Tuesday, January 10, 2012

10 Rules & 10 Tips for the Kitchen

Are fruit flies swarming your kitchen? The kitchen is one of the most used rooms in the home and due to the nature of food preparation can be the dirtiest. There are several habits that should be part of your life to avoid having the health department condemn your kitchen, and to make it a happier place.

Ten Rules for the Kitchen
  1. When you get something out, put it away. The same rule that should be applied all over the house is of course just as important in the kitchen. This must be taught to your children when they are young so that they understand that food left out spoils.
  2. While working in the kitchen, fill the sink with hot soapy water. As you finish with a cooking utensil toss it in the sink or grab the washing cloth and wipe down the appliance you were using. Water is the supreme solvent and washing things before the gunk gets hard as a rock saves time later. It’s efficient.
  3. The same principle applies for the countertops and stove, wipe them after each mess that you make. It takes seconds to wipe and rinse the cloth in the sink full of hot soapy water; it takes minutes of scrubbing after spills have become cemented on.
  4. When preparing food, get out all the ingredients, appliances, and utensils first. As soon as you’re done and the dish is cooking put these things away again. Don’t leave to do another thing, finish the work you started.
  5. Keep the dishwasher unloaded. What good is it to you when it is full of clean dishes? You can’t put anything dirty in so it collects in the sink and on the counters taking up valuable workspace. It takes less than five minutes to unload it. Race the clock. Assign a child to be the unloader. Take out the knives first and even a two-year-old can unload the silverware. It might not be perfectly sorted but it’s teaching them to help and preschoolers love to help. Crack the door to let it cool off for five minutes then call the unloader to the job.
  6. Don’t put your dirty dishes anywhere but in the dishwasher. This is more sanitary and efficient. It keeps the countertops clean and attractive. It is inspiring to walk into a clean kitchen; it is depressing to have to do a deep clean before food can be prepared for the next meal.
  7. If you don't have a dishwasher, give yourself the "Rule of Ten": If there are ten or more things to wash, do it now. Never have more than ten things waiting to wash. If you have a dishwasher, apply this to those items that you have to hand wash.
  8. Wipe the sink after every meal. Start at the backsplash, work your way around the sink, do the faucet, then wipe the bowl, empty the strainer and rinse it.
  9. Sweep the floor after every meal. If you don’t do this, the crumbs get picked up on feet and spread throughout the house making the other floors dirty. Crumbs underfoot are annoying and they attract ants. It takes just a few minutes to sweep and saves time later. Assign one of your children to this chore. Less than perfect is better than nothing.
  10. Use your time with Godly wisdom. Put a scripture verse over the sink to memorize while you wash dishes. Pray for the food to be a blessing while you make it. Pray for the people who are going to eat it.
Ten simple habits. Thank God for the ones you are already doing! Now, add the rest starting with the next step you take into your kitchen. Print this article, put it in a page protector, and hang it in a kitchen cupboard. Check through the list after each meal until it all becomes ingrained in your life and has become your own personal kitchen habits.

Ten Tips to a Tip-Top Kitchen
  1. To help clean a scorched pan, scrape off what you can and put enough water in to just cover the bottom, then add a bit of automatic dishwasher detergent and let set overnight.
  2. To get rid of foul smelling odor from plastic containers, rinse them with vinegar.
  3. To rid your kitchen of fruit flies, remove every single food item (hide them in your refrigerator), set out a glass of sweet pickle juice or wine overnight to attract and drown them. The ones that remain become very lethargic due to starvation and are easily swatted.
  4. To clean dried on gunk, squeeze water over it and let it set for several minutes to soften, then wipe.
  5. Take your falling-apart cookbooks to Staples and get them punched and comb bound.
  6. Use vinegar for an inexpensive alternate to rinse agents in the dishwasher.
  7. Pour boiling water down the kitchen drain to keep it running free.
  8. To remove the smell of onion from your hands wipe the flat side of a stainless steel knife blade over them.
  9. Set out a lemon to come to room temperature before squeezing to get more juice from it.
  10. Put frequently used items within easy range (hip to shoulder height) for movement efficiency. Keep this in mind for children also if they are the ones to unload the dishwasher and set the table.

Thank God for dirty dishes,
They have a tale to tell;
While others may go hungry
We’re eating very well.
With home, health, and happiness,
I shouldn’t want to fuss;
By the stack of evidence,
God’s been very good to us!
~ Anonymous ~


Kim Brenneman

Kim is the joyful wife of Matt and the blessed mother of nine children.

When not busy homeschooling and farmschooling, she enjoys writing, gardening, cooking, reading, sewing, and crafting.

Kim lives on a farm in Iowa where her family grows beef cattle, corn and beans, and operates a micro-dairy selling cheese at farmer’s markets. She loves to write and speak about her passion for home and family. She is the author of Large Family Logistics: The Art and Science of Managing the Large Family. She blogs about the same subject at:

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