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Kitchen Hacks: 31 Clever Ways To Organize And Clean Your Kitchen

Kitchen Hacks: 31 Clever Ways To Organize And Clean Your Kitchen

For many families, entertaining and eating is done right in the kitchen, which means that not only do you want a clean kitchen for cooking, but you’ll also want space for having company over. For those that have small kitchens, having the space necessary means making use of every nook and cranny. Of course you could remodel your kitchen, but that wouldn’t be very Lifehack-like.

These simple kitchen hacks will help you maximize your storage space, allowing you to keep your kitchen organized… but that’s not all! I’m going to be throwing in some handy kitchen hacks that make cleaning super simple and quick! When it comes to cleaning around the house, the kitchen should be your priority. Why? Because it’s where the FOOD is! And who wants the place where they store and eat their food to be disgusting?

Check out the following 30 ways to organize and clean your kitchen!

1. Carve Out A Spice Niche

Cabinet Spice Rack

    Image Credit: Frank Farm
    Spices and herbs play a big role for many people when it comes to cooking and these petite packages can take up a lot of storage space. Utilizing a spice rack that’s mounted onto the inside of a cabinet door allows you to keep your spices organized and make use of an unused space, leaving you the option to utilize your cabinets for store something else, like your pots and pans. Don’t feel like paying a lot for a spice rack or don’t want to drill holes into your cabinets? Check out this DIY tutorial.

    2. Use Magnets

    Use Magnets to Organize Kitchen

      Are you using your cabinet doors for some other clever way to give yourself additional storage? If so, you can still organize your spices in a clever way by making use of magnets. You can also use magnets for storing knives so that you don’t have to use a knife block… just make sure you use a strong enough magnet so that your kitchen doesn’t rain knives.

      3. Make Freezer Shelves With Magazine Holders

      Magazine Rack Converted Into Freezer Shelves

        Take some magazine holders and turn them on their sides for some great shelves that can be used to organize and protect flat-ish items.

        4. Over The Sink Cutting Board

        Farmhouse Cutting Board

          Preserve precious counter space with an over the sink cutting board which are just really just long cutting boards that are meant to fit over your sink. Not only do you save on either counter or cabinet space, but with these boards you can prevent vegetable and fruit peels or juices as well as other food bits that you’re slicing, chopping and dicing from making a disaster on your kitchen counter or floor. Saves a lot of clean up with food prep! As an added bonus you can also use it to hide dirty dishes when an unexpected guest comes over. If you’re a DIY type of person, check out this the following from Chris Jones at Before & After Brookside which offers a look at how he made a custom farmhouse sink cutting board.

          5. Labeling System

          Labeling system for your pantry items

            Labels are a great way to help you organize your kitchen. You can even put the labels on the tops of jars so that when you store them in a drawer you can take the guesswork out of which container you want. Head over to WorldLabel if you want to use the labels from the above photo (created by Emily McDowell).

            6. Add More Storage By Hacking “Unopenable” Drawers

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            Turn fake drawer into real space

              Cabinet and drawer space can come at a premium, especially when working with a small kitchen, but fear not! When you’ve run out of room in your available cabinets and drawers, just create some more. Thankfully, this DIY tutorial can help you make use of those un-openable drawers that are beneath your sink. Additionally, you can build toe-kick drawers under your base cabinets with this tutorial.

              7. Hang Pots And Pans From The Ceiling

              Give yourself more storage with a pot and pan rack

                Give yourself more cabinet space by hanging pots, pans, and even cooking utensils from the ceiling. As a bonus, get yourself an attractive overhead rack and if you have a decent set of cookware, you’ll end up with a funky, stylish decoration for the kitchen.

                8. Store Lids With A Curtain Rod

                Store Pots and Pans Lids

                  A very simple solution that helps you organize your pot lids from Instructables.

                  9. Create A Dedicated Kitchen Tablet

                  How to mount your iPad

                    Do you have an old tablet that you rarely use? If so, why not turn it into a dedicated kitchen tablet so that you can get rid of paper clutter like the calendar on the fridge, the cookbooks in the cabinets, and the recipes that are scattered all along the countertops. Digitizing the paper clutter is a great way to save some kitchen space.

                    10. Roll Out Pantry

                    Roll Out Pantry

                      If you have some unused space between your refrigerator and the wall, you might want to make use of it with a roll-out pantry to store canned and boxed goods vertically. Build your own with these instructions from Instructables.

                      11. Add A Kitchen Island

                      Kitchen Island Organize

                        A kitchen island can bring some added functionality and organization to your kitchen as it can serve as both a place to eat as well as an extra storage space.

                        12. Use Drawer Inserts

                        Kitchen Inserts

                          One of the problems with keeping a kitchen drawer organized is the ineffective use of space. Too many times people just throw all the kitchen utensils and tools in haphazardly. Use drawer inserts to make it easy to sort utensils, cooking tools and more, allowing each to be more accessible.

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                          13. How To Organize Your Fridge

                          Reorganize Your Fridge

                            Keep your refrigerator organized and clean to prevent fresh food from spoiling too quickly.

                            14. Use A Tension Rod To Hang Cleaning Products

                            Organize Cleaning Products

                              A tension rod can be a great way for storing and organizing spray bottles so that you have additional space in an otherwise cramped under-sink cabinet.

                              15. Use A Collapsible Wine Rack For Storing Bottles

                              Modular Wine Rack

                                Place a collapsible wine rack on the lower shelf of your refrigerator to keep bottles (wine, soda, water, etc.) on their sides. The one in the photo is modular so that you can add as needed.

                                16. Hanging Fridge Storage

                                Hanging Fridge Storage

                                  Using below-shelf hanging organizers in your fridge to keep small food items from getting lost in the shuffle.

                                  17. Storing Garlic, Shallots and Onions

                                  bamboo-storage-onions-garlic-shallots

                                    If you have a bamboo steamer basket, use it to store garlic, onions and shallots. Due to bamboo steamers being well-ventilated, they’re the perfect environment for storing onions, garlic, and shallots which will leave your fridge with some room for other veggies.

                                    18. How To Keep Your Sponge Dry and Mildew Free

                                    Sponge Binder

                                      Once you’ve cleaned your dirty counter, sink and stains on the floor, it might be tempting to just run your sponge under some water and set it at the edge of your sink. Doing so, however, sets the stage for mold and mildew to build up. Thankfully,you can keep your sponge from becoming gross and unusable with a simple clip. Just place the sponge upright which will prevent it from sitting in water as well as help it air dry fast.

                                      19. Clean Your Blender Quickly

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                                      Blender

                                        After making a smoothie or using your blender to chop up the garlic, you can quickly clean it by pouring in warm water and a tiny bit of dish soap. Top the blender with the lid and turn it on and now it’s all clean! Just make sure to give it a quick rinse after to get rid of the soap residue.

                                        20. Rid Your Kitchen Of Foul Odors (At Least For A Day)

                                        Get rid of foul odors with essential oils

                                          If you find that your kitchen smells a bit funky or you just want to conjure memories of mom’s chocolate chip cookies, you can easily do so with some vanilla extract. Put two caps full into an oven proof dish and then place it in your oven for an hour at 300 degrees. The smell will encompass your kitchen as well as other parts of your home for about a day. You can also feel free to experiment with other essentials oils like lemon if you’d prefer.

                                          21. Prevent Clogs From Forming

                                          Prevent Kitchen Clogs

                                            To prevent clogs from forming in your kitchen sink, make sure to periodically pour boiling water down the drain. Doing so ensures that the oils in food products run down the drain as opposed to building up on the interior surface of pipes which is what leads to clogged drains. If you have baking soda on hand, you may want to consider pouring some down the drain prior to using the boiling water as baking soda is a great cleaning agent and can help to absorb any odors.

                                            22. Clean Your Stainless Steel Appliances With Glass Cleaner

                                            Wiping Clean Dishwasher with Microfiber rag

                                              Glass cleaner will give your stainless steel sink and appliances the same streak-free shine that it does for glass and mirrors. Using a glass cleaner will also help to remove any fingerprints. Just spray a few times on a microfiber cloth and make like the karate kid by ‘waxing on, waxing off’. Rinse thoroughly and dry your towel.

                                              23. Clean Your Stainless Steel Appliances With Flour

                                              Flour Stainless Steel

                                                Don’t want to use a glass cleaner due to chemicals? Mother Nature Network has come up with a simple solution for you. Just apply some dry flour onto a microfiber cloth and buff it into your stainless steel appliance, sink or counter. Then rinse it off and the surface should shine like new.

                                                24. Clean Your Silverware And Knives With Rust Spots Using Lemon Juice

                                                Clean Knives Lemon Juice

                                                  Eventually, stainless steel silverware and cooking knives can begin to get spotty with rust, especially if you use the dishwasher to clean them. Just take your rusted silverware or cooking knives and soak them in a glass of lemon juice for a couple of minutes. The rust will loosen up, making it easy to scrub away… just make sure to hand dry it afterwards!

                                                  25. Clean Your Oven With Baking Soda

                                                  Clean Kitchen With Baking Soda

                                                    With some baking soda, water and a touch of elbow grease, you can easily clean your oven. Get the how-to from The Kitchn.

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                                                    26. Clean Your Wooden Cutting Boards With Lemon And Salt

                                                    Clean Cutting Board Lemon Juice Salt

                                                      You may think your wooden cutting board is clean but even if you wipe it down after use or give it a quick rinse, it can still get grimy on the surface. To freshen up your cutting board, sprinkle some coarse salt and then use half a lemon (cut side down) to scrub the board. Make sure to squeeze some lemon juice as you go and then let it sit for 5 minutes. Scrape the dirty liquid off and then rinse with some water.

                                                      27. Clean Your Microwave

                                                      Microwaving A Sponge

                                                        Image Credit: Erik Mallinson

                                                        It seems way too easy to get microwaved food to explode which leads to messes that eventually need to be cleaned. Make it easy by putting a wet sponge inside your microwave and then spraying the inside with a mixture of water and essential oils. Microwave the sponge for two minutes, let it cool, and then use it to wipe up the leftover mess.

                                                        28. Clean Your Cast Iron Pots

                                                        You shouldn’t use soap on cast iron to clean it – instead just add some coarse salt and sprinkle into the bottom of the pan. Take some paper towels and rub into the pan. Gently heat over low heat to get rid of any extra moisture so that you can prevent rusting.

                                                        29. Clean Your Garbage Disposal With Lemon And Vinegar

                                                        lemon-disposal-clean1

                                                          Tons of gunk goes through your garbage disposal so it’s a pretty good idea to keep it clean which can easily be done with some lemons and vinegar. Just slice the lemons into small pieces and then freeze the slices in vinegar. Run the lemon-vinegar cubes through your disposal every few days to keep it fresh.

                                                          30. Freshen Your Dishwasher

                                                          Vinegar Cleans Dishwasher

                                                            It’s probably never occurred that your dishwasher needs to be cleaned since it’s constantly cleaning itself and the dishes every time you run it, but every so often it’s a good idea to freshen it up. Just run a cycle with vinegar and then do another for rinsing!

                                                            31. Freshen Your Garbage Can

                                                            Baking Soda

                                                              Hose down your garbage can, dry it, and then sprinkle a few tablespoons of baking soda on the bottom to keep it stink free.

                                                              Have a hack that you use to organize and clean your kitchen that hasn’t been mentioned in this list? Please share with everyone else by leaving a comment!

                                                              Featured photo credit: Megan Myers via flickr.com

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                                                              Last Updated on August 10, 2020

                                                              8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life

                                                              8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life

                                                              The importance of effective goal setting cannot be overstated on our personal journeys towards success. This is why there are countless articles out there on how to set your own SMART goals and even why it’s a skill commonly taught to a small degree in classrooms.

                                                              Learning the importance of goal setting and the benefits of sticking to those goals can be the defining factor determining whether we truly embrace the importance of goal setting. The more willing we are to embrace this method, the more likely we become to reach our personal definitions of personal and professional success.

                                                              Thus, today’s article is going to walk you through some of the benefits you’ll see from learning to set goals for yourself and answer the question, “why is goal setting important?”

                                                              1. Goals Guide and Align Our Focus

                                                              It’s hard to get to where you want to be in life if you don’t know what you’re aiming for. Some people believe avoiding goals means living a more care-free life. How many times have you heard the phrase “If I have no expectations, then I can’t be disappointed”?

                                                              But is that really what our lives have come to? Living just to avoid disappointment? It doesn’t seem like an overly optimistic view in my opinion. And since you’re reading this article, I’m willing to bet that you agree with me.

                                                              Without goals, we lack a degree of direction and focus. Sure you may be able to avoid disappointment, but just avoiding disappointment doesn’t mean you are necessarily happy.

                                                              Without goals, we will pointlessly waste our time, energy, and efforts. Listen to anybody who is the top of their field and they’ll tell you something like this,

                                                              “Yes talent is important, but often your success depends much more on what you decide to do with that talent.”

                                                              And what you will do with your talent largely depends on your focus.

                                                              Your goals give you direction. Your goals give you something to shoot for. This direction and target you create in your mind will help you to progress towards your main life goals rather than simply wander around aimlessly. These goals will help you align your actions and behaviors as you continue moving forward.

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                                                              So, why is goal setting important? Because it gives you direction, alignment, and purpose!

                                                              2. Goals Help You Avoid ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’

                                                              Basically, shiny object syndrome is always being in pursuit of the next big thing, constantly switching your goals based on what you feel is most fun and interesting at the given moment, but never actually giving yourself time to accomplish any of those goals.

                                                              You don’t get anywhere because you continually change the direction you are heading in. This is one of the consequences that may result if you decide to live a life without goals.

                                                              Your goals can sometimes help you to create mental barriers, or blinders, that help you to remain focused on what you think is important and avoid the things that are second priority. When you outline goals for yourself, you are better able to avoid things that distract you from achieving and accomplishing those goals.

                                                              Setting goals helps you to step around the other shiny objects because you’ve taken the time to make some mental notes that remind you what it is that you want from your life. Your goals act as subconscious deterrents to anything less than your main priorities. This is what helps you to reach your personal definition of success.

                                                              So, why is goal setting important? Because not only do goals tell you what you want from life, but they also help you realize what you need to give up and avoid to achieve that.

                                                              3. Goals Turn Our Largest Goals into Manageable Steps

                                                              A lot of us have big hopes and dreams. It’s one of the things that make our lives exciting!

                                                              But a lot of us never take the time to figure out how we can effectively get from point A to point B. So, sadly, we never fully achieve those goals. We look at our dreams and convince ourselves that only a select few people ever achieve them, so we write ourselves off as people not meant to reach that level of success. Looking at the end product of a goal can be intimidating, daunting, and discourage us from even pursuing them.

                                                              Thankfully, goal setting helps us break large intimidating goals into smaller ones. These small steps and more achievable goals will help us to build momentum and will encourage us to keep working towards the next phase of our goal. The form the foundation from which we can begin building the life that we truly hope to have for ourselves, our families, and may even for our communities depending on how big your goals are!

                                                              Whenever I get talking about this aspect of goal setting, I can’t help but think about the mountain climbing analogy, and that the easiest way to climb a mountain is simply step by step.

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                                                              So, why is goal setting important? Goal setting gives you a list of manageable steps that you can take in order to take your life from where it is now to where you want it to go both effectively and efficiently.

                                                              4. Goals Encourage You to Take Action

                                                              This builds on the last benefit of goal setting. Not only does effective goal setting help you break down your larger goals into smaller, more manageable ones, but it also encourages you to actually begin taking action on those goals. After all, a plan is completely worthless if you aren’t willing to invest the effort required to execute it.

                                                              Setting your goals and putting your plan in place motivates you to begin taking action towards achieving them. These goals give you something to plan and work towards. Essentially, they help propel you forward.

                                                              What I like to do is write out and place my goals somewhere that I’ll regularly see them. This constantly serves as a reminder of my top priorities. It allows me to focus on taking small progressive actions towards achieving these goals daily.

                                                              This ensures that I don’t fall into the trap of setting a goal, beginning to work towards it for a while, but then having my motivation fade resulting in me falling off track. This is exactly what many people see happen when it comes to their “New Year’s Resolutions.”

                                                              If you want to learn about how to take action towards achieving your goal, here’s how: How To Take Action Towards Your Goals Right Now

                                                              So, why is goal setting important? Because goal setting actually motivates you to stop thinking about your goals and actually get out there and achieve them!

                                                              5. Goal Setting Helps You Continually Improve

                                                              This is something that a lot of personal development and self-improvement writers talk about, continual improvement. For those of you who are not aware of the term, continual improvement is exactly what it sounds like — taking small steps towards improvement as frequently as you can to develop into the person you want to become.

                                                              What’s the point in improving a little bit each day if you’re not improving in the areas that you want to improve in after all?

                                                              The goals that you define for yourself will inevitably shape you into the person who you want to become. They’ll shape your character. Your goals can help you measure your progress as you strive for this type of development.

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                                                              Essentially, having goals helps you determine where you started, where you are now, and how much further you need to go. In this manner, your goal setting can serve as milestones and benchmarks that help you determine how well you’re progressing towards your most important goals!

                                                              So, why is goal setting important? Goal setting helps you make improvements each day that will slowly transition you into the person you want to become.

                                                              6. Goal Setting Keeps You Accountable

                                                              Not only does setting goals help you measure your progress, but it also is a means through which you can keep yourself accountable. Too many goals fail because they lack this crucial aspect of outlining accountability.

                                                              For example, if I have the goal to do 50 push-ups, that’s great. Most people would support that goal. However, this goal lacks accountability. When do I want to accomplish this goal by and what steps do I take to get there? These are important questions that the original goal leaves unanswered.

                                                              A much more descriptive and specific goal could be to do 50 push-ups within the next 3 months by starting at 5 push-ups, and then adding 5 each week. This goal outlines the deadline as well as the steps I’m going to take to achieve it. This plan will keep me accountable because if I fail to retain my progression schedule, I will know that I’m not going to achieve the goal on time.

                                                              Additionally, it can serve as a marker helping to signify when something is impeding my progress that I may not have initially accounted for. This tells me that I need to re-evaluate what I’m doing and figure out what adjustments I can make to facilitate my success.

                                                              So, why is goal setting important? Setting goals is key to keeping ourselves accountable and on-track towards accomplishing our goals according to the schedules and deadlines we set for ourselves.

                                                              7. Goals Make You Feel Good

                                                              Trust me, the progress you feel as you set and achieve goals can become super motivating and super addicting (in a good way)! The dopamine release you get from achieving your goals is like a little reward for our brains that continually motivates us to try and hit that next goal!

                                                              Having some clearly defined goals will help you to feel better about yourself and your life in general, especially when you stick to those goals, actively work towards achieving them, and end up accomplishing and surpassing your initial expectations. I’m not the oldest book on the shelf myself, but I can attest that there are not many feelings quite like the one you experience when you truly get on a roll!

                                                              Additionally, our goals give us an endpoint to shoot for. Rather than progress for progress’s sake, you can actually see where you’re heading! That’s so much more rewarding. Think about a long car trip as a kid. You ask “if you’re there yet?” ever 20 minutes. It seems like the drive drags on forever.

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                                                              If you don’t know where you’re going, you risk the journey becoming tedious. It doesn’t tend to be much fun wandering around aimlessly. Goals make us feel good about where we’re directing ourselves.

                                                              So, why is goal setting important? Because setting goals and accomplishing them plain and simply make us feel better about ourselves and our lives!

                                                              8. Goals Help You Live Your Best Life

                                                              I’ve talked a lot in this article about how goal setting helps us progress towards our top priorities and live the way we truly want to live. So I think it’s fit to end the article with this goal because, in the end, I feel it’s the most important one.

                                                              Setting your goals and clearly defining what they mean to you will help you live a life that is tailored to your beliefs and values. Your life will become directed towards the things that you most want to achieve.

                                                              Life is a tricky game and only in very rare circumstances are things handed to us on a silver platter. Often it takes a great degree of work, planning, and effortful execution of both.

                                                              There is no point clinging on to things in your life if they don’t bring you happiness or help you accomplish something that, in some way, aligns with your goals.

                                                              Simply put, setting goals helps us live a life that allows us to pursue the challenges and rewards that we truly want to achieve.

                                                              So, why is goal setting important? Because our time is always limited, and setting clearly defined goals can help ensure that you make the most of your life and live to the fullest! Find out more here: How to Use SMART Goal to Become Highly Successful in Life

                                                              Final Thoughts

                                                              These are just a few of the benefits of goal setting that outline why it truly is so important. If you take a moment or two, I bet that you can even think of a few more benefits yourself that you could add to this list.

                                                              If I could leave you with something, it would be this:

                                                              Goal setting has the potential to take us to some amazing places in life because we all have talent and ambitions. To achieve your biggest dreams, you need to be willing to sit down and create a life design uniquely tailored to you that will help you achieve them!

                                                              More Tips About Goals Setting

                                                              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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