Mise En Place

Mise en place is a French culinary phrase which means "putting in place", as in set up. It is used in professional kitchens to refer to organizing and arranging the ingredients such as cut meats, chopped vegetables, broths, etc. that a cook will require for the menu items that are expected to be prepared during a shift. In other words, it means prepping everything ahead of time so that there is no wasted time and added stress when things get crazy in the kitchen.

I have adapted this term into my daily life by constantly focusing on prepping what I can well ahead of time so I'm not scrambling in the crazy moments. This pertains to everything from my clothes to my kids. By having a home for everything it's easy to identify what is out of place and what needs to replaced to keep things flowing smoothly. We moved into a new home recently and there are still things out of place or that don't have a home yet. Toilet paper for example. With six people in our home we go through a lot of toilet paper and I still have not committed to a place to store the extra rolls. Because of this there recently was not a single roll to be found when my five-year-old was bellowing from the bathroom for toilet paper. It's a daily battle to find a place for everything and keep it there but just like when prepping food for a restaurant kitchen, it's a battle worth fighting to keep the chaotic moments from getting really crazy.

I am constantly searching for tips and tricks to help me get and stay organized. I have read articles and entire books on organizing systems. While each of these offers good insights, I keep coming back to three simple steps that keep me sane. First, I take inventory of each room in our home and focus on the things that really bother me. Shoes piled by the front door for example. Once I find the source of each room's stress trigger it's easier to find a solution. This may mean finding better storage solutions such as racks or bins. Usually though it means the second thing on my list which is cut clutter. Then cut it some more. I truly believe that the biggest key to a low stress life is to cut clutter. This means emotional clutter too but that's a whole separate topic. Cutting clutter in our home is a constant effort but once you get in the habit of removing items you no longer need or use it is a very simple habit to keep up. The third thing that keeps the mise en place going is to enlist minions. This may mean children, a spouse or a house keeper. Daily, weekly and monthly chores that are lined out and expressed clearly and kept up on consistently will keep you from feeling the whole burden of keeping every single thing in the correct place. Just like a chef needs things organized to keep the chain of command going, a homemaker needs the ingredients of the home organized to keep it together when life gets crazy.

Krista Numbers

Krista is the founder of Simplify Supper. She is passionate about making family dinner a priority and strives to provide simple solutions to make it happen.

Feb 02, 2014
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