The kitchen is our home is a safe space. That place where we tend to gather as a family, the room where we laugh, sing, play board games, do homework and build costumes. The kitchen is also the place we have great and not so great heart to heart conversations. Yes, ours is often that space that lots of smiling take place, but that was not always the case when it came to the other things that happen in the kitchen. We went through growing pains, resets, and creative ways to get the kitchen to work the way it was meant to. You know, like cooking, meal prepping, grocery list making, and eating.
Now with COVID in our lives, the family is home 24/7, so there is a lot of extra snacking and eating taking place. Don’t get me started on the heavy traffic use of the pantry right now and hearing that door open in close dozens of times a day. Ugh! Maybe it’s time to take the doors off. On second thought, that would make it even more accessible.
While raising our three sons, we came to realize that the majority of our time had been spent in our kitchen. On more than a few occasions in their early teenage years, they ate most everything out of the frig expect the condiments. Although, one of them may have drunk some of the ranch dressing.
Even with my love-hate relationship with cooking, I became quite thrifty and thoughtful in developing systems in our kitchen to meet our needs. That included how to meal plan and grocery shop only once every two weeks on a strict budget, keeping the kitchen clean, and one of my sanity savers decanting.
How decanting saved my sanity? You see, I would have this growl coming out of me when I would open what I termed, “a box of empty.” Here is one scenario, I would have just come back from grocery shopping and reach for a box of crackers because I’m trying to keep the hangry feelings at bay. I open the box, reach inside and #$@&%#! the box is only crumbs. Are you kidding me?
That is when decanting entered my life. Decanting is taking certain food items out of the box you purchased it in and placing it in clear containment. Things you may want in glass or clear plastic jars include items such as cereals, rice, beans, nuts, protein powders, flour, sugars, and other baking ingredients. When you can see what you have, you are no longer opening “a box of empty.” YES! Win, win. You know what you need and what you don’t need.
With three young men, we go through a substantial amount of cereals, crackers, and chips. I do not want to spend time refilling jars continually. I keep it simple. I take the bag out of its box, add a clothespin to the top, and set it in a basket. One marked cereal the other salty. Having a box marked salty broadens the items I can place in it, such as chips and crackers.
If you are interested in how I meal plan, please read our October 2019 blog post titled ‘Tis the Season of Cooking! In it, there is a breakdown of how to create a two-week meal plan and grocery list. There are also two free downloadable lists—one for two-week meal planning and the other for organizing your grocery list.
I know that in our current situation, there are days that I am finding myself sad and afraid. I am giving myself grace on those days when I need to pull back. I hope you are too.
Organizing and smiling,