Let’s talk about whiteboards. While they’re most often seen in offices and classrooms, they’re a particularly — and perhaps surprisingly — useful tool in kitchens. To be more specific: They’re particularly useful in chaotic kitchens.
In my home, the fridge whiteboard (Buy from Amazon, $17.99) is is a vital organizational tool. I use it for meal prep and making grocery lists, and it even helps me avoid food waste. If your kitchen feels a little (or a lot) out of order, pick up a fridge whiteboard and use these organizational hacks to make kitchen chaos a thing of the past.
1. Use it for meal planning.
We all know meal planning is an effective way to manage time and make the most of ingredients — but actually sticking to a meal prep routine can be a challenge. Enter the fridge whiteboard: If you have an idea for a meal you want to cook, write it down as soon as you think it up. This way, you’re guaranteed not to forget it, and will likely be more motivated to make it. (Studies show that hand-writing information helps us remember it better).
Not sure where to start? Take inspiration from Deb Perelman, the writer behind beloved food blog Smitten Kitchen. Perelman regularly posts “Real Life Menus” on her Instagram stories. Really, they’re just photos of her fridge whiteboard with the days of the week written down, plus a description of the dinners she’ll be cooking for her family each night. If you want to get creative, you pretend you’re at a restaurant and write “Today’s Specials” on the board in your most flowery penmanship.
2. Use it for lists.
Jotting down your shopping list on a whiteboard (instead of scraps of paper that are easily misplaced) will help you stay on track with meal planning. In the middle of cooking and realize you’re missing an ingredient? Write it down on the whiteboard. Just read an article about a food product you want to try? Write it down on the whiteboard. Kids keep begging you to buy them one of Oreo’s crazy new flavors? You get the idea — write it down!
Since writing helps with memory, recording your food needs in the moment will help you recall them when you’re in the grocery store. To take the list with you, snap a quick photo of the whiteboard on your phone,
3. Use it to keep track of expiration dates.
Well done! You bought fresh vegetables! Unfortunately, they’re hidden away in the crisper drawer, where there’s a high chance they’ll be forgotten about and then — because they’ve spoiled — be discarded. Your fridge whiteboard solves this problem by acting as an expiration date tracker. Bon Appétit writer Aliza Abarbanel says she writers a produce list on the corner of her magnetic fridge whiteboard as soon as she gets home from the grocery store. “I try to order it by priority level: Delicate items like herbs and tomatoes go at the top so they’re right at eye level, sturdier potatoes and cabbage go at the bottom,” she says. (You could also color code your list, using one marker for food that’s about to expire and another for food that’s going to last.) After marking expiration dates, Abarbanel creates a loose meal plan, and uses the whiteboard to note any leftovers.
Too often, the fridge feels like a black hole — the place where fresh produce goes to die. Your whiteboard expiration date tracker prevents this from happening, therein reducing your food waste and saving you money (because who can afford to throw food away with the current high cost of groceries?)
Whether you’re using your fridge whiteboard for meal planning, shopping lists, tracking expiration dates, or some combination of the three, this tool is bound to take away some of the daily stressors of the kitchen.
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