5 Reasons An Organized Kitchen Keeps You Healthy
I’ve never been an organized person. I actually used to kind of take pride in that, as silly as it sounds. I’d call it “laid back” or “easy going” when it was really just a cover up for laziness. Now, laziness can have its merits. Yes, I actually just said that. If you’re a fellow lazy person you may know what I’m talking about.
Lazy people think of efficiency and create short cuts. We also like to live stress-free. But what I’ve learned is that I have to be selectively lazy.
Laziness that leads me to adapt complicated recipes into simple, 30 minute healthy ones is a good thing. But that same laziness might just as easily lead me to throw my hands in the air and say, “I’m not cooking tonight, let’s have pizza!” –and that’s a bad thing. It’s a slippery slope, folks.
So, when am I going to get to the part about being organized and how that’s supposed to keep me healthy? Okay, so back to the part about me not being an organized person.
This lack of organization has definitely affected the state of my kitchen in the past. I’m talking, a fridge full of random food–half of which I don’t even remember is in there–and a pantry that’s out of control. Plus, all kinds of weird stuff in my cabinets like really “useful” kitchen gadgets that have never seen the light of day.
When I started my first Whole30 I realized that things were out of control. I knew I needed to make some changes, but it seemed like such a hassle. What I didn’t realize was that it would actually be so much easier to work in an organized kitchen. And that, my friends, appeals to my lazy nature.
So, how does that make me healthier? Let’s start with numero uno.
1. Being organized helps you keep track of inventory
My number one issue with being disorganized in the kitchen is that I can’t for the life of me keep track of what I have! It really bugs the crap out of me to have to rummage through stacks of unlabeled containers in my fridge, only to find that package of spinach I’d planned on using for lunch is all wilted and gross. UGH.
The simple solution here is to clean out your fridge and your pantry. I mean it, be tough. Do you have a definite plan for that bottle of raspberry chipotle salsa? No? THROW IT AWAY. Will you be eating pasta in the foreseeable future? The answer to that for me was, no! Gave those suckers to the food pantry.
After you’ve completely purged your shelves, then you can start organizing. I recently did this with both my pantry and my fridge and oh. my. goodness. It has been a game changer. I can now see everything I have! Nothing hiding. Nothing unlabeled.
Knowing what’s in your inventory will not only help reduce waste, reduce stress, and save money, but it will help you make better choices.
2. Being organized helps motivate you to cook
Making your own meals at home is step one to a healthier lifestyle. And I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like working in a disorganized space.
Walking into a disorganized kitchen is a sure fire way to discourage me from cooking. Here’s where that laziness comes in. If I feel like it’s going to be a huge effort just to start preparing a meal (just where is that cutting board??!), I’m less likely to do it. It’s that simple.
One thing I always try to do before bed (note the word “try” here, I’m not perfect–yet!) is to make sure my kitchen is looking good for the morning. I always feel like cooking in the morning if my kitchen is prepped. Dishes clean and put away, and counters cleared.
3. Being organized makes working in the kitchen enjoyable
This kind of goes along with with number two, but it goes one step further. Do you enjoy cooking? I know I do most of the time, and I think most people can learn to.
There are definitely several things that hold people back from enjoying being in the kitchen, and some of these can only be overcome with experience and a little effort, but creating a comfortable environment is definitely a step in the right direction.
I’ve always loved to cook, but recently the kitchen has become my own personal zen zone. After a busy day, it’s a place where I can clear my mind and be creative. Having it organized makes it that much easier to reach kitchen nirvana. (okay, but seriously, you know what I’m sayin!)
Being able to look forward to creating a delicious, healthy meal for your family is definitely going to help keep you on track in the health department. When cooking is a chore, you’re more likely to eat convenience food, junk food, or unhealthy snacks.
4. Being organized makes it easy to meal plan
Meal planning. I don’t really like to do it, and I rarely stick with a meal plan for the week. However…I still sit down, usually once a week, to brainstorm and write things down.
For me, it’s less of a definite plan and more of a time to take a mental inventory of what I have and conceptualize that into a loose outline for the next few days. It’s also when I make my shopping lists and decide how ambitious I’m feeling that week.
Even though it’s not my favorite thing to do, I’ve come to accept it as an important part of healthy living. If I don’t at least have some sort of plan, I know it will be that much more difficult to make good choices when it’s dinner time.
5. Being organized in the kitchen will translate to other parts of your life
Here’s the real kicker–and I didn’t even realize this would happen when I decided to make the effort to keep my kitchen more organized–I’ve now found that I’m beginning to appreciate organization in other aspects of my life. Well how about that!
So, how does that make me healthier? Mental health is an essential part of physical health (you can quote me on that), and our brains really like things to be in order.
A clean house really sets my mind at ease, and a dirty house does just the opposite. It makes me feel restless and unsettled.
Like I’ve said before, I’m not an organized person by nature. But, I’ve found that it starts to come naturally with more practice. Plus, your kitchen is part of your house, so when that’s already checked off the list, it makes it easier to start thinking about organizing other parts of the house.
But it’s not just about a clean house. When you don’t have to think so much about one thing, you have more time to think about other things. What I mean is, when you’ve cleared out that space in your brain that used to have to deal with worrying about how you’ll manage to eat healthy this week, you can focus on other aspects of a healthy lifestyle– like being more active and spending time with your family. You might even be inspired to start practicing daily mindfulness (or meditation)!