8 Little Ways You Can Minimize the Cleaning That “Future You” Has to Do

updated Apr 30, 2020
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Woman cooking in the kitchen with her dog
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So much of keeping a tidy kitchen is forward thinking. Would you rather have to clean up a mess later or do what you can now to prevent the mess from happening in the first place? Think of this proactive perspective as doing a favor for Future You. Your kitchen will be cleaner today, and you’ll be far less frustrated tomorrow.

Here are eight simple ways to be considerate of your future self.

Credit: Cambria Bold

1. Put your honey on a small dish.

Honey is notoriously hard to clean. Preventing your honey from dripping on your pantry shelf (and creating a sticky mess) is as simple as placing it on a dish, coaster, or in a small bowl. Try the same thing for jam jars!

2. Use a cookie sheet to catch oven drips.

Keeping an old cookie sheet on the bottom rack of your oven (especially when you’re baking potentially drippy foods, like pizza) means you’ll have far fewer oven-cleaning sessions in your future. Just wash the cookie sheet as needed!

Credit: Joe Lingeman

3. Line your fridge shelves with Press ‘n Seal.

Cleaning refrigerator shelves is always a giant undertaking. Once you get all those jars and containers off the shelves, there’s so much chiseling to do! Instead, line your shelves with Glad Press ‘n Seal and then you can can simply pull up the plastic as messes happen. You can also look for a reusable shelf liner, if you want something more eco-friendly and don’t mind cleaning it.

4. Use a splatter shield when you cook on the stovetop.

Splatter shields will help keep your backsplash, stovetop, and surrounding counter surfaces free of greasy, caked-on messes. Use one whenever you’re making a sauce or something that’s, well, splatter-y.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

5. Also prevent splatters when you use the microwave.

The same principle applies for microwaving. Whenever you nuke something, either use a splatter guard or place a paper towel (or coffee filter) over the plate or bowl to keep your microwave clean. 

6. Pour and measure over your sink or trash.

Whether you’re pouring sauce into a container or measuring a cup of flour, you know how things tend to go (read: how much usually ends up on your counter). Instead, get in the habit of pouring and measuring things over your sink or trash. As a rule, spray cooking oil over the sink, too!

7. Add a rug where you stand during most prep work.

A strategically placed mat or rug can make a world of difference in the kitchen — especially when you position it where you tend to stand while you work — because this is also where crumbs and other food debris are most likely to land. Instead of sweeping or whipping out the stick vac every night, you can just shake out the rug.

Credit: Leela Cyd

8. Use a spoon rest.

Depending on what you’re preparing on the stove, setting your spoon or spatula could pose a cross-contamination risk. In most cases, it also leads to an unnecessary mess. You can use a proper spoon rest or a plate, but in any case, avoid setting your spoons or spatulas directly on the counter or stovetop.

Got any other smart tips? Leave them in the comments below!