Conquer that Kitchen – food organisation tips for self-isolation

Self-isolation may be what we have all been dreaming for in order to escape busy days and overscheduled weekends! But a lockdown brings new challenges which require changes in habits and routines. My first advice for decluttering a space is to stop bringing things into it.  Rather tricky with a 21 day lockdown around the corner! 

Here are some food organising tips for your fridge and pantry to put you in charge of your kitchen and pantry, avoid waste, but most importantly avoid unnecessary visits to the shops:

Clean out: mold and dust can be disastrous for fresh produce. Do a good clean of your food storage areas. Defrost the deep freeze, clean the fridge and clear out old sauces and expired items. Wash and rinse glass jars for reuse. I use vinegar a lot for cleaning my fruits and veg, but it can also be used for cleaning your fridge: https://bit.ly/2QmL7ZK

Get organized: plan weekly menus with the food you have bought. First in should be first out – use fresh items first. If you plan, you can be more flexible with switching things up. There are plenty of free menu printables online, such as https://bit.ly/3b46Qxn

If you have overpurchased, look for ways to prep and freeze.  Vegetables can easily be made into delicious soups for winter, or base sauces and popular family recipes. Again, keep like items together – poultry, red meat, fish, fruit, vegetables. Label your containers so that you know which dates they must be used by. Here is a quick guide for timeframes for freezer food: https://bit.ly/33nln4K

Keep like items together: whether its preserves in the fridge, poultry in the deep freeze or snacks in the pantry, the same rule applies.  Choose categories that work for you and your eating habits. 

Remove fresh fruit and vegetables from plastic packaging, wash and store in suitable ways. Fridge organisers are great, but its unlikely that you had time to buy any before yesterday.  Use the existing storage of your fridge (crisper drawers, veg drawers), tupperware, or lunch boxes (no school!) to keep fruits and veg fresh. Some fruits don’t like to be next to others, and some veggies fair better out of the fridge than in it. I find this guide very handy https://bit.ly/2WiaIqt 

Bulk buying: you have probably done some bulk buying in order to avoid unnecessary trips to the shops. Sometimes packaging is unnecessarily bulky though, so remove it. Flatten boxes for recycling to take up less space.

Think vertical: take advantage of stackable items such as tins and maximise the space in your pantry. Wine racks, magazine holders and even shoe boxes can all be used imaginatively to use as much space as possible in your pantry.  Play!  Stack them on their sides, 

Get creative: self-isolation doesn’t have to mean boring food….try new combinations, using apps such as Big Oven https://bit.ly/2QPX1LL!  There are a range of fruits and vegetables that freeze well for smoothies. I’m looking forward to trying some of these with my kids (minus the kale!) https://bit.ly/38TSvSR

Feeling overwhelmed?  Contact Jane via the Clutter Box website to arrange a Zoom consultation: https://clutterboxsa.co.za