Americans spend about 365 hours in the kitchen every year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is over 15 days! In the average life of a person, that equates to over 3 years spent in the kitchen. Can you imagine what you could do with your life if you could shave some time off that number?
The key to time management in your kitchen is preparation and planning. The professional organizer in New York City has some tips to help you take action and start saving time:
- Organize your kitchen. Sounds simple, right? But this time saver is often forgotten. Make sure everything in your kitchen has a home and that everyone in your family knows where that is. This ensures you won’t be wasting time looking for the baking dish you need or the muffin tin you haven’t used in a while. Also, keep the items you use most often within arm’s reach of your prep area. This includes pots, pans, cutting boards, measuring spoons, whatever items you use most often. The items you use less often can be put in those high cupboards that are difficult to reach.
- Clean up. Delegate clean up tasks when you can. A little help after dinner can go a long way! Remember to clean up messes while they happen. That way you aren’t spending extra time scrubbing the floor or soaking a burned pan later on.
- Prep time. So often we get home from the grocery store, throw our food in the fridge, and go about our day. Then when it’s time to eat, we are rushed and hurried to get things organized, chopped, sliced, and ready to do. When you come home from the store, take some time to prepare for the week. Meats can be portioned out. Vegetables can be cut up. This will save you time later. When you are ready to make today’s meal, get everything you need and have it ready to go so you aren’t wasting time looking around.
- Plan ahead. Make a menu plan. This can be for the next week or two, or month if you are up to it, and make your grocery list accordingly. When you aren’t fumbling through the kitchen deciding on what to make for dinner, you save time and money, as odds are good you won’t end up getting take out and your recently purchased perishables won’t go to waste. A plan also allows you prepare the night before, so you won’t forget to soak the beans or take the meat you need out of the freezer.
- Double up and multi-task. To save time later in the week, you can double up your recipes, using half for dinner and freezing the other half. You can block out some kitchen time for yourself and get several tasks done at once – prepare muffins for breakfast and brown ground beef for the week.
- Make time in the kitchen fun. We sometimes feel overwhelmed in the kitchen because it’s time spent preparing food or cleaning, and not time spent with our loved ones. An easy way to remedy that is to make the kitchen a friendly place, and invite your family to join you! Kids love to help, and you can talk with them while teaching them preparation tips and family recipes. They can share with you about their day while you work. The kitchen can double as a place to socialize and bond, so you aren’t losing any time with your family while you prepare a meal.
With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can create a kitchen and a routine that works for you. Ultimately, feeding your family should not take time away from the rest of your life. With a little organizing and these time management techniques from the professional organizer in NYC, you’ll be able to enjoy your kitchen, feed your family tasty balanced meals, and save time.