I’m always on the lookout for ways to save time in the kitchen. Here are some of my favorite tips for shaving a few minutes off my chores:
- The trash can and compost pail are the two most important devices in your kitchen. Make sure both are at the center of everything when preparing a meal. If you store your trash can and compost pail under the counter, pull them out while you work so you aren’t constantly having to touch a knob to open the cupboard door with dirty and full hands.
- During the day, we load dirty dishes into the dishwasher immediately after a meal. Before heading to bed, we run the dishwasher. Then, first thing the next morning, as I’m waiting for water to come to a near-boil for my coffee, I unload the clean dishes. Dishes won’t ever pile up on the counter because everyone in the house knows the load is dirty. If you wash dishes by hand, immediately wash them after a meal to avoid attracting bugs and pests.
- It won’t work in every kitchen, but in mine it is best to open all the cupboard doors and drawers before unloading dishes from the dishwasher. I leave the doors and drawers open during the entire process, and then close them when I’m finished. You don’t waste time opening and closing doors.
- When cleaning the counter after a meal preparation, I wipe all the crumbs directly into the open dishwasher instead of into my hand.
- Store the items you use most often in drawers and on shelves that are easiest to reach (usually between your knees and your shoulders). You don’t want to bend over or grab a step stool to reach high shelves every time you’re working in the kitchen.
- Store items where you use them. All coffee supplies should be near the coffee pot. All pots and pans should be near the stove. Protective oven mitts should also be near the stove so they’re easy to grab right when you need them.
- When you know you’ll be cooking foods that tend to splatter, wet a washcloth or sponge and add a dollop of dishwashing detergent to them before you begin cooking. Then, wipe up splatters off the stovetop as they happen so you won’t have to invest a bunch of elbow grease later scrubbing down the mess.
- If you have an electric stove, lay a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil under the coil on the oven floor. Replace the foil once a month or more often if you know something spilled during baking. This simple trick makes oven cleaning a lot simpler.
- When waiting for water to boil, the oven to preheat, your tea to steep, or the timer to run down on something you’re making, use those spare moments to clean the toaster or another quick kitchen chore. Over the course of a week, your kitchen will get cleaner without investing any extra time.
- Instead of wasting time scrubbing pots with stuck-on food, pour a tablespoon of baking soda and a few cups of water into the pot. Bring the baking soda-water mixture to a rolling boil and then turn off the burner and let the water cool. You shouldn’t have to do much intensive scrubbing on the pan after that.
What time-saving steps do you take in the kitchen? Share your tips in the comments.