Earlier this year I participated in a 12-week Organize Now! Challenge with my friend, best selling author, and organizational expert Jennifer Ford Berry.
I am so excited and happy for Jennifer because her fourth, yes fourth book came out called Organize Now! Think & Live Clutter-Free.
First of all, her books are the cutest books ever! They are beautifully designed both inside and out. I absolutely love each of them. The layout is great, and it makes for an enjoyable read. Her Organize Now! 12 Month Home and Activity Planner I use everyday. I have become a more organized person thanks to the tips and ideas I have learned from these books.
In her latest book Organize Now! Think & Live Clutter-Free, Jennifer guides you week-by-week with tip and ideas to find internal organization for yourself, your family and your home. From organizing your mind, time, stuff, health and spirituality, this 52 week book is going help you think and live clutter-free, as the book is titled.
Give the gift of organization. Last year I gave to several people a copy of her Organize Now! Organize your Space and Life along with the Organize Now! Planner, and everyone loved it. This year, everyone will be receiving a copy of her latest book. These books includes a wealth of information anyone would love to receive.
The book is a week-by-week guide, which I love. Each week you can focus on another aspect of your life, your family and your home. I wanted to highlight one particular week from the book and I thought what better than Week 39: Organize Your Meal Planning. I was very touched and honored to be mentioned in this book as well.
I think many people struggle with meal planning but once you find a system that works for you, weeknight meals will be a breeze.
Do you come home after work undecided on what to make the family for dinner?
Are you constantly running to the grocery store to make meals or just going out to eat because you didn’t have a meal planned?
Would you like to create more meals at home to save money going out to eat?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, these tips from Organize Now! are going to help you create a routine in your menu planning.
Organize Now! Think & Live Clutter-Free
ORGANIZE YOUR MEAL PLANNING
- Create a list of 15 meals your family loves. Use this list as go to “Main Meals” that you can easily prepare any night of the week. Have the ingredients for at least one “Main Meal” on hand, so if you are in a pinch, you can easily whip up dinner without having to run to the store. Keep it in your pantry as back-up. When you have to use it, then replenish it with the same ingredients or a new back-up “Main Meal” to have on hand.
- You will want to have the ingredients for some of the “Main Meals” on hand that are not perishable. One of my go-to “Main Meals” is Black Bean and Rice Enchiladas. I always the ingredients on hand to whip these up any night of the week.
- Double up. If you are making a casserole, make two. Bake one, freeze one. Then you always have a back-up on hand in the freezer to bake when needed.
- Keep a list of successful recipes you made that everyone enjoyed that you can easily prepare again.
- Bookmark recipes that you would like to try. Separate them from everyday meals and special occasion.
- Schedule time to menu plan. Menu planning will only be successful if you schedule time to plan ahead. What works for me is doing a little each day. I utilize my calendar on my computer to schedule meals so I can also look back and see what I have made previously. If I find a recipe I like say on Pinterest or in a cookbook I can easily plug it in my calender. I then try to work around the ingredients I am purchasing for a particular recipe and try incorporate those ingredients in other dishes so I’m not wasting anything. By also utilizing my desktop calendar, I can snyc it to my phone to see what I have planned and what days I still need meals for. Also, I am sometimes making meals that will also be featured on MT so I coordinate those dishes with my weekly menu planning as well.
- Use your recipe list you have created to plan your meals. For me, that is where I utilize my Pinterest boards a lot. Each week plan one or two family favorites, one or two staples and try one new recipe. I also like to keep a day unplanned open in case of leftovers, I can then push my menu up a day. If there happens to be no leftovers, then I can go to my reserve and use a “Main Meal” back-up on hand or a casserole I may have frozen.
Download a free copy of this printable HERE.
- Build simple structure into your meal plan. This can easily be done by creating weekly theme nights based on your families likes. An example this could be like this:
Sunday — Sunday Supper night (Pot Roast, Roast Chicken)
Monday — Soup and Sandwich Night
Tuesday — Taco Night
Wednesday — Pasta Night
Thursday — “Take out” Night (Create some of your favorite take out dishes at home.)
Friday — Pizza Night (Make your own pizza.)
Saturday — Open (Used for leftovers, going out to eat or a “Main Meal”.)
- Keep your pantry and refrigerator organized. Clean out your refrigerator at least once a week. Need some free printable pantry labels and more pantry organizational tips? Find out more by clicking HERE.
- Get your family involved. If your kids like to cook or want to learn to cook, have the prepare dinner once a week. Not only does it give you a break, but it gives them a chance to be creative in the kitchen.
- If you have older kids, have them be responsible for making their lunches. Do that the night before so they are not trying to make lunch as they are heading out the door.
- Type up a personalized list of all the items you purchase. Keep this list on your smartphone or print a copy. To save your time list the items by aisle. I like to organize my list by section. Meats, Dairy, Produce, Frozen, Cleaning, Bakery, Deli, etc…
- Do a co-op with friends and neighbors. Each person is responsible for cooking one night a week.
- Donate cookbooks you don’t use. They are just wasting space and creating clutter. Organize your loose recipes in a box or binder. Create an online recipe box with Ziplist. You can see more tips on how I like to organize my recipes by clicking HERE.
- Offer one meal to the entire family. Don’t let the kids think it is an option to have a separate meal.
- Use a slow cooker! It’s a great way to have dinner ready and waiting when you get home.
- Store all the ingredients you need for a recipe in a basket or container.
- Once a month do a pantry purge and create meal(s) to use stuff that has been sitting around before restocking the cupboards.
- Wipe down the refrigerator to keep it clean and tidy.
- Every year update your “Main Meals” list.
- Go through your recipe box and binders and toss recipes that you decided not to try.
You’ll be seeing more of Jen on MT in the upcoming weeks. Her and I are starting to work on a video series that will include pantry organization and helping your cook easy, family friendly meals with staple items you already have in your kitchen. It’s going to be fun and we can’t wait to share this with you!
Use the entry form below to enter for your chance to WIN a copy Organize Now! Think & Live Clutter-Free.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
You can purchase Organize Now! Think & Live Clutter Free or any of the Organize Now! Books on Amazon.