Is a messy kitchen getting you down? That’s no surprise. A study of 30 women recently confirmed that people who perceive their kitchens to be cluttered and stressful places experience more depressed moods and higher stress levels throughout the day than people with less cluttered kitchens (1). Perhaps it’s time to make kitchen cleaning a priority!
14 Easy Green DIY Life Hacks for a Clutter-Free Kitchen
If you’ve been putting off kitchen cleaning for months, or if you would like to optimize storage and simplify your cleaning routine, check out the green, Do-It-Yourself life hacks below to help clean and re-organize your kitchen.
Reduce clutter by parting with rarely used tools
If you haven’t used certain kitchen tools or appliances for a long while, try putting them away in a box. If you don’t need them in the next 6 months, they are probably safe to donate or recycle!
Consider the 20/20 rule when you’re overwhelmed by your hoard: If you can buy your rarely used item again for $20 or less, and get it within 20 minutes of where you live, you can probably do without them – or buy them again in a pinch.
Give tin, glass, and plastic packaging containers new life
Here’s an oldie but a goodie: Simply reuse tin cans, glass jars, and plastic containers as utensil holders. Glass containers may also be reused as containers for dry ingredients, uncooked pasta, and other food items.
Keep plastic containers away from food storage to reduce the amount of toxic chemicals you ingest, like bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates (3), which is a known endocrine-disruptor.
Reuse your bread tags to sort electric cords
If you have a growing pile of plastic bread tags, try tagging them to the cords of your electric kitchen appliances and labeling them (4). That way, you’ll know exactly which cord to plug into the electrical outlet the next time you need to use your blender or toaster. (No checking required.)
Stuff your knives into a container of wooden skewers
Bundle any leftover wooden skewers and stuff them into a container to create a cheap DIY knife holder. Just plant your knives into the pile and you’re good to go (5)!
Transform your empty containers into plastic bag dispensers
If you have disposable plastic bags saved up from previous shopping trips, store them compactly in an empty cylindrical wipe container or tissue box to save space and access them easily. Simply flatten your plastic bags, fold them lengthwise, and overlap them so that the bottom one-third of each bag rests beneath the top one-third of the next. Then roll them up and place them in the container of your choice (5)!
Make a drying stand with a binder clip
Lay a binder clip on its most stable edge and clip your wet sponge to it so that it stands up straight (6). Now you won’t have to leave your wet dishwashing sponge on its side and risk letting mold grow on the underside.
Bring in shoe boxes and curtain rods to organize your drawers and pantry
Put recyclables and leftover household items to good use! Place used shoe boxes or office supply dividers in drawers or divide up your pantry with curtain rods to compartmentalize your kitchen goodies (6).
Create floating storage with magnets
Attach magnets to containers, shelves, and spice racks to turn the exterior of your refrigerator – or any metallic wall – into easy-access storage spaces (5). No need to open the pantry to scour for the things you need!
Keep your herbs, vegetables, and bulbs fresh
To keep soft herbs like basil and rosemary fresh in the refrigerator, try filling containers with an inch of water and standing them up, like flowers. Put a lid on top, and they should keep fresh for a week or more. For harder vegetables, like zucchini, wrap them in a wet towel and place them in the vegetable compartment of your refrigerator.
Fashion a kitchen pegboard to organize your kitchen tools
If you find yourself running out of space, consider getting a pegboard stand (or nailing a pegboard to a wall) to create a flexible, hang-on-the-wall storage space. Just fasten a hook into any hole of your choosing and hang up anything you’d like!
Wash your dishwasher with vinegar and baking soda
It may seem unnecessary, but you should run your dishwasher with some natural detergent every once in a while for maintenance (7). To give your dishwasher a good wash, place a cup of vinegar in your otherwise empty dishwasher and run the washer on the hottest water setting possible. Then, take the cup out of the dishwasher and coat the bottom of your appliance with a few spoonfuls of baking soda. Run the machine again on the hottest water setting possible.
Heat your cast iron pan with salt
Put down the dish detergent – and sprinkle the bottom of the pan with coarse salt instead. Then, rub the salt in with some paper towel, and then heat the pan over low heat to eliminate any moisture (6). Get rid of the salt afterward, and your pan should be good to go.
Clean your cutting board with lemon and salt
A quick rinse with soap and water doesn’t always clean a cutting board properly, especially if it is wooden and prone to getting grimy (6). So coat the surface of your cutting board with coarse salt and the juice of half a lemon, and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes to give it a proper clean. Rinse the mixture off with warm water to finish.
Whip up a natural, multi-purpose cleaning spray
Swap expensive, artificial cleaning sprays for natural, vinegar-based ones (2). Simply combine 1 cup of distilled water, 1 cup of white distilled vinegar, the juice of half a lemon, and 15 drops of lavender essential oil in a large cleaning spray bottle, and shake gently. Spray on any surface before wiping to give it a good clean.
Cleaning and (re)organizing the kitchen can be hard work. But once you’ve transformed your kitchen into a neat, green cooking space, you might find that you feel much better – and certainly, much healthier – over time.
1) Saxbe, D. and Repetti, R. (2009). No Place Like Home: Home Tours Correlate With Daily Patterns of Mood and Cortisol. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36(1), pp.71-81.
2) Marr, K. (2017). How to Make Homemade All-Purpose Surface Cleaner – Live Simply. [online] Live Simply. Available at: http://livesimply.me/2015/11/02/how-to-make-homemade-all-purpose-surface-cleaner/ [Accessed 6 Oct. 2017].
3) Plastic Pollution Coalition. (2017). Why is plastic harmful?. [online] Available at: https://plasticpollutioncoalition.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/222813127-Why-is-plastic-harmful- [Accessed 6 Oct. 2017].
4) Thomann, L. (2017). 10 Home Organization Hacks to DIY. [online] The Spruce. Available at: https://www.thespruce.com/organization-hacks-for-your-home-4139847 [Accessed 6 Oct. 2017].
5) Garden, H. (2017). 15 Green Kitchen “Hacks” to keep Organized. [online] DIYs.com. Available at: https://www.diys.com/15-green-kitchen-hacks-reduce-familys-environmental-impact/ [Accessed 6 Oct. 2017].
6) Real Simple. (2017). 10 Cheap Organizing Hacks for a Clutter-Free Home. [online] Available at: https://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/organizing/cheap-organizing-ideas#picture-frame-dry-erase-board [Accessed 6 Oct. 2017].
7) Jillee. (2017). How To Clean Your Dishwasher In 3 Easy Steps – One Good Thing by Jillee. [online] One Good Thing by Jillee. Available at: https://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/how-to-clean-your-dishwasher-in-3-easy-steps [Accessed 6 Oct. 2017].
Image and Video Sources:
1) YouTube. (2017). Bamboo Skewer Knife Holder. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bV4AsMFtjl0 [Accessed 6 Oct. 2017].
2) YouTube. (2017). How To Make A Plastic Bag Dispenser – DIY Home Tutorial – Guidecentral. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_cLIgnDr3M [Accessed 6 Oct. 2017].
3) YouTube. (2017). 20 Amazing Binder Clips Uses, Life Hacks & Tricks. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYTo3XbBGuk [Accessed 6 Oct. 2017].
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