The last thing any of us feels like doing after slaving over a meal is cleaning up afterwards. Even if you have little helpers whose nightly chore is to do the dishes, there are sneaky ways you can minimize 'tidy-up time' to get most of the work done before dessert. Here's how:
Empty the dishwasher
This should be the golden rule of tidy cooking - before you even think about pulling out a chopping board, empty the dishwasher, or better yet, get a little helper to do this job before you step into the kitchen--then re-stack the dishwasher as you cook.
If you don't have a dishwasher, clean any dirty dishes before starting. Follow by filling the kitchen sink with hot, soapy water. As you work, drop in the utensils and dishes you've used into the water and let them soak. Washing up will be a cinch when the gunk easily slips off from pots and pans and all that's needed is a quick rinse and dry. BONUS: You use less water by filling up your sink and soaking dishes as opposed to running your tap while you scrub each dish!
Cover the counter
To catch mess quickly, line your working space with butcher's paper (or place a sheet of baking paper under a chopping board), then fold it up with the scraps and toss it when you're done. Easy-peasy.
Keep it simple--UTILIZE YOUR CROCKPOT!
It goes without saying that the simpler the meal, the less mess there is to clean up. Make your life easy by cooking slow-cooker family favourites--the Internet is packed with so many wonderful crockpot meal ideas! And the best part? You'll only have the one pot to wash up afterwards!
Clean up in stages
Clear away any dishes and ingredients you've used for preparation before you start cooking. Likewise, after you've finished one task, have a quick tidy up before you start the next one. Cleaning up in stages like this will lighten the load at the end.
Have a garbage bag on the go
Keep a bag or bowl beside your cutting board to toss scraps into as you work, instead of spreading it over the counter top.
Avoid unnecessary elbow grease by lining baking and roasting pans with aluminum foil to save scrubbing them later. Likewise, spray measuring cups and spoons with non-stick spray not only prevents stains, but sticky ingredients, like honey, slide right out and the cups and spoons clean up easily.
Wear your tea towel
Tuck a tea towel or cloth into the waistband of your apron or pocket to wipe up small spills to stop them from becoming sticky blobs that need scrubbing later.
Be a multi-tasker
If you are a Mother, you should have mastered multi-tasking a long time ago. So while the water is boiling, load the dishwasher, while the oven is firing up, do a quick wipe down and while the rice is cooking, sweep the kitchen floor. You'll be amazed how much you can get done while cooking.
Turn on the dishwasher before bed
And lastly, flick the switch on your dishwasher before you go to bed.