Great ideas on keeping a kitchen tidy! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 42 Old 11-03-2007, 07:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am so excited. My Dh's sister came to visit for 3 weeks. she is from turkey, big family, almost non-existent kitchen. but, she cooks for groups of 5+ all the time in the closet she calls a kitchen. while she was here she did most of the cooking and i watched her. here is what she did:

- have the dish drainer (or a clean towel) on the counter and ready to receive dishes that are washed or rinsed. if it was just veggies (no meat/dairy etc) rinse the cutting board/knife/tool/whatever immediately and put it in the drainer.

- have the dishwasher empty and don't put anything down on the counter if it can go directly in the dishwasher.

- have a rag out so you can wipe the counter as you go.

- put ingredients away when you are done with them. if you are taking something out of the pantry or the fridge, put something back in before you take the new thing out.

- if something is cooking and you have a few minutes, wash the dishes.

i have gone from the kitchen from he** while i am cooking a big meal, to a wonderful oasis! when we sit down to actually eat dinner, the counters are almost clear, the only thing left to wash are the pots that the food was actually cooked in. it has been months since she left, and my kitchen has only looked like a disaster area once. and i cook several times a week. it truely is heaven!
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#2 of 42 Old 11-03-2007, 07:49 AM
 
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Wow! Those really are great tips!

Thanks!

Erika SO to *S*: and Aunt to *A*(10), *Z*(9), and *D*(8)
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#3 of 42 Old 11-03-2007, 12:21 PM
 
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Another board I go to had a discussion a while ago about "Erase the Evidence", so I try to remember that when I'm working. It's pretty much the same as her system. Work as you go along.

My kitchen actually stays cleaner when I cook a lot because I can't stand to start cooking in a mess.

Thanks for sharing her tips!
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#4 of 42 Old 11-03-2007, 03:39 PM
 
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Great tips, the kitchen is my "sore spot." I also love the idea of "erase the evidence." My Grandma was always in the kitchen and it was ALWAYS spotless, she always cleaned as she went though. I don't. Problem meet solution, lol...

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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#5 of 42 Old 11-04-2007, 08:34 AM
 
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Thanks!

I kept mentally repeating "no evidence" last night as I was cooking for company, with great results! I will have to try and make it a habit!
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#6 of 42 Old 11-04-2007, 08:53 AM
 
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Good ideas
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#7 of 42 Old 11-04-2007, 12:41 PM
 
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Great tips, the kitchen is my "sore spot." I also love the idea of "erase the evidence." My Grandma was always in the kitchen and it was ALWAYS spotless, she always cleaned as she went though. I don't. Problem meet solution, lol...
Ditto! I feel like I'm always saying "I need to clean the kitchen." It gets out of hand so fast. We moved a couple years ago into a house twice the size of our townhouse. I thought the big kitchen would make things much better. Instead, it just gave me more counter space to clutter. and Sigh.
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#8 of 42 Old 11-04-2007, 11:10 PM
 
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Most people DO have closets that are bigger than my kitchen. This is definitely a sore spot for us as well....will have to try!

It is just that whole mindset of MAKING yourself do it part that gets me.
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#9 of 42 Old 11-05-2007, 02:13 PM
 
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Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#10 of 42 Old 11-05-2007, 02:21 PM
 
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My mom taught me this when I was growing up. She would cook big holiday dinners and by the time it dinner time she would have a spotless kitchen. She would have the dishwasher empty and ready for the dinner dishes and only serving dishes to handwash. She has quite a good system!

My dh is the opposite. He will get some meat out for a sandwich, slice the meat on the cutting board and leave it out while he is eating. He leaves stuff out all over and never wipes up spills. He is really nice about helping cook occasionally, but the mess he leaves is almost not worth it : We don't currently have a working dishwasher and only a small dishrack. I have no choice but to wash dishes as I am cooking. Then when the meal is over I empty the dishrack and wash all the meal dishes and put them on the rack. If I get behind on just one meal it throws the whole day off!

~Rebecca~
mama to a sweet girl , & 4 silly boys

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#11 of 42 Old 11-05-2007, 03:22 PM
 
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This was such a great idea - thank you for posting it. I have a hard time staying on top of the mess as it's being made. I played this with my kids like a game yesterday and they loved it. We call it "Erasing the Clues." I think by posting this you may have just made a huge difference in the way I manage clutter! Thank you.

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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#12 of 42 Old 11-05-2007, 04:44 PM
 
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My dh has been pushing for a dish rack forever (I do all the kitchen stuff but he always has these suggestions on how to make things better -haha/argh!), but this post has definitely inspired me to get one... I've been trying to clean as I go the past few meals and I'm really surprised how well it goes and not having to do anything after dinner is over definitely makes the extra effort worth it (although it's not near as much extra effort as I thought... I always feel so frantic trying to get everything ready for dinner I keep telling myself I just don't have time to put everything away and rinse things off).
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#13 of 42 Old 11-05-2007, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Ygle View Post
My dh has been pushing for a dish rack forever (I do all the kitchen stuff but he always has these suggestions on how to make things better -haha/argh!), but this post has definitely inspired me to get one... I've been trying to clean as I go the past few meals and I'm really surprised how well it goes and not having to do anything after dinner is over definitely makes the extra effort worth it (although it's not near as much extra effort as I thought... I always feel so frantic trying to get everything ready for dinner I keep telling myself I just don't have time to put everything away and rinse things off).
I recently started using a dishtowel layed out on the counter to receive clean dishes. i had a dishrack and found they are more for plates/glasses etc, not pots/pans. plus i got tired of the yuck that always accumulated in the pan. and the best part is when all the dishes are put away, i can fold up the towel and my counter looks even neater!
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#14 of 42 Old 11-05-2007, 09:53 PM
 
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I use a kitchen towel, too. Much easier to store and clean.
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#15 of 42 Old 11-05-2007, 10:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sedalbj View Post
I recently started using a dishtowel layed out on the counter to receive clean dishes. i had a dishrack and found they are more for plates/glasses etc, not pots/pans. plus i got tired of the yuck that always accumulated in the pan. and the best part is when all the dishes are put away, i can fold up the towel and my counter looks even neater!
What a great idea! We have a dishrack in the right side of our sink. It drives me nuts how the silverware compartment always gets a gross film on it and it's hard to clean.

With the towel, do things dry okay? Is there a way to keep them from being completely flat so air can circulate inside them?

Is there another use for the opposite side of the sink?
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#16 of 42 Old 11-05-2007, 10:44 PM
 
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What a great idea! We have a dishrack in the right side of our sink. It drives me nuts how the silverware compartment always gets a gross film on it and it's hard to clean.

With the towel, do things dry okay? Is there a way to keep them from being completely flat so air can circulate inside them?

Is there another use for the opposite side of the sink?
I used to have a wire rack that sat INTO the sink, and took about half of one of the sides. I didn't have an icky rack taking up what was at the time VERY valuable counter space. Big pots and pans had to be leaned over to the side on a towel though.
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#17 of 42 Old 11-06-2007, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What a great idea! We have a dishrack in the right side of our sink. It drives me nuts how the silverware compartment always gets a gross film on it and it's hard to clean.

With the towel, do things dry okay? Is there a way to keep them from being completely flat so air can circulate inside them?
i do have the occasional glass etc that doesn't dry because of the lack of air circulation, i just dry it by hand.
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#18 of 42 Old 11-06-2007, 03:42 PM
 
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With the towel, do things dry okay? Is there a way to keep them from being completely flat so air can circulate inside them?

Is there another use for the opposite side of the sink?
You need to make sure that there's air circulation. If you have a bunch of cups, you can prop them up on a chopstick that's laying flat or something like that.

I use one side of the sink for hot soapy water, and then the other side I place the dishes in it that have been washed until I rinse them. I'm not sure if they have official purposes.
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#19 of 42 Old 11-06-2007, 09:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ygle View Post
My dh has been pushing for a dish rack forever (I do all the kitchen stuff but he always has these suggestions on how to make things better -haha/argh!), but this post has definitely inspired me to get one... I've been trying to clean as I go the past few meals and I'm really surprised how well it goes and not having to do anything after dinner is over definitely makes the extra effort worth it (although it's not near as much extra effort as I thought... I always feel so frantic trying to get everything ready for dinner I keep telling myself I just don't have time to put everything away and rinse things off).

I always find that if things are cleaned and put away, I don't feel quite as frantic. I start feeling really overwhelmed and rushed when the kitchen counters are covered and there's stuff everywhere.
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#20 of 42 Old 11-06-2007, 09:22 PM
 
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Listening & learning......
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#21 of 42 Old 11-07-2007, 03:33 PM
 
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I always find that if things are cleaned and put away, I don't feel quite as frantic. I start feeling really overwhelmed and rushed when the kitchen counters are covered and there's stuff everywhere.

Definitely true, I'm finding!

Well, thanks for the warning on the dish racks, everyone... I guess it's not the perfect answer I was hoping for. I do do the towel on the counter, but I'd like to get the airflow and not use up so much counter space... I was hoping to have something to prop up my baking pans and be able to stack my mixing bowls, for example. It almost seems easier to just stack the dishes all together or throw them in the dishwasher just so they are more out of the way than to give them a quick wash and have to spread them all out. Also, I was hoping for a more definitive indication of what's clean because my kids tend to pile up dirty stuff onto the clean stuff drying on the towel.
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#22 of 42 Old 11-08-2007, 08:49 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sedalbj View Post
I recently started using a dishtowel layed out on the counter to receive clean dishes. i had a dishrack and found they are more for plates/glasses etc, not pots/pans. plus i got tired of the yuck that always accumulated in the pan. and the best part is when all the dishes are put away, i can fold up the towel and my counter looks even neater!
I found the same thing! Dishrack is in the basement, clean towel on the counter.....
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#23 of 42 Old 11-08-2007, 09:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Definitely true, I'm finding!

Well, thanks for the warning on the dish racks, everyone... I guess it's not the perfect answer I was hoping for. I do do the towel on the counter, but I'd like to get the airflow and not use up so much counter space... I was hoping to have something to prop up my baking pans and be able to stack my mixing bowls, for example. It almost seems easier to just stack the dishes all together or throw them in the dishwasher just so they are more out of the way than to give them a quick wash and have to spread them all out. Also, I was hoping for a more definitive indication of what's clean because my kids tend to pile up dirty stuff onto the clean stuff drying on the towel.
I also have a glass pan thingy i use when i am washing lots of stemware after a party. i think i found it at bed bath and beyond. it is white, flat (1 in high), maybe 10x15 inches. it is a 'pan' w/ a grid in it so you can put your stemware etc upside down on the grid and still get lots of air circ.

it still collects gunk, but it fits in my dishwasher and stores a lot easier.

this is kinda the idea, mine was cheaper and had the grid instead of the little pins sticking up
http://www.wineenthusiast.com//E/det...AB66&AfID=ZNXT
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#24 of 42 Old 11-08-2007, 11:46 AM
 
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I really like the idea to immediately put things into the dishwasher while cooking. So often the dishwasher is full of clean dishes so the dirty ones go into the sink. Then after dinner we have to empty the dishwasher then load it again. I'm definitely going to make a better effort to have all the clean dishes put away before I start making dinner so clean-up afterwards is easier.
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#25 of 42 Old 11-08-2007, 04:37 PM
 
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Coincidentally (as I'm just reading this thread for the first time) I just made a quickbread with the kids and happened to have an empty dishwasher at the same time... as we finished with each dish (and cooking with two three-year-old helpers means lots of dishes/measuring cups/etc.!) I put it right into the dishwasher. The bread is about to come out of the oven, and the only mess in the kitchen is the mess that was there *before* we started cooking!

Decluttering SAHM of three. Going for 2011 items in 2011.
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#26 of 42 Old 11-08-2007, 06:59 PM
 
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I agree with everything you all said, right down to slobby-cook dh LOL.

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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#27 of 42 Old 11-09-2007, 01:08 AM
 
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Originally Posted by celestialdreamer View Post
My dh is the opposite. He will get some meat out for a sandwich, slice the meat on the cutting board and leave it out while he is eating. He leaves stuff out all over and never wipes up spills. He is really nice about helping cook occasionally, but the mess he leaves is almost not worth it :
Celestialdreamer... could we possibly be married to the same man???
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#28 of 42 Old 11-09-2007, 01:20 AM
 
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The only model I ever saw of this growing up was on holidays. My mom without fail received my dad's clean-up crew presence while she cooked. The second she was done with something he washed it and put it away. So to me, the idea that the kitchen is clean when you sit down is well, something it takes two to accomplish.

DP is constantly confusing me when he cooks by having the kitchen pretty much clean when we sit down. When I cook, it's a disaster and I wind up lingering at the table longer just to delay diving into the heap. The heap, which sours the taste of practically any meal, no?

So I'll give it a go. Thanks for the tips!

Vanessa - aspiring Traditional Foods momma of Graham & Margot
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#29 of 42 Old 11-12-2007, 12:47 PM
 
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In my house, the kitchen is totally view-able from the front door (bad design!), so I try hard to clean up as I go along. I love to cook, and I always look for new ideas on how to be efficient about cleaning up.

A few things that I do that help also:

Have a “garbage bowl” (a la chef Rachael Ray) out whenever you cook or clean up, esp if your garbage can is not very convenient. If you compost, you already do something like this. Having somewhere to put scraps or trash right near your chopping board helps a lot with the mess of cooking. (It’s kind of funny that she is actually selling a “garbage bowl” of her own...) If you use a pretty bowl, and empty it and wash it each time, it really helps keep your kitchen neat.

Be strict about emptying the dishwasher if you have one. (Already mentioned in the thread, I know...)A friend of mine says that she always empties it the minute she walks into the kitchen if the dishes are clean. When my kids were little, I found this a big burden, though, so I would put a dishpan under the sink. If I had a few stray dishes before I had a chance to unload, I would put them in the dishpan. This helps keep your kitchen tidy. If the dishpan under the sink was full, my delaying time for emptying the dishwasher was officially over.

I have a big stack of cloth napkins along with a whole bunch of kitchen towels. I use them to wipe up and dry things as I go along. I launder them all separately in hot water. It also cuts down on the use of paper towels (yes, I still use them, but try to use as few as possible).

Put everything back immediately. I have heard that you should imagine a string is attached to every item you get out, linking it with its “place.” But I like “erase the evidence” even better.

Take as much out of your kitchen as you can and keep it as spare as possible. My kitchen is also the back entrance to our house, the one that our family uses. So I have to patrol it and protect it from kid clutter, etc. It’s a lot harder to cook and keep clean if there is a lot of stuff in your kitchen.

Thanks again for everyone’s tips!
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#30 of 42 Old 11-15-2007, 03:01 AM
 
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I just have to say this method has been working for me. Thank you!

Kris wife to Stew and mom to Joey 8/03 who cares for , 2 frogs and a worm
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