I enjoy cooking, but I hate the mess afterwards, and I can definitely make a mess! The problem with having lots of bench space in my kitchen is that I fill it with dirty dishes, empty tins and packets, and leftover ingredients. I’d like to have the philosophy that I cook, so my husband should clean, but he does the evening bath and bedtime routine. It’s a bit unfair after a long day in the office to ask him to clean the kitchen as well!
Clean as you go is my answer, and here are my top ten tips:
- Start with clear benches and an empty dishwasher (or at least with space in it, assuming you have the luxury of a dishwasher).
- Fill the sink with hot, soapy water to wipe up spills and clean dishes straight away. As it takes forever for hot water to get to my kitchen, I often boil the kettle and use that to top up the sink and keep it hot.
- Clean up spills on the floor straight away too! Have a dustpan and broom and cleaning cloth specifically for the floor on hand.
- Have a receptacle for scraps and waste collection where you are working. That could be a bowl, plastic bag or rubbish bin. Balancing scraps on a chopping board as you walk across the kitchen, open a cupboard and empty into the bin is a disaster waiting to happen.
- Put ingredients away as you use them. It doesn’t take that much more effort than putting them on the closest bench! Better still, measure out, prepare and put away excess ingredients before you start cooking. It makes a few extra dishes, but somehow makes a lot less mess (or gives you more time to clean up). Unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury to time to do this with a toddler wanting attention…
- To make 5. easier, have easy access to containers and cling film.
- Use time between “processes” (got to throw a bit of Masterchef jargon in there) to keep things tidy (don’t just stand there watching your food cook if you don’t have to – or decide to check your Google Reader!)
- Learn how to stir pots and bowls without spilling stuff everywhere – this is a skill I’ve yet to master, as you can see by looking at my stove (sorry, I’m not taking photos of that!).
- Scrape, rinse and/or soak pots and pans as you go. My only exception to this is dishes with fats that solidify at room temperature – it’s much more environmentally-friendly to scrape once solid and dispose in the bin than wash down the sink.
- Put leftovers in containers and have a quick clean up before sitting down to the dinner table. The food isn’t going to get that cold in 60 seconds! (This also helps my husband’s waist-line as it makes seconds more difficult!).
What are your tips for keeping a tidy kitchen whilst cooking? Let me know in the comments!