If the dishwasher is already loaded and the sink is full of dirty dishes, your post-dinner mess has already doubled in scope. Make your life easier by making sure the kitchen is clean before you start cooking. Unload the dishwasher, clear out the dish rack, and take out the trash if it is full. When you clear the decks first, it's much easier—and quicker—to clean up as you cook and after you eat.
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- 7 Tips for Quick and Easy Cleanup After Dinner
7 Tips for Quick and Easy Cleanup After Dinner
Start with a clean slate
Clean as you cook
If your kitchen looks like a disaster zone after you've whipped up a midweek pot of spaghetti and meatballs, you're probably not one of those home chefs who clean as they cook. It may sound like more work to tidy as you go, but making a few changes to your cooking routine will actually save you time down the line. Put ingredients back as soon as you’ve finished using them, let cookware soak in the sink while you’re working on another part of the meal, and address spills and splatters right when they happen.
Keep the kitchen stocked
What could be worse than buckling down to wash a sink full of dishes only to discover you're out of dishwasher detergent and your grimy sponge needs to be ditched? Keep your kitchen stocked with cleaning essentials and always have your favorite cleaners on hand, and you'll never find yourself in a messy situation.
Develop good cooking habits
Not everyone can be a master chef, but anyone can learn to make less mess in the kitchen. Practice good habits, such as keeping a towel on hand to wipe away spills, using a bowl to collect vegetable peels and food scraps, and rinsing and reusing the same cooking utensils to do different jobs.
Be prepared for leftovers
Fitting leftovers in the fridge is like a game of Tetris: You have to strategically position bowls and packaged food on top of each other to make room for everything. Rather than rearranging the contents of your fridge every time you eat, clear it out on a weekly or biweekly basis so there will always be room to store what's left of dinner.
Try to cover whatever you can, whether it's the cookie sheet or the kitchen table, to eliminate exposure to sticky substances and reduce the number of things you need to scrub. Foil and parchment paper can be used on baking sheets to catch grease and drips, and then thrown in the garbage after cooking. When you keep the table covered, you can just shake off the crumbs so the cloth will be clean for the next morning, or toss it in the wash if it's splattered with drips.