Home, Canned: Menu Planning and Chore Jars


My approach to organizing is similar to my  approach to exercise before I started playing roller derby– I get really into it for a few weeks before crashing and burning. I want so badly to be one of those super-organized people. I do NOT come by it naturally, for sure. I need it to be a little more fun and a little less work, just like exercise is fun now that it’s essentially my hobby.

When I was a kid, my mom made a chore jar for me. Though I still had to do the boring chores, the novelty of choosing them from the jar was enough to make the process seem fun, somehow. After many attempts at notebooks, calendars, and spreadsheets, I decided to give this method a try for my adult self both for meal-planning and monthly cleaning chores.

I actually had a pretty good system set up for meal-planning before. I had a two-month rotation of meals in calendar form with a shopping list for each week. Then, last spring, my son Ryan decided to become a vegetarian. I didn’t have a problem with his vegetarianism. In fact, I thought it would be better for the whole family to eat less meat. Unfortunately, my meal-planning system was shot. I’ve spent the past year experimenting with some vegetarian meals on which we can all agree. On the nights that Ryan’s with his dad, it’s burgers and steak for Bob, Emmie, and me!

My new meal jar system is deceptively simple. Before doing my grocery shopping, I choose the appropriate amount of vegetarian and omnivore meals I need for that week.


In addition to the entree name, each spoon has a number written on the back which corresponds to a Google doc of monthly meals.


The doc links to online recipes. I’ve also written the shopping list for each item underneath the link, which I can copy and paste into a shopping list. I put the spoons up on a magnetic weekly calendar I have at my desk in the kitchen. When the week is over, I put the spoons in a jar for the next month. Bam! Menu planning fun!




I had these little spoons left over from the Daddy/Daughter Birthday Extravaganza. I originally thought I wanted to write on them with chalk, so I painted them with black chalkboard paint.



The chalk didn’t work out well at all. Too blurry. Plus, I’d just bought this awesome typewriter at Goodwill that I was itching to use.


I cut up a brown paper bag and made the labels with the typewriter. I stuck them on with rubber cement and attached a magnet to the back of each one.



For the cleaning chore jars, I used some popsicle sticks I’ve had rolling around my desk since the boys were little. It’s always more fun to make things cute, and I have a ton of paint that I bought at Goodwill a while ago. I decided to dip the ends.


More typewriter labels!






I added some little chalkboards to the jars, and done! I choose one stick each day. That’s manageable enough for me.










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