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I have a love-hate relationship with my kitchen. I love that even though we live in an apartment, we have a very good size kitchen (not one of those little skinny ones). I also love that I am able to create amazing meals for my family in it (okay, maybe amazing is a strong word). I hate that I seem to find myself constantly in the kitchen. If I am not cooking or feeding kids, then I am cleaning, organizing the fridge, mopping, etc. Sometimes it feels like there are days I never leave the kitchen at all.
I am finding less and less days are filled with hate and more with love because of some simple changes that I have made in our kitchen. I am super excited to share those changes with you today so that you can find more joy in your own kitchen.
- Keep your kitchen tidy and smelling fresh! I can not stand when trash is all over my kitchen and the kitchen stinks. Lazy people may leave the trash, but lots of things can cause a stench. Banana peels and other scraps in the trash, someone forgetting to run the garbage disposal after they do the dishes. Either way, I have found something that helps out both problems in one. Hefty Ultra Strong trash bags. These trash bags get the job done! They have active tear resistent technology so even if you load them up, they can hold their contents. But what about that smell? I love that Hefty Ultra Strong trash bags not only have a scent free option but also some wonderful scented options. My personal favorite is the Citrus Twist smell, but the Lavender & Sweet Vanilla is so calming. If you want to try out the Hefty Ultra Strong bags now is the time because they are a great value PLUS I have a coupon for your. You can get $1 off one box of Hefty trash bags with this coupon from Coupons.com. Get your coupon by clicking here: https://clvr.li/24hYcAA
- Keep your bread from getting smashed before you get home. Okay, I don’t know about you but it seems like my bread was always getting smashed. Not necessarily at home, but either in the store, in the cart on the way out to my car, or in the car itself. I hate trying to make sandwiches with smashed bread so I have found a few things that help keep that from happening. First, I always shop from the back of the store to the front. In all of our grocery stores our bakery and bread section is near the front, so that helps make sure I am putting my bread on the top of all the food in my cart. Second, I learned a little trick. If you have a cart full of food (or kids) simply hang your bread on the outside part of the cart (see the picture below). This works for chips too. Finally, a lot of newer vehicles have hooks on the backs of the seats that you can hang your bags on to help them from falling all over the car as you drive. I use this to help keep my bread from getting smashed in the car. YAY for bread that is still nice and fluffy when you go to use it. (Okay, so that technically wasn’t a kitchen hack, but close enough right?)
- Pre-wash your produce. Last year we had our first (and hopefully only) battle with fruit flies. I blame it on the fact that with two infants I had slacked on this little trick. As soon as I get my produce home, before I even put the other groceries away, I fill my kitchen sink with cool water and a half cup of vinegar. I then soak my produce (depending on the type) in the water while I put the other groceries away. I then drain it and rinse with cold water. It gets all the dirt and other stuff off of the fruit, helps it stay fresh a little longer, and helps keep fruit flies away.
- While your at it- get the grapes off the vine! I got so sick of one of two things always happening- either my family was too lazy to eat the grapes because they had to break off part of the vine OR we would get some grapes, and one, somewhere in the middle that you couldn’t see when you bought it was mushy or even a little moldy and it quickly spread to the entire bag. I decided to take care of both of these problems at the same time. After I washed the produce, I then began removing all of my grapes from the vine and putting them in a bowl or plastic container in the fridge. As I removed them, I got rid of any that were bad which meant we had an entire bowl of good, clean, already picked grapes that we could just reach in and grab a handful. Whenever I do this my family gobbles up the grapes and we rarely throw any away due to them going bad. So we eat healthier and save money. Win-win.
- Empty those bags right away. I got in a bad habit for a while. I would go grocery shopping with all the kids. Get everyone inside, get the food in, and then I would have something else I needed to do so I would simply dig around try and find everything that needed to be in the fridge or freezer and leave the rest in the bags. Then later I would try and get everything out of the bags and put them away. It led to a few things accidentally being forgotten somehow, or thrown away, or buying something twice because some random bag got shoved somewhere, and worst, it led to a melted thing of ice cream all over the kitchen floor one time. OOPS! As soon as you get home from the store, remove EVERYTHING from the bags. Then you can easily group it by where it needs to go (putting the produce in the sink to wash) and make sure everything gets put away. Then you can also get rid of the bags from the kitchen as well.
- Limit kitchen hours. Maybe I am a mean mom. I am okay with that. I just got so tired of being in the kitchen All. Day. Long. that I did what I had to do. And this was when I only had one kid. One day I realized that I had a grazer. You know, a kid who doesn’t really sit and eat a lot at once but will eat all day long if you let them. I knew if I didn’t start limiting eating time, I would have to spend my entire life in the kitchen. It was a hard decision because our son has always been very small for his age. But we did it, and life has been so much better. We now have set time frames that we get to eat. Breakfast closes an hour or so after waking. Lunch is at a certain time, and if you say you are done or full, you are done until snack time. Then after snack, you are done until dinner. While the exact times vary, it has made all the difference to only have 4 times that we go in and eat because now mommy can actually get out of the kitchen here and there.
(Keep reading to get a free printable Kitchen Is Closed Sign below)
- Weekly take out nights! I really try and cook most of our meals at home. It saves money, helps us eat better, and helps teach my kids about preparing food, and all that jazz. BUT- one thing that has saved me is deciding that one night a week we can get food and bring it home. Pizza, chicken, chineese food, it doesn’t matter. Having one night where I don’t have to prepare a meal, and where we have little to clean up gives me a night to just enjoy time with my family. We normally make this a family game night, or a movie night, or do something fun this night, but either way, it gives me a night where I am not spending an hour in the kitchen before and 30 minutes in the kitchen after. So give yourself some freedom and allow yourself a day off from it all.
Do you have any random kitchen tips that have helped you enjoy your kitchen more? I would love to read them so leave them down in the comments. Keep reading to get your free Kitchen is Closed sign below!
If you want to close your kitchen, help remind kids with a “The Kitchen Is Closed” sign to place on the pantry or fridge door. You can get a free printable of the one above below. Before you download or print it, just a reminder
- All printables are for personal use only! Do not distribute or sell them for profit.
- If you want to share with others- great! Please just direct them to this post.
- In order to print click on the link, then click download, then you may choose print or download. If you just hit print (and skip the download button) it may not print correctly.
CLICK HERE to get your free printable Kitchen Is Closed sign!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.