1) Fill the sink with soapy water before you begin preparing a meal. As you dirty a dish toss it into the sink. When there’s a break in the flow of cooking…maybe the onions need a few minutes to caramelize or the sauce needs to simmer, wash and rinse a few dishes (or throw them into the dishwasher). When dinner’s ready – most of your dishes will be done.
2) Eliminate pan scrubbing. Put a kettle of hot water onto boil before you start cooking. If your pan has gunk on it after cooking – carefully pour the boiling water into the pan and watch the grime disappear. This process is called deglazing.
3) Baking soda + lemon juice are my favorite kitchen cleaning ingredients. If dinner’s baked onto a dish dust a little baking soda and pour a small amount of lemon juice (enough to make a thick paste) into the dish. Scrub away. Use with caution on delicate dishes. This mixture is perfect for any stubborn stains and for cleaning the sink.
4) I keep a small broom in the hall closet close to the kitchen. If I spill a few crumbs on the floor it’s easy to sweep them up right then instead waiting until my weekly cleaning session.
5) Maybe this is a bit over the top but I love to place food in the same location in the fridge. This will help you find items easily every time you open the refrigerator door and you’ll know when you need to replenish them. Consider having a designated ‘leftover’ shelf.
6) Simplify the amount of nicknacks or decorative objects you have on the counter and instead replace them with usable/beautiful kitchen gadgets. I use my bright yellow strainer as a veggie dish and a floral cake stand for fruit. These items bring instant color into the kitchen yet they’re also functional.
7) If your kitchen has space (donating or selling unused appliances might help with this) keep a few small recycling bins in a cupboard. This cuts the kitchen clutter instantly because your cardboard, cans, and glass all have a home of their own until they’re taken to the recycling center.
8) Create a revolving shopping list. Whip up a printable grocery checklist with everything you need to stock your kitchen and pantry well and hang it on the fridge. Once an item is used up mark it on the checklist. When you’re ready to head to the store your shopping list will already be complete. Another simple way to keep track is to download a shopping list app on your phone.
9) When you’re cleaning the kitchen this week begin to think about what you do in your kitchen and where you do it. Place everything in cupboards or on shelves close to where you’ll use it or store it. Do you keep your dishes in a cupboard close to the dishwasher and/or sink? If you love baking are your supplies near the oven? Do you store your knives and cutting boards close to each other for easy access when chopping veggies? Are your cupboards and shelves arranged by activity (baking, cooking, serving, food items, tea/coffee)? Arranging your kitchen in such a way will increase the functionality and make hosting gatherings a breeze.