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5 Essential DIY Kitchen Cleaning Tricks

5 Essential DIY Kitchen Cleaning Tricks

dirty kitchen

    Whether you have a housemate who never washes their dishes, a spouse who leaves items rotting in the fridge, or kids who decorate your walls with sticky hand-prints, chances are that there’s a mess-causing factor in your kitchen. Hell, it might even be you causing the accumulation of dreck—do you leave spills to coagulate on your counters? Do you scrub the stove top when tomato sauce drips all over it? Whatever the cause of your kitchen-filth, there are ways to tackle it that are effective, easy, and even eco-friendly.

    1. Clean As You Go

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    dirty kitchen

      Most of us have the nasty habit of leaving dishes in the sink to be taken care of at some magical, distant point in the future, and the same goes for spills and stains. Instead of leaving drippings to congeal, or dishes to rot in greasy water, take care of them as you work so they don’t accumulate.

      If you’ve chopped various ingredients for a recipe and the dish is now simmering merrily on the stove, wash some of the dishes. Unless you’re making risotto or something else that requires constant coddling, you can leave it be for 20 minutes and clean up a bit. The more tidying you do as you work, the less you’ll have to do at the end of the meal: no-one wants to clean a mountain of pots and pans when they’re in food-coma mode.

      2. Baking Soda, Salt, and Vinegar

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      Baking Soda Vinegar

        No, this isn’t the basis for a really revolting salad dressing; it’s a list of the three main cleaning products you need for a sparkling clean kitchen. I add tea tree oil and lemon to that list as nice things to have, but they’re not absolutely vital.

        Baking soda is ideal for scrubbing stains off counters, and for scouring stainless-steel sinks to a high shine. It does leave a white film if not rinsed properly, so be sure to wipe surfaces with a wet cloth after you’ve cleaned them.

        Wipe down all your counters with undiluted white vinegar a couple of times a week to disinfect them, and use a 1:4 ratio of vinegar-to-water to wash your floors with as well. You can use  a mildly diluted vinegar spray to clean any glass in your kitchen, and adding a few tablespoons of this sour wonder-liquid to a sink-full of dishwater will help cut through stubborn grease.

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        3. Salt Your Spills

        dirty stove

          If you spill something on your stove top, toss a handful of salt on it: the salt will absorb most of the liquid in the spill, and it’s abrasive enough that it will help to scour away any baked-on mess once the area is cool enough to clean by hand. Use baking soda to scrub off whatever’s left after the salt scrub has been wiped away—you can use an old toothbrush to scour crevices and hard-to-clean spots. Just be sure to wipe everything well with a damp cloth so you don’t end up with filmy white residue later.

          Keep Your Microwave Lemony-Fresh

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          clean your microwave oven

            Have you noticed that the insides of most microwaves are spattered with stains? This happens when liquids or saucy dishes are heated up without lids on, so they end up splattering  droplets all over the place. These are easy to clean if caught immediately, but if you don’t do so and use the thing every day to reheat everything from coffee to entrees, those little droplets will cling to the interior walls like bad exes.

            The best way to get these driblets to release their hold is to steam them off: fill a microwave-safe shallow bowl with several lemon slices, and then fill 3/4 with water. Heat this on “high” for 4-5 minutes, use oven mitts or tea towels to remove the bowl without burning yourself, and then wipe down the now-softened stains. They’ll come right off, and your microwave will smell fantastic for about a week, as long as you don’t nuke fish or durian in it.

            5. Put Baking Soda in the Trash Can

            Trash can

              This is another trick that can work absolute wonders to reduce vile odours in the kitchen. The next time you take out the trash, give your kitchen garbage can a solid wash—first with dish soap, and then with a vinegar/water rinse. Once the interior is completely dry, sprinkle a few tablespoons of baking soda at the bottom before putting in a new garbage bag.

              The dry soda will absorb any liquid that may leak from the bottom of the bag, and will trap any gross smells that may be floating about. Just make sure to wash out the used-up soda every few weeks and replenish it with fresh powder, or else it’ll get stale and start to stink.

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              Catherine Winter

              Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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              Last Updated on September 16, 2019

              How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

              How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

              You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

              We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

              The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

              Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

              1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

              Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

              For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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              • (1) Research
              • (2) Deciding the topic
              • (3) Creating the outline
              • (4) Drafting the content
              • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
              • (6) Revision
              • (7) etc.

              Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

              2. Change Your Environment

              Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

              One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

              3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

              Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

              Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

              My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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              Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

              4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

              If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

              Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

              I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

              5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

              I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

              Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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              As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

              6. Get a Buddy

              Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

              I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

              7. Tell Others About Your Goals

              This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

              For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

              8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

              What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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              9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

              If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

              Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

              10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

              Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

              Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

              11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

              At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

              Reality check:

              I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

              More About Procrastination

              Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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