One of the biggest time savers I have is to know my pantry. I recently reconfigured my 2 pantry cupboards so that I can see at a glance what I have, and what I need. I run a perpetual pantry … the minute I use one jar of pasta sauce, I write it on my shopping list and restock it. That way I always have the basics available. Yes … I am all decked out with Tupperware (thanks to my good friend Phoenix), and I store like things together. For example … on the bottom shelf are small things used for baking such as icing sugar, vanilla extract, food colouring, cupcake liners, etc. I keep bulk baking items together like flour & sugar, and dinner items together like rice, pasta, sauces & herbs. Also, inside my pantry door I have the supermarket trading hours, so I save time by not driving to Coles at midnight only to find they’re not open!
Then there is my ‘dry store’ pantry, where I keep tinned & bottled items. A couple of weeks ago I reorganised this, and now I can see in an instant what I have to work with for the week. I also do this with my fridge and freezer.
How exactly is this a time saver? Well, I don’t waste time by starting to bake something or cook a meal, only to go to the cupboard and find there’s an ingredient missing … because then I have to drive down to the supermarket, find a parking spot, go in, find it, check out, and drive home. It takes longer than you think (especially if you stop for a “quick chat”). I save time by making a shopping list, which allows me to go into the store, buy exactly what I need and get out of there. No more roaming the aisles and being sucked into product placement marketing, then leaving the store without half the things I went in for. It also saves money, and who doesn’t love that, right?! It saves me time putting things away because I’m not hunting for a spare spot to put a bag or tin, and it saves me time picking up pantry avalanches, because when everything is in it’s place those don’t happen anymore! Plus, with clearly designated areas for each thing, my kids are even able to help me put the groceries away, and that kind of teamwork means more time for the fun stuff.
How well do you know your pantry? Could you pull together a week’s worth of meals without shopping for more than bread & milk? A quick inventory of your fridge, freezer & pantry might make for some huge savings at the checkout as well as the time you spend grocery shopping. Do you store like things together? Could you spend 15 minutes making things more efficient so you have time later on to do something you love? Tell me about your pantry adventures in the comments below. Or feel free to share pics of your pantry disasters and triumphs over at the Cake & Enemy Facebook page.