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Even these days, when it feels like maybe the quarantine is finally over, a lot of us are eating out less than we used to.

Maybe it’s for sanitary reasons, maybe it’s because you prefer making our own menu at home (which can come in handy for you vegans and vegetarians), or maybe you’ve just started to appreciate how much cheaper it is if you’re not out at restaurants once or twice a week. Whatever your reasons, eating at home has been a lot more popular lately.

And if you’ve been eating at home more often, you’ve probably started to notice the various ways your kitchen tends to…get in the way. Maybe you have a hard time getting to the dishes you need, maybe you have a hard time finding ingredients, maybe your pantry is just an absolute mess.

If you’re going to be at home more often trying to cook dinner without going out in public (as a lot of us will be over the next few weeks), here’s a few ways to get your kitchen a little more up for the task:

 

Keep those countertops clear

And when we say countertops, we mean all of ‘em. Everything from the counter by the sink to your kitchen carts should be kept free and clear of all excess debris, including other ingredients, condiments, and even wine bottles (they make countertop wine racks for that) to help you always have working space, no matter what you’re cooking or how busy your kitchen is.

 

Don’t hoard kitchen tools

A lot of people get really excited about buying kitchen utensils and saving them for just the perfect dish, but there comes a time when you need to ask yourself: do I need all this stuff? How many spatulas should one kitchen have? Where did all these cheese knives come from? If a cluttered silverware drawer gets in the way of you being able to make dinner, it might be time to purge some of that excess cutlery.

 

Organize ingredients by need

Let’s say you’ve got a ton of spices, canned goods, or other little touches you add to your favorite dishes, but when you reach in the cabinet to grab something, there’s always a million other jars in the way? Empty out your cabinet and pantry, set up some kitchen cabinet organizers, and put everything back in there, ordered by how frequently you use it – staples like salt and pepper in the front, more exotic stuff (like that jar of Japanese furikake you bought a while back) in the back so it doesn’t get in the way.

 

Keep a “trash bowl” around

No, not a bowl to put trash in (at least not in the sense of things like food wrappers and that bubble wrap you get your Amazon orders in) – a trash bowl is a bowl dedicated to keeping things like vegetable scraps, cheese shavings, and other refuse that you create while cooking. Trust us, it’ll make the whole process way easier.

 

Clean your fridge once in a while

Trust us – it’s better to spend an hour going through your fridge now than it is to spend that hour in a few days trying to figure out what the source of that smell is. (It’s milk. It’s always milk.)

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