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Last Updated on November 14, 2017

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 October 16, 2018

                                                              The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

                                                              The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

                                                              It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

                                                              If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

                                                              One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

                                                              Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

                                                              In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

                                                              Why you can’t sleep through the night

                                                              The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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                                                              Stress

                                                              If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

                                                              Exposure to blue light before sleep time

                                                              We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

                                                              While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

                                                              Eating close to bedtime

                                                              Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

                                                              Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

                                                              Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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                                                              Medical conditions

                                                              In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

                                                              The vicious sleep cycle

                                                              The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

                                                              Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

                                                              You get a bad night’s sleep
                                                              –> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
                                                              –> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
                                                              –> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

                                                                You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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                                                                How to sleep better (throughout the night)

                                                                To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

                                                                1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

                                                                What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

                                                                Here are a few suggestions:

                                                                • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
                                                                • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
                                                                • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
                                                                • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
                                                                • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

                                                                2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

                                                                What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

                                                                • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
                                                                • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
                                                                • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
                                                                • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

                                                                3. Adjust your sleep temperature

                                                                Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

                                                                Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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                                                                Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

                                                                Sleep better form now on

                                                                Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

                                                                I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

                                                                As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

                                                                Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

                                                                Reference

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