Do you come home from the grocery store and simply throw things in the refrigerator only to find them spoiled by mid-week? Or do you know that you bought something at the store, but can’t find it when you go to make the meal? These organization hacks of groceries are going to save you time and money so that your meal planning comes to fruition.

how to organize food

Tips For Organizing the Food

For months I meal planned for my family of four and felt so organized. I would have minor hiccups along the way, but I saw such a difference in our grocery bill and my stress level during dinner time that it was worth it. I quickly learned that my hiccups came up because I had little to no follow through after grocery shopping. I came home from the store and through everything in the refrigerator, freezer or pantry without any organizational intentions. Once I figured out these grocery hacks to unpacking my meal planning was complete!

Clean and store all fruits and vegetables. Dinner preparation can be crazy enough when you have little ones running in the kitchen. I save myself five to ten minutes during dinner preparation by having my fruits and vegetables clean and ready to go. As soon as I come home from the grocery store, I place my fruits and vegetables by the sink rather than in their perspective drawers in the refrigerator. I wash all of my fruit (strawberries, grapes, raspberries, etc.) and then put them away. For my vegetables I wash all of my leafy greens and then wrap them in a paper towel and place them in a green bag so that they don’t turn while they are in the refrigerator. I also do this for all of my herbs.

Pantry organization by categories. I want to be as thorough as possible so that I can save you money and time. My pantry is not a walk-in one and I think that’s important to know. I simply have a pantry closet that has shelves in it. I have broken my shelves into sections so that when I need an ingredient I can quickly find it. I’ve also organized it in an attempt to make it easier for my husband to find things when he cooks.

  • On my top shelf that is eye level for my husband and I, I have my baking needs like sugar, flour, brown sugar, confectioners sugar all in one corner of a shelf with my baking garnishes like chocolate chips, candy melts, and marshmallows in a box next to them. Next to that I have pancake mix, baking soda, Bisquik, corn starch, corn meal, Panko crumbs and oats in the center of the shelf. In the right corner of the shelf I have nuts, dried berries and chia seeds.
  • On the second shelf, which is still too high for my girls to reach I have my oils, vinegars, sauces, sherry and cooking spray. On the other side of the shelf, I have quinoa, bulgar, couscous, dry beans and rice.
  • The next shelf below that is within the range of my girls so it has all of their snacks, like goldfish, granola bars, fruit snacks and junk food that my husband sneaks in. The shelf also holds cereals and oatmeal.
  • The bottom shelf I have all of our canned goods as well as unopened stocks in one corner. The other side has pasta. I decided to place the canned goods and pasta on the bottom shelf because if my youngest decided to try to get into it, there wouldn’t be a huge mess as compared to the mess there would be if I had placed the oils there.
  • Everything has it’s place and I try to make it so that I don’t need to climb on a chair to see to the back of the shelf, which means that my oils, vinegars and sauces are only stacked three deep and they are grouped together so that all of the vinegars {apple cider, red wine, white, balsamic, and raspberry balsamic} are stacked one in front of the other.

Batch cook meats for the week. I usually do my grocery shopping Saturday morning so when I unpack I will place that meat into the refrigerator to batch cook on Sunday for the week. If I know that I have a casserole and tacos planned for the week and both need cooked chicken then I’ll cook the chicken in a large batch and then store it in a container for when it is needed. This way, I’m saving myself the time of cooking chicken on two separate days.

Freeze meat for later in the week. Meat that I plan on using later in the week is frozen and I pull it out the night before.

jenny's book2

For the rest of our grocery shopping tips with kids in tow grab our complete guide to meal planning with resources and tips, The Meal Planning Game Plan. You’ll find everything you need to get you organized as well as save you money and your sanity in the process.


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