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10 Tips on Keeping Your Kitchen Clean When You Cook

10 Tips on Keeping Your Kitchen Clean When You Cook

Of course you want to cook a fresh, hot dinner for your family, but at the end of a long day, it’s a tough task to take on. Not only do you have to prep the food and cook the meal, you have to clean up afterwards! Don’t stress about how long cleaning up might take. Instead, check out these ten tips on keeping your kitchen clean when you cook. If you get it all done while you’re making the meal, you can relax after!

1. Start Fresh and Clean

Starting with a clean kitchen is a time saver. If you already have spills on the counter and dishes piled up in the sink, you won’t really be in the mood to cook a fresh meal. Make time to deep clean your kitchen one day, so you won’t have to clean as much every time you use it.

2. Pick the Right Spot

Where is the best place to cook? Do you have an island in your kitchen, so you have unobstructed counter space to prepare everything before turning around and dumping it in a pan? Or it might make sense to slice and dice right next to the sink, so you can clean the fresh produce as you go. Pick the right spot so you’ll be running around less. Don’t prep half of the meal on one side of the kitchen just to have to run it across the room to the stovetop. Prepping next to your workspace will also cut down on spills you’ll have to clean up later.

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3. Cook Simpler Meals

You might fancy yourself a gourmet cook, but are you trying to make a masterpiece or feed your family? If you’re just trying to fill everyone’s bellies, don’t worry so much about the appetizer, main course, and three sides. Cook enough food so no one walks away hungry, but don’t worry about going all out for the dinner. Simple meals are just as filling as anything gourmet!

4. Prep Ahead of Time

If you can fix any part of your meal ahead of time–do it! Bake bread in the morning while you’re packing lunches, or dice vegetables while the kids are having their snacks. Use a slow cooker to make your meat extra tender while you’re at work all day.

5. Try Canned, Frozen, and Dry Ingredients

Of course you want the best fresh ingredients for your family, but that’s not always possible–or affordable! Don’t be afraid to try canned, frozen, and dry ingredients. These also work to cut down on your prep time. Using frozen chopped spinach is way easier than washing fresh leaves and cutting them up yourself. Use dry mixes instead of trying to toss together all the spices by yourself. The meal will taste just as good, and you won’t be too exhausted to enjoy it!

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6. Use Fewer Dishes and Utensils

Plan ahead so that you can use fewer dishes and utensils, which means you’ll have less to wash later. If you use a cutting board to cut the onion, rinse it and the knife to use again when cutting the chicken while the onions are already simmering. If you’re preparing a lot of similar ingredients, see if you can mix them all together in the same bowl without even washing it in between.

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    7. Collect Trash As You Go

    When you take something out of the package, go ahead and put it in the trash can or recycling bin. This will be easier than trying to run around picking up trash after the meal, and it will make your cooking space look bigger and less cluttered. Throwing out trash as you go can help cut down on spills as some ingredients or packaging might start oozing over time.

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    8. Clean Spills Immediately

    Don’t let spills sit! They’ll get sticky and stinky and before you know it, you’ve put a clean bowl right on top of a mess. Wipe a spill up as soon as you see it happen so you won’t have to deal with a potentially larger mess later.

    9. Use Rags

    Using rags to clean up spills and surfaces helps immensely. It cuts down on trash because you can just use one rag and rinse it out as needed, instead of tearing off paper towel after paper towel and throwing them away after one wipe. You can hang the rag on your sink faucet, which keeps it out of the way, as opposed to having clusters of used paper towels hanging out on your counters.

    10. Multi-task

    While one thing is simmering on the stove, get a jump on the clean up. Start washing some of the dishes you’re done with so you won’t have to do it later. Make sure you’re always busy either preparing for the next step or cleaning so you won’t have to later. This will make the most of your time while you’re already in the kitchen, so you’ll have the rest of your evening free.

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    Featured photo credit: Jeff Kubina via flickr.com

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    Last Updated on July 21, 2021

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

    More on Building Habits

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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