The following kitchen hacks will only save you time and money, by using recycled or inexpensive upgrades to help improve your kitchen storage and cleaning habits. To save even more time, we’ve whittled them down to the 10 best:
1.) Don’t let ugly, withering lemons go to waste! Use old-ish lemons to clean countertops and the inside of the fridge. You can even give it a little scrub by just using the lemon itself as you would a sponge. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, then wipe with water to break down any sugar left behind by the lemon juice. This is much healthier than using chemical cleaning products, smells way better than vinegar, and puts otherwise questionable and unattractive produce to good use.
2.) For kitchens without dishwashers, this one is a real sanity saver. Bring two large pots of water to the boil while washing larger things (plates, etc.). Once the water is boiling, turn the heat off and carefully put silverware (and other small items) in one of the pots, mix in some soap, and place the lid on. After 5 minutes, rinse any residue off the silverware in a large strainer. Place the rinsed silverware and more soap into the other pot. Stir for one minute, rinse the silverware, and dry. This is great when you have lots of dirty dishes and silverware, and want to spare time (and your water bill) otherwise wasted on washing every individual knife and fork.
3.) For granite and marble tops – which are naturally porous – save time and money by protecting the material, while not sacrificing class. Buy a thin and malleable (durable, but not stretchy) clear plastic sheet, and custom cut it to the form of the granite/marble. This prevents grime and acidic substances from seeping into the porous material and eroding the stone. Bonus: it’s also kid-proof!
4.) Never forget where you put the onions again: hang them at eye level with a wire hanging system, found anywhere kitchen equipment is sold. They cut down on time spent rummaging through cupboards, making food storage a dream. You could use one layer for fresh veggies/potatoes, one for fruit, and one for breads. Alternatively, store smaller kitchen equipment this way and never lose your can opener again!
5.) Store unused bread in the freezer and save space in your cupboards. When needed, take a couple of slices out and defrost/toast in the oven or toaster. Note: this hack works best with pre-sliced bread.
6.) For open kitchens: line the shelves with wax paper. Fat travels in hot air when cooking with oil, so use wax paper on shelves for easier cleaning. Simply change the paper once a month and cut out a whole cleaning task.
7.) Keep meat fresh by using mason jars (or old preserves jars). Yes, this may make your fridge look like the set of an old horror film, but it really is the best way to preserve unused meat, with or without freezing it. Just be sure to close the lid extra tight to prevent the meat from greying or spoiling.
8.) Got some stale coffee lying around? Use it as a filter at the back of the fridge to diffuse nasty smells. Just put the coffee grounds in an open jar, a tight mesh baggie, or cut a square of cheesecloth and tie it up with the grounds inside. This works best with finely ground coffee. Just be sure to mark it with “DO NOT USE”, or someone’s going to end up with a nasty surprise…
9.) If you baked too many cookies and want to store them without drying out, put these goodies in a plastic container with a few apple wedges or slices of orange peel. The cookies will absorb the moisture from the apple/peel, and possibly even some of the orange flavour (and everyone loves chocolate orange!).
10.) To save large quantities of cake without having to unwrap the entire cake every time, wrap individual slices of cake separately and store them in the freezer. Wrap each with one layer of plastic wrap, then one layer of foil, then another layer of plastic wrap to make sure the flavours are protected. As an optional extra, store them all in a plastic container or cake box to stop them getting squashed.
So there you have it, save yourself time, money, and cut down on food waste with these quick and easy tips. Now, time to take out a piece of that cake…
About the writer:
Natalie Andrews works for cleaning services platform Helpling, so always has a great cleaning tip up her sleeve. An avid cook, she’s mastered the art of cupcakes (and the art of clearing up super fast after a messy baking session!).