I’ve touched briefly here on my desire to find balance in this whole working momma deal.

And lemme tell you, there’s nothing better than a life hack to find some life balance.

Enter:  The Dinner Bin


Ya’ll, this is so simple it’s stupid. I did this on Sunday.  And it took me less than 30 minutes.

(The picture quality is pretty “meh” here because, real life, I don’t do this during daylight hours – this is a post-bedtime task in my house)

I found these bins at Wal-Mart but it looks like Amazon has them HERE as well.  They are great in that they…

  1. Are a decent size. I can easily fit all ingredients I need for a meal into one bin
  2. Have those dry erase board fronts. I can jot down what is inside – easy peasy.
  3. Fit into my fridge perfectly.

bin collage

I cannot tell you how much time is saved in the evenings by not having to rummage around in my fridge for ingredients.  I am able to walk in the door, grab a bin, and get dinner going within 5 minutes.

I go one step further than just adding ingredients for the meals we are having to the bins, I do my darndest to prep everything ahead of time.  Chicken gets put in a bag with marinade, veggies get chopped, etc. etc.  This week we are eating some leftovers & things from the freezer, Those went in the bins as well.

The other great thing about chopping ALL THE THINGS ahead of time, and at one time? You are only dirtying your knife and cutting board once. Chop away on Sunday evenings and then put it up and be done with that nonsense.  You can even chop extra veggies to add to salads or eat as a snack if you’re feeling fancy.  I find that if I don’t wash & cut up my produce on the weekend then it tends to go uneaten.

And throwing away produce makes me le sad.


That’s store-bought chopped red onion.  Because as much fun as I have pretending I’m in a cooking show, there’s little I hate more than chopping onions.

(Anyone have any advice on chopping onions so that it’s not a terrible life experience?)

Oh? And those baggies with chopped veggies?  I add olive oil + seasoning directly to the bags and hand them off to my 1 year old to “mix” for me. Keeps her occupied long enough for me to get whatever else I need to get done, done and away we can go. Also, I totes count that as sensory play for her. Pinterest would be so proud.

Superior parenting right here

Superior parenting right here

I really try to make this as dummy-proof and fail-proof as possible for myself.  Doing this keeps us from resorting to take out AND adds time that I can spend playing with G to my evenings.




24 thoughts on “Weeknight Sanity Saver: The Dinner Bin

  1. Katie Calicott Lienhart

    We got Onion Goggles as a wedding gift (I think from Bed, Bath & Beyond) and they are a life saver! No more tears while I chop! 🙂 love your blog!

  2. Elizabeth

    This is a brilliant idea! I’ve been really lax in my meal planning, but I can see how this would be a big help. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Letty Watt

    Im impressed. This would have saved me hours back when I was working full-time and raising kids every minute. Great way to organize. Thanks.

  4. Bev Barger

    Great ! Some of the stores that carry book bins have wipe off on the front also. Lakeshore has them. Impressed with your efficiency!!

  5. Yanique

    I’ve seen life hacks before but this is the most useful thing I have ever come across! Thank you! I am ordering those bins on Amazon ASAP. I hate cooking, meal prepping, and every thing assoiated with making meals. However, if it’s organized, I am more likely to make a meal instead of heading off to the drive thru. Pinning, tweeting, and sharing on FB. This is awesome!

  6. sara

    Seriously brilliant. I wish I could be so organized. I make my week list and then go from there. I need to work on that.

  7. Brooke

    I’ve thought about/wanted to do this for a long time…but I haven’t actually gotten it together. I chop onion on top of our stove (with a cutting board) while running the vent fan on high, which helps some. Otherwise, if my husband is around I honor him with the job. 😉 Great post!

  8. Jenn Youse

    I love organizing things, what a great idea. I’ve used freezer bags for those make ahead crock-pot dinners, but I like the bin idea! Thanks for sharing! Pinned.

  9. Ashley

    Okay, I love this. Heading to Amazon to buy this bins right now. This link up is going to make me such a better meal planner! Maybe then my 7 year old won’t always give me thumb downs for dinner. 😉 (That probably won’t happen, but at least I will give myself a thumbs up!)

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