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October 25, 2019

Organize For Success With Labeling

Post by Cinde Little

Organize for success is one of my mottos in the kitchen. No system will ever be perfect and being organized is a relative term. There’s no end to improving so as soon as it works for you, I’d call that organized enough.

In this post I’m sharing a few tips specifically about labeling. Labels for anything and everything. Labeling to fix some pain point in your kitchen.

So what spot in your kitchen could use a little organizing with labels?

Identify An Area For Improvement

Here’s how I worked through the steps to organize the job of making my gluten free flour mix. Not just the flours but also the container, the labels and all the things I use to make it.

I thought through the process and decided I wanted a system to streamline the process. This is what I wanted in the end.

  • An easy to grab bucket to put on the counter with everything, or almost everything, already in it. That included the container I would make the new batch of flour in, plus all the flours, bowls, my digital scale and a strainer.
  • A second container to transfer the small amount of leftover flour into.
  • The recipe right there so I could see it at a glance as I was measuring.

This is the video of me making my flour mix but just the opening picture shows you the final system I came up with. You can see the bucket with the recipe label I attached to it and the other items I use. In the end I left out the digital scale because I use it for other jobs and it already had a handy spot in my kitchen.

Notice the recipe for my gluten free flour mix in large print on the plastic bucket
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Organize For Success To Minimize Food Waste

I think everyone knows what I mean when I say I found a science project growing in my fridge, right? It can’t be helped but for me two easy strategies to prevent this kind of food waste are:

  1. Use clear containers, preferable stackable.
  2. Label everything.

I don’t label everything; I’m just saying it’s a good strategy. In the moment I think ‘I’ll use that up in a few days’ or ‘I’ll remember what that is’. But by Friday I can’t remember what I ate on Monday and this can go on week after week, until you decide to fix it. I’ve got other areas I can improve in but I think I fixed this one.

a quote "We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.

I have two labeling systems at my fingertips so if it’s not labeled in my kitchen it’s because I was just too lazy to spend ten seconds making the label. My two systems are a Dymo label maker and the standard sticky labels from an office store or a Dollar Store.

I keep these accessible in the junk drawer in my kitchen. The Dymo label maker is used for salad dressings or jars that will be in my fridge for a while. Sticky labels work better for things going into the freezer. I keep two sizes of sticky labels and with a pen right inside each package so it is really easy to use. I’ve got lots of areas where I can improve but I don’t find too many science projects in my fridge any more.

Two sizes of Sticky Labels with a pen in each package for easy use
Two sizes of Sticky Labels with a pen in each package for easy use

Labeling To Learn

When I started gluten free cooking the amount of new information was overwhelming. Most of the flours and starches seemed to have two names so I started labeling them like that. Then I just kept going with the label maker. This picture shows some of the ways I labeled items to learn the names plus how to use the ingredient. I also included other examples of using labels for spice mixes that work for me.

Organize for success with labeling is how I use labels to help me learn and be efficient in the kitchen.
Organize For Success With Labeling -photo credit Jim Little

These labels took a little more effort (and they’re not pretty) but they have saved me lots of time looking for recipes.

  • Cornstarch container – my label has the recipe for white sauce and I know I can just add cheese to turn it into a cheese sauce.
  • Spice bottle of taco seasoning (shown above) – I always make my own spice mix so I put the recipe right on the bottle. I made corrections but never got back to making it look pretty.
  • Chinese Black Beans – I don’t make Chinese Black Bean Sauce often so I wanted the recipe right there with the beans.
A container of Chinese black beans, also called preserved beans.
Chinese Black Beans and the recipe for Black Bean Sauce -photo credit Jim Little

These are just a few ideas to help you notice some little annoyance in your kitchen and fix it. Throughout this website I share tips and tricks like these that I use in my kitchen. I encourage you to use the tips that make sense to you. Let me know in the comments below if you have some kitchen tips that have worked for you.

Happy cooking!

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