Organizing is all about saving you something…saving time, saving space, saving money, and even saving your sanity. One easy way I’ve found to save myself all of these things is to menu plan.
The gist of it is that you make a list of meals you’re going to eat for a week (or until the next time you know you’re going to the store). I always go grocery shopping on Saturday, so I usually make my meal list on Friday or Saturday for the rest of the week. Then I generate my shopping list from my menu. Here’s an example from this past week’s menu:
Here are the reasons you, too, should start a weekly menu plan:
You will save time. While you’re in the store, you will have a grocery list made out specifically for the things you’re going to cook in the coming week. You’ll know exactly what you’re shopping for and you won’t have to waste time in every aisle trying to decide what you want. You’ll also save time every night at home. When you come home in the evening, you know exactly what’s for dinner. You won’t have to spend time thinking about what you’d like to cook. It’s already been determined.
You will save space. Since you have a shopping list based on a specific menu, you won’t be tempted to buy a bunch of food you don’t really need. You’ll only bring home ingredients you need for that week, thusly saving space in your fridge and cupboards.
You will save money. While you’re at the store, you’ll be less inclined to impulse-buy. If you really stick to your list, you’ll only put things in your cart that you really need. You’ll also save money at home. When you’re making out your weekly menu, take a look at what you already have on-hand. If you have 3 boxes of pasta, choose a pasta dish to make one night that week; that’s one fewer thing you have to buy to make a good meal.
You will save your sanity. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to come home and use my brain power on after work is, “What in the world am I going to make for dinner?” Already knowing is a huge burden off my shoulders. With a menu plan, you can also avoid those times when you were intending to cook hamburgers tonight, but you forgot to take the meat out of the freezer the day before. Since you have all your meals written out (preferably in a visible spot—we keep ours on the refrigerator door), you can check the night before if anything needs to be prepped for dinner the next day.
I got my magnetic meal planning notepad from a free giveaway from Betty Crocker—I’m not sure what I’ll do when it runs out! You could always make your own menu plan template to fit your needs, but here are a few printable options that might be of use to you:
2) Here’s a clean, easy-to-use menu planning template from one of my favorite blogs, I’m An Organizing Junkie. It even includes a spot for “recipe source” (which is always good for me to note so my husband doesn’t have trouble figuring out which cookbook the recipe is in when he’s trying to be sweet and start dinner without me).
I hope this helps you in your future cooking and shopping endeavors!
What do you do to save time, space, money, or even sanity when it comes to your meals?