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Love to cook but hate to clean? You're in the majority here, but unfortunately one can't happen without the other. If you're putting together a culinary masterpiece in your kitchen, chaos can ensue, resulting in sinks filled high with dirty dishes and countertops covered in sticky spills. While *some* messes are unavoidable, there are a few steps you can take to make clean up easier when you're finished cooking your meal.

If you love to cook, you know the struggle of cleaning up a big mess in your kitchen after a large meal. That pasta was delicious, sure, but cleaning the kitchen with a full belly is anything but appetizing. Same goes for cleaning the kitchen the next morning. Making coffee next to a sink full of dirty, stinky dishes? Not so glamorous (and might even make you a little grumpy, let's admit it).

Let's avoid all this! These simple steps will have you cooking in style, keeping your kitchen more organized and clutter free as you go. So go ahead and make that five-course feast. Here are 8 Tips for Less Mess When Cooking Up a Storm.

 

1. Clean before you make a mess

Before you start making a mess, you'll want to start with a clean and organized kitchen. Adding to an already existing mess can make cooking more stressful than it needs to be, so be sure to empty the dishwasher and the sink before you start. That way, be guaranteed to have a place to put your dirty dishes so they don't pile up on countertops and cause messy clutter.

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2. Organize your ingredients and dishware 

Take a look at your recipes to see if any of them use the same ingredients, that way you can measure and chop everything at the same time. This will limit how many times you have to wash your tools, like mixing bowls and cutting boards. If you're cooking a recipe that involves raw meat or fish, cut any fresh ingredients first (like vegetables) so you'll only have to wash your knife and cutting board once.

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3. Use the right tools

Ever had the frustrating experience of starting to mix your ingredients in a bowl and realizing they won't all fit? You then have to use a bigger bowl, leaving the smaller one dirty and you with unnecessary extra dishes. Unless you are sure your ingredients will fit, it's usually easier to pick the bigger bowl. Extra large cutting boards are also easier to work with, giving you the option to chop different ingredients onto different sections of the board. That way, you'll only have one or two big pieces to wash from meal preparation. 2

4. Weigh out messy measurements over the sink

It's nearly impossible to not make a mess while measuring, especially when using loose ingredients like flour or sugar. If you can predict you'll make a mess, just measure over the sink to be safe. That way you can just rinse out the sink instead of having to sweep the floor or wipe the counters.4

5. Rest utensils on a plate

Before you start cooking, pull out a plate that you can designate for resting your cooking utensils on. This can hold all of the dirty tools that you use, like spatulas, spoons, measuring cups, and knives. This way, all of the messy ingredients will stay confined to the plate and off of your clean counters.5

 

 6. Eliminate food scraps

Let's face it, it's can be annoying making a trip to the trash can every time you have a food scrap to throw away, especially if you're in a home without a garbage disposal. Instead of letting food scraps pile up on the counter or on cutting boards, designate a "scrap bowl" to collect all of your fruit peels, egg shells, or other unused food components. This way you can just toss it all in the trash whenever it gets too full.

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7. Keep tidying as you go

Spill something on the counter? Clean it up as soon as you can so it doesn't harden and become difficult to scrub off. Finished using the flour? Put it away as soon as you're done so it's not taking up precious counter space and creating unnecessary clutter. Drop something on the floor? Pick it up before the dog gets to it or you forget about it entirely. You get the idea... Just keep cleaning!

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8. Clean during downtime 

If you're waiting for the water to boil or for your vegetables to finish roasting in the oven, use that extra time to handle small cleaning tasks. Do some dishes, wipe down the counters, or organize the refrigerator. Do you really want to wash a bunch of dishes after stuffing your face with a delicious feast? Clean during your downtime - You'll thank yourself later.

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