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

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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!

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                                                              Featured photo credit: Megan Myers via flickr.com

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                                                              Last Updated on January 27, 2022

                                                              5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

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                                                              5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

                                                              Food plays an integral role in our lives and rightfully so: the food we eat is intricately intertwined with our culture. You can learn a lot about a particular culture by exploring their food. In fact, it may be difficult to fully define a culture without a nod to their cuisine.

                                                              “Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are.” – Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1825).

                                                              Don’t believe me? Here’s why food is the best way to understand a culture:

                                                              Food is a universal necessity.

                                                              It doesn’t matter where in the world you’re from – you have to eat. And your societal culture most likely evolved from that very need, the need to eat. Once they ventured beyond hunting and gathering, many early civilizations organized themselves in ways that facilitated food distribution and production. That also meant that the animals, land and resources you were near dictated not only what you’d consume, but how you’d prepare and cook it. The establishment of the spice trade and the merchant silk road are two example of the great lengths many took to obtain desirable ingredients.

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                                                              Food preservation techniques are unique to climates and lifestyle.

                                                              Ever wonder why the process to preserve meat is so different around the world? It has to do with local resources, needs, and climates. In Morocco, Khlea is a dish composed of dried beef preserved in spices and then packed in animal fat. When preserved correctly, it’s still good for two years when stored at room temperature. That makes a lot of sense in Morocco, where the country historically has had a strong nomadic population, desert landscape, and extremely warm, dry temperatures.

                                                              Staples of a local cuisines illustrate historical eating patterns.

                                                              Some societies have cuisines that are entirely based on meat, and others are almost entirely plant-based. Some have seasonal variety and their cuisines change accordingly during different parts of the year. India’s cuisine is extremely varied from region to region, with meat and wheat heavy dishes in the far north, to spectacular fish delicacies in the east, to rice-based vegetarian diets in the south, and many more variations in between.

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                                                              The western part of India is home to a group of strict vegetarians: they not only avoid flesh and eggs, but even certain strong aromatics like garlic, or root vegetables like carrots and potatoes. Dishes like Papri Chat, featuring vegetable based chutneys mixed with yoghurt, herbs and spices are popular.

                                                              Components of popular dishes can reveal cultural secrets.

                                                              This is probably the most intriguing part of studying a specific cuisine. Certain regions of the world have certain ingredients easily available to them. Most people know that common foods such as corn, tomatoes, chili peppers, and chocolate are native to the Americas, or “New World”. Many of today’s chefs consider themselves to be extremely modern when fusing cuisines, but cultural lines blended long ago when it comes to purity of ingredients.

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                                                              Black pepper originated in Asia but became, and still remains, a critical part of European cuisine. The Belgians are some of the finest chocolatiers, despite it not being native to the old world. And perhaps one of the most interesting result from the blending of two cuisines is Chicken Tikka Masala; it resembles an Indian Mughali dish, but was actually invented by the British!

                                                              Food tourism – it’s a whole new way to travel.

                                                              Some people have taken the intergation of food and culture to a new level. No trip they take is complete with out a well-researched meal plan, that dictates not only the time of year for their visit, but also how they will experience a new culture.

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                                                              So, a food tourist won’t just focus on having a pint at Oktoberfest, but will be interested in learning the German beer making process, and possibly how they can make their own fresh brew. Food tourists visit many of the popular mainstays for traditional tourism, like New York City, San Francisco, London, or Paris, but many locations that they frequent, such as Armenia or Laos, may be off the beaten path for most travelers. And since their interest in food is more than meal deep, they have the chance to learn local preparation techniques that can shed insight into a whole other aspect of a particular region’s culture.

                                                              Featured photo credit: Young Shih via unsplash.com

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