My Simple “Bits Bowl” Trick Makes Post-Meal Cleanup a Breeze

published May 11, 2023
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Woman's hands chopping beetroot for squeezing juice
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Fortunately and unfortunately, I was blessed with an incredibly sensitive nose. This means I’m painfully particular when it comes to soaps and perfumes, and I famously gag when I take out the trash. For this reason, I try to open my trash can as infrequently as humanly possible. And luckily, I discovered a simple trick that not only means I head to the trash less, but it also makes post-dinner cleanup a breeze.

I tend to make mostly bowls, salads, noodles, and sandwiches, which all require lots of chopping of veggies, seasonings, and toppings. Whether it’s garlic peels, lemon rinds, cucumber skins, cilantro stems, or onion butts, it doesn’t take long to acquire a pile of various odds and ends. But instead of scraping them into the trash after each ingredient is chopped — my trash can isn’t super accessible from where I chop, and I don’t have a huge cutting board so I can’t just let it pile up — I turn to my handy “bits bowl.”

All this requires is a small bowl, cup, or plate — I typically use an old soup takeout container (that I probably already used for something else in the process, like mixing a sauce or thawing frozen foods). Can you guess what comes next? I scrape each ingredient’s bits into the bowl after I’m done with it, then, in one swift motion, I dump all of the scraps into the trash at once. Yep, that’s all it takes!

In my apartment’s tiny kitchen, I’ll take any shortcut or trick to make cooking and cleaning easier and more efficient. With my bits bowl, I spend less time running over to the trash can, and I’m also able to see everything I’ve added to my meal so far. (Oh, I only juiced half a lime, let me squeeze the other half!).

As it turns out, as soon as I toss the bits, half of the kitchen cleanup is basically done. All I have to do is wash my dishes and wipe down the counters, while the mess was minimal and the scraps were all confined to one place. The best part? I’m able to hold my breath for the 0.5 seconds my trash can is open and my delicate nose is spared.