Ok, so I know I promised a blog regarding "making a custom sign," but another project popped in my head that took precedence. So the sign project will just have to wait a few more days. The other project is one that can help anyone who has to go searching through cabinets or the fridge to figure out what you need from the store. A LIST! Well, really it's more than a list. It's multiple lists: one for each area that you keep food (fridge, lazy susan, pantry, etc) and is comprised of your "staples" that hold your kitchen, and life, together. It may sounds stupidly simple, but it's a total timesaver!
Step 1: Go through your kitchen and find out the main areas you store food or supplies that need semi-frequent replenishment. Or, you can go the category route (Vegetables, Fruits, Canned Goods, etc). For my lists, I used these labels for the storage sections: Refrigerator, Freezer, Spices, Baking Supplies, Dry Goods, Pantry, Lazy Susan, Medicine & Vitamins, and Cleaning Supplies.
Step 2: List out your staples for each of these sections. To avoid lists comprised of just a few items, I combined some items onto other lists (e.g. putting potatoes and onions under the Refrigerator section, and tea under Medicine & Vitamins). My definition of a staple item is something that you'd require at least once every two months. You can visit some sites that have printable lists as well, just make sure your favorite items are incorporated. Here's a bunch of free printable lists:
Step 3: Type it up! Or write it out if you're super handy with a pen. You'll want the list organized so things are simple to find. I used the sorting tool in my word program to alphabetize each list. In front of each item, I placed a checkbox which will be used to mark off which items I need to purchase. Add any other decorations you'd like, just make sure you don't clutter-up your list.
Here's a tip! If you're alphabetizing, write out sub-categories of foods with their main category first. For example, if you want several types of cheese in the refrigerator, write them like this:
Cheese - Cheddar
Cheese - Mozzarella
Cheese - Swiss
This way, they're all grouped together and easier to locate.
Step 4: Print out the list and laminate them. You can purchase contact paper or go fancy and buy your own laminating machine. (Teachers have the added bonus of using the machine at their school!) I opted for Kinkos. Fast, simple, and for less than $2 a sheet, I had professional-looking laminated lists.
Step 5: Hang lists inside the doors of the cabinets they correspond to (using tape or velcro). I attached my refrigerator and freezer lists to the inside of the pantry door. Inside the fridge would be inconvenient. Or, if you prefer, hang them all in one place so their grouped together. I like the lists inside their corresponding cabinets so that you can mark things off immediately.
Step 6: Attach a dry erase marker next to each list. This can be accomplished simply with tape and string (the route I chose), velcro, or you can make a pen loop at the bottom of the list. Of course, if you can always just make sure there's a dry erase marker in a nearby drawer.
That's it! No more digging through cabinets to see what you need to buy at the store, no more starting to make dinner only to find out you're missing one of the key ingredients. Naturally, this plan only works if everyone who uses the items in the kitchen utilizes it. So make sure everyone in your household knows the rules: if you use the last of something, check it off on the list. And if you notice something's gone, check it off on the list.
I hope this is helpful to some of you, I know it's going to be a HUGE help for my home. To clue you in on how bad we needed this, we currently have four containers of crushed oregano. All purchased at different times. Oi...
Hope you're weekend's going well, and check back later for that sign tutorial. I promise it will be here! =)