I love to eat; therefore, I love to cook. I love to cook, but I hate to do dishes. Therefore, I need my whole family of five involved around the kitchen. I’ve tried to plan my kitchen so that everything is organized yet still very simple. I try to keep just the basics and not go overboard with every available gadget and tool. I need a kitchen where everything has a place, leftovers are labeled, counters are clutter free — that even a 6-year-old could find leftovers to eat, clean greasy counters, and put things away in their proper place. I’ve compiled my three KID-HELPER KITCHEN TIPS that benefit our whole family by keeping the kitchen clean and organized.
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KITCHEN KID TIP #1 –
Draw a template on drawer liners for where utensils should go.
I have two drawers which hold my large kitchen utensils and tools. They are on either side of my stove. Ever since I organized my drawers this way, I always know where to find what I need while I’m cooking. To create the template, use gripping rubber liners for the bottom of the drawers. (I got mine at Wal-mart—along with most of the utensils—here’s where you can find these drawer liners) Place items where they all fit neatly, but not too crowded. You can use a Sharpie permanent marker to then trace around each item or stacks of items individually.
The way we divide kitchen chores in my home, Momma cooks and kids do the dishes. This means that the kids not only load the dishwasher, they must also put away the dishes. These drawer template guides are great for kids — it leaves no excuse for knowing where things should go.
KITCHEN KID TIP #2 –
Label the plastic storage containers that hold leftovers in the fridge.
I grew up hating to eat leftovers; but now as a Mom (and the main cook), I love them! In fact, I plan for them by trying to cook enough food in order to feed us for two meals. But what’s the benefit of leftovers if you still get the question, “I’m hungry, what can I eat?”? All you need is a Sharpie permanent marker and your standard plastic food storage containers.
Don’t worry about the marker being labeled ‘permanent’ because it does come off. The best part is that it doesn’t come off easily — even after being washed in a hot dishwasher. The way to remove the writing from the containers is to take a DRY paper towel and simply rub it off the dry plastic container. In fact, if the container or paper towel is wet, it won’t rub off. You will be so surprised at how this truly makes your life easier. And of course, it’s helpful to write the date it was prepared, so no more questions about how long it’s been in the fridge!
KITCHEN KID TIP #3 –
Make a non-toxic kitchen cleaner that’s safe for kids to use.
About 6 years ago, I started getting rid of products in our home that have potentially harmful ingredients. One of my favorite and most cost-effective finds was a recipe for making your own spray cleaner for the kitchen. I can vouch that this spray works. It is quite effective on greasy stovetops and splattered microwaves!
It’s so simple to make. After squeezing some fresh lemons or oranges for their juice in recipes, place the peels in a glass quart mason jar. You’ll need enough to fill the jar which is about 4-5 lemons or 3-4 oranges depending on the size of the fruits. Then pour in distilled white vinegar to cover the fruits. Label the jar with the date. Leave for at least two weeks, but you can store them for much longer—even up to a year. The fruit peels will darken over time. When you’re ready to mix your cleaner, pour the concentrated vinegar mixture from the jar into an empty spray bottle. Then, add water to about a 50/50 ratio of the mixture to water. Use the spray as needed to clean kitchen countertops, stovetops and inside microwave ovens.
As a bonus, the fruit-filled jars look so pretty on display in my kitchen. If you love decorating with lemons too, you should check out some of our lemon art prints for your kitchen.
All this help in the kitchen from my kids makes Momma happy…and when Momma is happy, well, you know….everyone is happy.