5 Ways to Simplify Your Kitchen

   As we talked about earlier this month, our "word of the year" is Simplify. We thought that the kitchen might be a good place to start. After taking a look at our budget, the biggest chunk of our spending comes from groceries and eating out. I usually do the grocery shopping and we typically cook meals together. Though, I can't tell you how often one of us complains that there's "nothing-to-eat-in-the-whole-house" (lies!).

  I think often times we say that we'll just wait until we're in the farmhouse to work on a project, but there's no reason we can't start forming better habits now. We're going to share five steps that we're taking to simplify our kitchen, which in turn helps us save money, create less waste, and inspire ourselves to cook more often!

5 Ways to Simplify Your Kitchen

1. Transfer Dry Goods into Glass Jars:
  One of the ways our cabinets get cluttered is when we don't know what we actually have. If I'm going to make granola, I might pick up extra almonds, without realizing that we have a huge batch at home. When I'd get home I'd realize I now had two bags and spent extra unnecessary money at the store.  

  This weekend I converted all of our dry goods into glass mason jars so we can easily see what we have on hand to cook and bake with. I just need to add cute labels.


2. Create a Meal Plan Each Week:
  If you're striving for less food waste, create a meal plan each week. The kale & green beans I may pick up on a grocery trip end up being more wishful thinking than anything if I don't have a plan for how to use them.

  Pinterest is a great resource for recipes, but I like digging out my cookbooks too. Just be realistic; don't plan hugely elaborate and ingredient-heavy dishes each night of the week if that's not feasible for you! Don't forget to make a grocery list to keep you focused on your shopping trip. I'm planning on tracking our favorite recipes on my recipe cards so we have a repertoire of dishes we can come back to regularly.

3. Make the Freezer Your Friend
We totally under-utilize the freezer for anything other than frozen pizzas and ice cream. This year, we're making it our goal to stock up on staple items like chicken, pizza dough, and fruit, that make easy meals and keep well in the freezer. We also love the idea of freezing about-to-go-bad fresh herbs like basil or rosemary in olive oil so less goes to waste.

4. Change Your "Going Out to Eat" Mindset
   For us, going out to eat is one of our largest expenditures. While I would never want to cut that out entirely, it's something we can definitely be more mindful of. We cherish time spent with friends and each other on dinner or coffee dates. The issue is when we end up going out to eat because there's not enough to eat in the house or nothing sounds good (please tell us we're not the only ones guilty of this).

   We're going to make a bigger effort to reserve going out to eat for special moments. Rather than going out because we don't feel like getting creative with the ingredients we have on hand! 

5. Keep Your Refrigerator Clear
Cleaning out the fridge is a lot less of a headache if you can keep up with it on a weekly basis. It makes me so sad to see any food go bad (not to mention it's literally throwing $ in the garbage). So, this year we're making a more conscious effort to utilize what's in the fridge. One of my goals is to keep a notepad listing what we have available (& a note of when we bought it / it expires).


   What are your favorite ways to simplify your kitchen? I'm looking forward to designing our kitchen in the farmhouse to make great use of space and functionality.