Organization makes life easier and less stressful. It is even more important, perhaps even essential, before, during and after a major holiday such as the Islamic Holy month of Ramadan. Countdown to Ramadan has already started around the Muslim world. Planners and Ramadan calendars are popping up all over. Therefore, it is time we get organized before the big slide into Ramadan.
While Ramadan is a time for fasting and worshiping and not gourmet meals, we still need to manage and fulfill our responsibilities of caring for the well being of our families. As Muslims, we are rewarded for our duties towards the family and we pray and hope that it will be multiplied during Ramadan like other prayers. Like any celebration, food is a big part of Ramadan. With a little organization now, Ramadan celebration will be much easier, leaving us more time to focus on prayers and less time on the kitchen.
Here’s my few basic Ramadan organization tips that works every year:
1. Create a Ramadan Event Calendar
Begin by filling out a centralized Ramadan calendar for the weeks leading up to, during and after the Eid. Include everything you already know that has already been scheduled. For example, travel plans, guest arrival days, iftar parties, iftar sponsoring at your local masjid and any Ramadan related functions at work. Continue to mark events as they are announced and planned, and only accept invitations for open dates. Do not over commit.
2. Clean the Refrigerator and Freezer
Clean the refrigerator and freezer. Now is the time to go through the refrigerator contents and clear out as much possible. Finish off nearly empty jars of jam, toss empty condiment containers, and throw out all expired, empty container of food. Wipe any spills and stains. Cleaning and organizing the refrigerator and freezer will let you know what you have and what you need to stock up.
3. Organize the Pantry
Organize your spices and other ingredients in pantry so that you are not wasting precious minutes while the clock is ticking for suhoor and Iftar.
4. Create a Ramadan Menu Plan
Decide on a rough Ramadan menu plan by writing down 18-20 of your family’s favorite Ramadan items. This will save you a lot of time as you won’t have to decide everyday what to make. Take inspiration from the daily 2013 Ramadan recipes I shared or the Pinterest Ramadan Recipes Board. Select some items that you may want to repeat during the month to ensure you have enough meals for the entire month for the family. What meals can you cook ahead of time and freeze them in portion size containers. Consider iftar parties and other events when deciding the loose menu plan. Keep healthy food in your menu plan. Healthy food will give you the energy to work, pray, and do all your duties. Avoid fried and junk food. Food with big amount of fats can make you more sleepy and lazy during Ramadan. Also, take a look at these 9 make ahead items you can prepare and freeze before the month of Ramadan arrives.
5. Create a Shopping List and Go Grocery Shopping
Once a menu is decided, make a shopping list. Write down everything you may need for the month in a list. Buy non-perishable staples all at once or twice and only buy fresh fruits and vegetables weekly. Buying in bulk means you have to go to the stores less in the scorching summer heat while fasting. This way you can relax knowing that you have a plan for every day of the week and can fit cooking time into your daily schedule. Keep in mind to not waste money when making the shopping list. Make sure to block off shopping and preparation days ahead of first day of Ramadan.
Enough sleeping hours are very important to be able to complete the whole month of fasting with the same pace and extra prayers. By following this plan, there will be plenty of time to rest and no excuses for reading the Qur’an, and extra Salah (prayer) during this Ramadan.