can also be great in…you guessed it! The pantry! Ha! Know what kinds of foods you keep before investing in all the fancy one purpose type organizers, but there are some that are quite useful! It also helps to think of your storage space in terms of where you buy your food from. If you buy from Costco let’s say, you may need more storage room or may need to split boxes or cases with friends or family.

Categorize

One of the best things I have added to my freezer are labels! Certain areas of the freezer hold certain things. I have categories like smoothie kits, fruits and veg, ground meat, poultry, beef, prepped meals, store bought meals, cheese, homemade treats, and even ice cream. It’s all about creating independence in the kitchen. I don’t want to be part of every meal, though I mostly am anyway. If everything has a place, then anyone can figure out what we have in order to make some food or have a snack.

Using categories in the pantry is also a great idea. Use different cupboards in your kitchen for different purposes like breakfast, snacks, or dinner. Or keep different seasonings or ingredients together for easy meal prep like, mexican, italian, thai etc. Whatever you use the most, it can help save time to pull open one cupboard (or use a bin!) knowing that everything you need is in there! If you have a larger pantry with large shelves, you could use different shelves for different categories or even just divide the shelf into sections to help.

Write it down!

I find the most important thing for helping me with my meal planning and saving money is knowing what I have. But having a rough mental list doesn’t help me at all. I need to write down everything that I have. It’s easiest (but sometimes the most cumbersome) to write down what I have at the time of bringing it into the house. If I take the time to jot down what I am putting away as I bring it into the house it becomes way easier to plan meals, or create meals on a whim because I can just look at my list and know exactly how much of what I have. Sometimes, I get home and rush to put away frozen things or fridge things before running out again quickly. In those times, I try to use the receipt to help me write it all down. Especially if I am running to a kid’s activity where I might have some time to review my receipt and add the foods to my phone inventory list.

How this saves you money

You can save so much money by knowing exactly what you have! If you know you have 2 steaks but have friends coming over, you can just buy a couple more rather than buying it all! Or if you are wanting to make some tacos, and you know you have ground meat, the seasonings, and most of the toppings, you can just pick up the other few ingredients you need rather than wondering and buying it all, EVEN THOUGH you already have it!!! The other way it might save you money is by not impulsively going out for dinner instead. It’s easy if you are already out to quickly grab something rather than going home to make something when you don’t really know what you have or what you could make. Knowing what your house is stocked with in terms of food, means that you can peruse your list, and find something quick enough to make at home. Most of the time, we think grabbing food out is quicker, but I find it doesn’t actually save me enough time to make it worth the expense. It’s even easier just to go home, make some toast, or have some cereal if need be!

So save yourself some time and money this January and spend some more time eating at home by organizing and taking inventory of your food!

Thanks for coming home!

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