The kitchen is where most families gather to cook, eat, sneak a midnight snack, or gather 'round the kitchen table to socialize.
It remains the main hub of any household, but there is so much that goes into organizing, cleaning, and maintaining a kitchen. Just up ahead, follow some of these helpful tips for keeping your kitchen clean, well-organized, and properly stocked.
Kitchen organizing tips
To make working in the kitchen more effective, have everything on hand as you need it. Here are some top tips for organizing food, equipment, and cooking utensils in groups for easy access, and with space-saving efficiency in mind:
Reserve counter space for items you use daily.
Place hooks on any unused wall space to hang pots and pans.
Use rotating trays, pullout racks, and stacking bins in cabinets to save time looking for items you need.
Use bins to organize kitchen equipment in drawers, or for smaller jars or food packages that are stored in the refrigerator.
Group packaged foods (breakfast cereals, snack foods, etc.) in cabinets by category, and place canned items together all facing out so they are readily identifiable.
At least once a week, go through the refrigerator to take inventory of what can be saved and what can be discarded.
Kitchen cleaning tips
Ask any kitchen cleaning expert and they'll tell you the three essentials for kitchen cleaning : ammonia, baking soda and white vinegar. They're not only inexpensive, but they will often get the job done better and faster (and environmentally-friendlier) than buying many name-brand cleaning products.
White vinegar - The acidity in vinegar is the secret behind its success in cutting grease, cleaning windows, and removing stains. Among dozens of other uses for cleaning with vinegar, you can help stretch your bottle of dish detergent by adding a few drops of vinegar to a sink full of dishes to help cut the grease.
To clean a microwave oven, mix a half cup of vinegar and a half cup of water in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high until the mixture begins to steam inside the microwave. With food bits, grease, and stains dissolved, all it will take is a wipe with a damp sponge.
Baking soda - While an open box of baking soda is great for absorbing odors in refrigerators and kitchen waste baskets, you can also use it to clean pots, pans, and for removing stains from kitchen counters.
Simply mix baking soda with a few drops of vinegar to form a non-abrasive paste that can be used as a scouring agent or even an oven cleaner. Among the almost 100 other household uses for baking soda, you may also want to keep a box of baking near the stove to put out small kitchen fires.
Ammonia - When all else fails, try ammonia. A cheap bottle of ammonia is still the best solution for washing grimy windows, laundering greasy kitchen towels or oven mitts, or any household chore that requires extra-strength cleaning power.
TLC - 14 Green Kitchen Cleaning Tips - Environmentally friendly ideas for cleaning ovens and stovetops, sink drains, microwaves, pots, pans, dishes and more using homemade 'green' homemade cleaning solutions.
How to Organize a Kitchen - The wikiHow guide features step-by-step instructions for organizing refrigerators, cabinets and counters, plus storage tips and safety warnings, photos, video, and related resources.
How to Organize Your Kitchen Cabinets - Get expert advice from Mrs.CleanUSA.com on kitchen cupboard, drawer, and kitchen counter organization with more on storage tips for under the kitchen sink.