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11 Ways to Whip Your Kitchen into Shape

Maximize your space and minimize the mess with these DIY tips.

By
Bruce and Jeanne Lubin,
Messy kitchen sink

Whether you're in the process of making a mess or dealing with the aftermath, these tips can save you some cash and elbow grease.

Save Your Space

1. Splatter-Proof Your Stovetop
When cooking on your stovetop, it’s not uncommon for grease to go everywhere. But you can minimize the mess by covering unused burners with square floor tiles. The tiles are much easier to clean than burners, plus they can give you added counter space. Win-win!

2. Block the Spray
Nonstick cooking spray is incredibly useful. The downside: It can wind up coating more than your cookware when you push the button. But there’s a simple solution! Spray your nonstick cooking spray over your open dishwasher, where it will be easily (and automatically) washed away.

3. DIY Mixer Guard
You can turn a simple paper plate into a splatter guard for your stand mixer. First, remove the blade or beaters. Then poke the top portion of the beater through a paper plate. Reattach and you’re ready for your next recipe!

Buy Now

4. Keep the Can at Hand
If you’re making a recipe that calls for an entire can of an ingredient, don’t rush that empty can into your recycling bin. Set it up as a spoon rest while you finish cooking. It’ll hold your utensils ready at hand and keep your counter clean from drips.

5. Contain Cutting-Board Overflow
Whether you’re slicing seeded bagels or peeling potatoes, kitchen prep around a cutting board can get messy beyond the board. Before you start, slip a sheet of newspaper under the board to help make cleanup of the area as easy as crumpling and trashing the newspaper.

6. Make Any Bag the Perfect Fit
Whether it’s a bag you’re reusing to collect food scraps for compost, recycling materials, or just everyday trash, you can make the bag fit your container snugly and stay open at the top with a simple clip. If you have a binder clip or clothespin, that will work. But even better: Reuse one of those notched clips that come on bread bags. There’s a reuse for everything!

Dishes Be Done!

7. No More Dough Dread
How do you clean sticky dough from your mixing bowls? Taking a dish brush or cloth to it makes a complete mess! Instead, try first getting off the worst of the dough with a crumpled piece of aluminum foil. Then you can simply toss the foil and clean the bowl the rest of the way (much more easily!) with dish soap and hot water.

8. It’s in the Bag!
You don’t need to dirty a colander to thaw frozen shrimp. Just poke or cut a few small holes into the bottom of the shrimp’s bag, then open at the top and run water through.

9. Drying Rack at the Ready
Need extra dish-drying space? Reach for your roasting pan’s rack. Once it’s turned upside down, it can hold large, thin items (think: baking sheets) steady in the slots while they air-dry.

10. Sort Now, Save Later
It takes less time and effort to group your spoons, forks, and knives together now when you can see them easily than after they’ve gone through the dishwasher. Mentally assign slots for each in your silverware basket.

11. Don’t Lose Those Lids
Keep track of small lids and utensils in the dishwasher by containing them in a small mesh laundry bag—the kind used for delicate items. Load the bag in the top of the dishwasher.

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