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I make a mess in the kitchen

Very often on sunday afternoons when i have some time, i'll make ahead a couple of things to make dinners easier during the week -

yesterday i made soup, potato salad, and pesto (for 3 different meals during the week...). I don't know how I do it, but I end up with a HUGE pile of dishes in the sink. I feel like for 3 side dishes, this is way too much of a mess! What am I doing wrong? I do use a clean spoon for any new item im using - mayo, mustard, flour, etc.... But somehow I have tons of pots and pans and gagets all over the place (peeler, grater, food processor.....2 different pots for the soup, one for the potatoes, a bowl for the salad...). I wipe down the same knife and cutting board throughout (after using garlic or ginger or something strong). I have no idea how to use fewer items.

Is it just me, or does everyone make a mess in the kitchen? How do you cut back on the number of items you use?

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  1. I do not make a mess in the kitchen. Unfortunately my husband does. One thing is I reuse bowls, spoons, etc....a quick rinse is usually all it takes. Hubby likes lots of bowls and pots and the bigger the better. For instance if he is making us breakfast, he will use two bowls for eggs (one for his, one for mine), another for cheese, two plates for the bacon (one to microwave, one to drain. I will grate the cheese on a paper towel. I will use the same bowl for each of our eggs (when his go in the pan, I'll crack the eggs for mine in the same bowl). I use one plate for bacon.

    1. I am SO not in a position to offer you advice, because I am a messy cook too, but some things that help me...
      - put foil or parchment paper on sheet pans or roasting pans that go in the oven: parchment for breads, cookies, etc., foil for roasts, veggies, etc.
      - definitely use the same spatula/ spoon over and over again- most times, you'll just need to wipe it off with a towel or rinse it... all the little things add up
      - keep a grocery sack or something similar hung on a cabinet knob and toss any trash or what have you in there- that way you're not laying an egg shell on a plate or countertop

      1. I fill the sink with soapy water and, as I use stuff, I wash it off and set it in the drainer to dry. It only takes a second to wash and rinse whn the dishes are "fresh" and everything is usually dry when I am done, so I can just start putting them away.
        I also load the dishwasher as I go...Somehow the mess doesn't seem so bad if it is "clean" (to me anyway.)

        1. clean as you go - that's my mantra. it's easy peasy if you quickly address the cleaning issues as they arise. my husband is a huge mess and has been banned from cooking :).

          1 Reply
          1. re: potterstreet

            Hear hear.

            I probably make the worst mess of anyone I know, but I wash and dry in between prep stages, so the cumulative effect is nil. The big pots and pans that make the sink look full get washed immediately after they cool, which could be between courses -- eventually everything ends up in the DW.

            We used to let things sit until the morning, but doing dishes at 6:30AM really sucks!

          2. A few things- clean as you go, and more importantly, messy dishes are often the result of poor prep work- not sitting and thinking about what recipes or dishes you use through a recipe. You need to consider each of these so you aren't being wasteful as you go.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jpschust

              Probably the easiest way to tackle the "poor prep work" issue is to read through your recipe (or, if you're not using one, jot down the ingredients you intend to use). Then, identify what you'll need for each, ie, peeler, knife, cutting board, bowl or dish to put the prepped item in, etc. Then, figure out what you don't actually need. That is, if you're making potato salad, and you know you're going to be keeping it, make the whole thing in the container its going to live in in the fridge. And for something like that, just about every item could be prepped right into that container.

              If you're already using your food processor, use the grater attachment for it instead of another item. I wouldn't advocate starting to change your practice of using clean spoons and other utensils. Its a sanitary habit and those aren't bad. I'm a believer, I have a cup full of spoons of various sizes for scooping things out of jars or tasting items and then tossing the spoon into the sink.

              Clean as you go, as others have said, is brilliant. Even if all you do is rinse and put it in the sink, it will make the end-stage clean up that much better.

              I used to absolutely destroy the kitchen when I cooked (and, people who have known me a long time still tease me about it) but over time, I've gotten better at judging what I really need to use and at taking the few moments of down time (when something has to cool a bit before the next step, when something is coming back to a boil or a simmer, etc) to "clean as I go."

              Last note: at some point, who cares? :) If the food is good, its worth the clean up!