For many people, the kitchen can be filled with out-of-date products, half-eaten pasta jars, mismatched containers and clutter.
But mother-of-three Katrina Springer, otherwise known as The Organised Housewife, believes an orderly home all starts with a routine.
And with three teenage children under her wing, the 40-year-old knows how expensive and time-consuming grocery shopping can be when she’s feeding her family-of-five.
But the mother, from Queensland’s Gold Coast, has whipped up a solution in the kitchen that has helped saved her money, time and even her sanity.
Astonishingly, she buys her week’s worth of meals in just 30 minutes.
Here, she offered a glimpse into her perfectly organised kitchen – and how she plans her family’s weekly breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks to a tee.
Katrina Springer, otherwise known as The Organised Housewife, plans her family’s weekly breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks to a tee every week
Katrina also has a checklist on the side of the menu so she knows how long it will take her to cook each meal every night
Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, the super-organised woman revealed most of her meals are freshly made everyday.
Every week, she does a checklist of her pantry stock and fridge before she heads to the supermarket for the weekly grocery shop.
‘I wasn’t always organised and I had twins and I was in a chaotic situation, I didn’t know how to keep the home tidy with young children,’ she said.
‘I was at a point where clean clothes were all over the floor and they weren’t folded and put away, I had dirty dishes all over the bench, I wasn’t organised.
‘The messy home really messed with my mindset.’
From there, she came up with an ingenious solution to get on top of everything, starting with creating a weekly meal plan for her family.
‘I created a system and routine that really helped me get back control my of home.’
Here Katrina – whose perfectly organised kitchen is the envy of weary homeowners – shared her savviest tips to planning a week’s worth of meals.
‘I only go to the grocery store every Sunday and I credit this to meal planning and using a shopping list,’ she said.
‘When planning my meals, I consider used by dates for fresh meat, use meat from the freezer, or canned fish to see me through to the following week.’
Every week, she does a checklist of her pantry stock before she heads to the supermarket
The organised mother buys fresh produce every week- and most of her family meals are freshly made everyday
ASSESS YOUR WEEKLY ROUTINE
Katrina – who has a 13-year-old daughter and 15-year-old twin boy and girl – suggested looking at your schedule and family’s activities before you decide on the meals to cook for the week.
‘Look at your calendar so you can base your meals around your schedule,’ she said.
‘Before I write down my meal plan, I look at my family’s activities or any work meetings we may have in the week.
‘Every week, I look at activities – and if my children are at a sport’s training, I know we won’t be home until after dark – so it won’t leave me enough time to make dinner.
‘When one of these activities are on in the week, I think ahead. I would either start a slow cooking meal in the morning or I cook a double batch the day before so we have enough for leftovers.’
DISPLAY A WEEKLY MENU
By keeping a weekly menu in the kitchen, Katrina said the system gives her an idea of what to cook every day, especially when she’s in a hurry.
And besides knowing what meals the family look forward to at the table, she explained how her family helps out if she’s not there to cook.
‘The good thing now is my children are all teenagers so they are old enough to start cooking for themselves if I’m not there or running home late,’ she said.
‘They can look at the menu and know exactly what to prepare.’
She also created a row of boxes to tick off – so she knows how long each meal will take her to cook every night. If anything takes more than an hour to cook, she would set some time aside earlier in the day to prepare.
By keeping a weekly menu in the kitchen, the mother-of-three said the system gives her an idea of what to cook every day, especially when she’s in a hurry
Besides knowing what meals the family look forward to at the table, she explained how her family helps out if she’s not there to cook
The Organised Housewife reveals the benefits of meal planning
Saves time: By having a plan that is easy to see, easy to read, and easy to follow, I am able to glance in the morning to see what I will need put in the slow cooker or know what I need to get out of the freezer and place in the fridge to allow the meat time to thaw out through the day.
Saves money: The day before I go food shopping I check the pantry, fridge and freezer to see what is left over to save buying the same thing. Take a moment to check through your supermarket catalogue to see what is on special for the week.
Eliminates waste: I only buy what is needed from the supermarket therefore less food waste at the end of the week.
Create healthy meals: Planning ahead allows me to cover a variety of food groups throughout the week with a healthy balance of red meat, fish, chicken, carbs and veggies.
No excuse for helpers: Place your meal plan on the fridge or notice board for everybody in your household to see. Not only will this stop the constant question of what’s for dinner, but if you are late home or unwell and have children old enough to help or a partner home, they can cook dinner for you
KNOW YOUR FAMILY’S FAVOURITE MEALS
Trying to come up with something new every week can be difficult – but if you know what your family wants around the dinner table, that could save you from stressing.
‘Ask your family what they want to eat. Create a list of their favourite meals which you can then refer to for ideas on what to put on your next meal plan,’ she said.
‘I like to make one of my family’s favourites at least once a week. I also like to balance out my meals in the week so my family eat enough protein and vegetable.
‘Your meals don’t have to be gourmet – a simple meat and three veg is perfect – my favourite go-to meal is sausages and three veggies.
‘We’re not big on seafood but I try to create balance and healthy meals for the family. So I add fish to our diet and also ensure there’s a balance between red and white meats.’
Katrina – whose perfectly organised kitchen is the envy of weary homeowners – shared her savviest tips to planning a week’s worth of meals
WRITE A SHOPPING LIST
Katrina explained having a shopping list will save you time and money.
By using your planner to write your list, you will certainly have everything you need to prepare all your meals for the week.
‘With baby twins and a husband who works, I didn’t want to go to the grocery store every second day,’ she said.
‘I wanted to make the most of my day so I planned all my meals so I knew exactly what I needed. It saves me time, money and also reduces food wastage because I’m not buying anything extra.
‘Having a shopping list means I only buy what I need and I don’t have to return to the store with two young babies.
‘The list also lowers my frustration for sure because I know exactly what I need.’
With cereal, she sticks to a brand. But for home-brand products, she purchases tinned diced tomatoes, taco seasoning, flour, sugar, cheese, yoghurt, popcorn, nuts and spices.
‘I have three teenagers who eat a lot so I try to keep the grocery bill as low as I can,’ she said.
Katrina explained having a shopping list of your week’s grocery will save you time and money
SAVE TIME AT THE SUPERMARKET
Katrina explained how she puts all her food into categories on her shopping list so it saves her time when she’s at the supermarket
Katrina explained how she puts all her food into categories so it saves her time when she’s at the supermarket.
‘I like having all like items grouped together. So when I write my shopping list, I put all the foods and items into groups – based on the aisle of the supermarket,’ she said.
‘So I write all the cold items together, fresh produce, pantry foods etc. By grouping your items, it would make your shopping easier and you’re not wasting time.
‘I know my store’s layout and where everything is. So this really speeds up my shop. I spend half an hour to do my week’s worth of meals.
‘The key is to go to the same grocery store because you’d be familiar with the layout and where all the foods are on the shelves.
‘If I’m with the kids, I split the list and they take one trolley, and I take another trolley. They know how I am really strict with my brands so they know what I want.’
Katrina said having an organised pantry has helped her take back control of her home
Her three teenage children also have a lunch box planner so they know what to pack everyday
BAKE BULK SNACKS
When her kids are on school holiday, Katrina spends a day baking snacks for an entire term
When her children are on school holiday, Katrina dedicates a day to bake delicious snacks for an entire term.
‘At the beginning of the school term, I do a big bake-up of a whole term’s worth of lunchbox snacks,’ she said.
Her snacks include muffins, quiches, cheese pastry scrolls and mini pizzas.
The Organised Housewife has become a household name – where she shares her ‘daily dose of domestic advice to make a mum’s life simpler and tidier’.
For more details about The Organised Housewife, click here for weekly meal planner or 50+ freezer friendly lunchbox ideas.