Kitchen Tips

I have been cooking (almost) every night now for the past 6 weeks, and I think that I’ve become pretty good at it.  Not that 6 weeks is a really long time, but it’s one of the few things that I’ve stuck with for longer than just a couple of weeks so I’m pretty proud of myself.  I’ve also been trying out the stuff, and it seems to be going pretty good as well, even though I got a little off track with Christmas holidays and stuff.  It’s much easier to go hang out with Rob when Kitten is sleeping, rather than clean the house! 🙂

Seeing as how it’s back to the Kitchen in our flylady zone cleaning, I thought that I’d share some of the things that I do to help me cook and clean more efficiently.  In no particular order…

  • I pull out all my equipment that I require for cooking and put it in my workspace, then I pull out all of my ingredients, and put it on another counter, so I’m not rooting in the fridge/pantry/freezer/etc. as I’m trying to get my meal together.  It’s only a couple of steps to the other counter, rather than across the room.
  • I make sure that the two sinks are empty.  One I fill up with hot soapy water to put my used prep dishes in as I go.  They get get to soak where they’re out of my way, and when it comes time to load the dishwasher, I don’t have to rinse them.  The other I put the colander in so when I’m ready to rinse my veggies, I’m not fiddling around with stuff in the sink. 
  • I have a pumpkin shaped plastic Halloween pail that I use for garbage while I cook.  It sits on the counter where I work, and I can just throw my carrot ends and other garbage into it as I go, without having a giant mess on the counter, and I’m not crossing the room (again) to throw stuff out as I go.
  • I use disposable latex gloves when I handle the (raw) meat.  I try to make sure that I don’t touch anything that isn’t going directly into the wash water while I’m wearing the gloves.  It’s not so much to keep the meat and veggies apart, as you usually cook both of them, but I want to make sure that I’m not getting bacteria on the counter top, door handles, tap, etc.  I’m not incredibly picky about what other people do, but I’d hate to have someone get food poisoning at my house because of meat bacteria.  I also make sure that I use a different cutting board and knife for the meat then everything else.  I actually have a cutting board that I only use for cutting up meat, and maybe that’s just crazy, but there you go.
  • For the kitchen zone cleaning, my schedule goes like this:  Sunday – Wash windows.  Monday – clear out clutter hotspots and dust the counter tops, plants, canisters, fridge top, etc.  Tuesday – check hotspots, clean out the inside of the microwave.  Wednesday – check hotspots, quick wipe over cabinet fronts.  Thursday – check hotspots, clean pet dishes.  Friday – check hotspots, wash floor.  I don’t plan anything for Saturday so we can catch up with other chores, etc.  Once every couple of months I’ll clean the fridge, re-organize the pantry, re-organize the freezer, wipe down the insides of the cabinets, and the light fixtures.  Twice a year, I’ll clean the tops of the cabinets and repaper them, and wash down my decorative plants up there. 
  • Like flylady always says, make sure to shine your sink!  She recommends doing it each night, then putting the days dish rag and tea towel in the wash, so you never have that stinky dish rag syndrome!  I have a small bucket in the broom closet just off the kitchen that we throw the dish rags and towels into.  Then I can do that load of laundry once a week, and I don’t have to worry about it any more!

I find these things have really helped my efficiency in the kitchen, and following the zone cleaning really helps keep my house in a pretty presentable state.  It also really helps that Rob’s a clean guy, and is very prompt and detailed when he does the dishes!