I knew a woman who hated to cook, and one day after spending time with her in her kitchen, it was made clear to me one reason she disliked this duty – her kitchen turned into a war zone while she was working. Then after the meal was over, she had to go back into the destruction and spend lots of time cleaning, organizing and putting things away. If you struggle with the same problem, let me give you three simple tips that will change your attitude and your atmosphere in the kitchen!
- Start with an empty sink. This means, before you start, if there are any dirty dishes, wash them or put them in the dishwasher. Also, if there are any clean dishes in the dish drainer, dry them and put them away.
- Fill the sink with hot soapy water and wash up your prep dishes as you cook. You don’t have to wash everything as you’re cooking, but put it into the hot water so it is soaking. Then in-between tasks, wash up what is in the water and get them into the dish drainer.
- Be sure to empty the dish drainer as it fills up! If you just keep piling the dishes on until they reach the sky, you’ll have another dreaded task to complete. When you have a little load washed, dry them and put them away. It will only take you a few minutes – unlike if you fill the drainer to overflowing!
- Put all food items away after you use them. Need milk for the biscuits? Measure it, then put the gallon back in the fridge.
- Have a trash bowl ready for food scraps. I keep a small plastic bowl on the counter to hold the trash I accumulate while cooking. Did you crack eggs? Throw the shells in the trash bowl. When you cut up the veggies for the salad, keep that bowl handy for the tomato stems and lettuce core. This not only keeps things cleaned up, it makes it convenient and keeps you from taking extra steps to the trash can.
- Keep a soapy rag at your fingertips to wipe up messes as you go along. I recently watched a video of a chocolate chef. As he worked, he kept wiping the counter down. There’s no huge disaster left at the end if you do that! You can also wipe up any splashes on the stove top as it occurs.
If you follow these six easy steps, the only thing you’ll have to clean up after the meal will be the pans, your serving dishes, plates and silverware. The kitchen is a place for good food, not for war zones! Keep yours tidy and you’ll have a much more peaceful attitude about the next meal you need to stir up!
Which one of these tips do you find most challenging? See if you can win the war over it this week.