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How to be a tidy cook

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A pretty apron keeps the cook clean
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If you know how to be a tidy cook you can be more efficient in the kitchen

Scenario: It is Mother's Day and your children have cooked and served breakfast to you. Aaah! Breakfast in bed. What a treat. However, you know what awaits you when you venture into the kitchen: absolute chaos!

Do you know how to be a tidy cook, and have passed on this special skill to your own future cooks? Give the kids a pass this time because they remembered the occasion and did something nice for you. The rest of the time, it benefits everyone if the cook keeps pandemonium under control in the kitchen. 

Don't Ruin Your Clothing

The first rule is to wear an apron. This keeps the cook tidy and his/her clothing stain-free. There are splatters and spills in the kitchen. An apron is your safeguard against wrecked clothing. Additionally, aprons are really cool looking and something you can actually enjoy wearing while preparing breakfast or cooking up a gourmet dinner. Contemporary aprons have come a long way, baby, and are as attractive as they are functional.

Other Tidy Tips

If you can manage, clean while you go instead of waiting until you have finished cooking. Wash dishes throughout the meal preparation or put them into the dishwasher.

After peeling, slicing, cutting and dicing, immediately throw the remains (peels, shells, etc.) into the trashcan or down the disposal. Do not let the detritus pile up on the counter. Under-cabinet trashcans attached to the cabinet door are a great invention. Open the door, toss the trash into the container, close the door and no one has to see or smell the contents or trip over the trashcan. 

Frequently wipe off the counter top with a clean rag or paper towel. This keeps germs/bacteria at a minimum. Use a cleanser such as Clorox Clean-Up.

After stirring a concoction, place the used spoon on a paper towel instead of directly onto the counter top. Using a spoon rest is a great idea too! This keeps the counter clean and that is one less thing you have to scrub.

Get ambitious and clean out and organize your cupboards. This is a big task but it will ultimately save you time and steps. Yank out the contents and dispose of items that haven't been good since 2009. 

Now categorize: Put spices in one accessible location, baking supplies likewise and do the same with utensils.

Pots and pans should go together. You know which items you routinely use so store them in front so you have easy access to them.

Store lids with their appropriate containers, which eliminates the need to go on a search and rescue mission the next time you need a lid RIGHT NOW because the food is boiling over.

Store pots and pans near the stove.

Occasionally, re-stack and organize dinnerware because it can get into a disheveled mess in the cupboard. The last time you opened the cabinet door, a plate nearly fell on your head. It's time to reconnoiter.

Clean out the refrigerator. Yep, it's a dirty job but someone's got to do it. Dispose of unidentifiable items. Reorganize the contents.

Food items such as coffee, sugar, tea bags can be stored in pretty containers left on display on the counter top. Putting sugar in a decorative container is more attractive than leaving the bag of sugar on the counter.

Kitchen floors take a beating, especially during rainy, muddy weather, when kids and dogs tromp through, leaving most of the backyard on the floor. Sweep regularly (we know, it's a pain) and mop as often as you can. Perhaps you can entice a family member into doing this for you. Use your incredible charm.

Instruct family members to put dirty dishes in the dishwasher or, if you hand wash, in a specific place on the kitchen counter.

Keep a cleanser on hand and use it liberally on counter tops, the stove top and refrigerator hand, which prevents germs and bacteria from collecting.

If you do not want to do any of the above ... hire a maid.

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