Cleaning as you go is widely regarded as one of the best ways to mitigate cooking mess. Loading dishes into the dishwasher as you’re done with them and tossing scraps as you make them keeps you from having to do a bunch of tedious labor once your meal has been consumed, but there are two strategies I like to take to make it even easier.
Keep a damp towel near your work station
Cleaning up spills and splashes promptly keeps them from drying on your countertop. Dried on splats of tomato sauce aren’t impossible to get off the Formica, but it is exponentially easier to wipe it up as it happens.
Instead of rifling under the sink to find the all-purpose spray, just keep a damp kitchen towel near your cutting board, and wipe up spills as they happen. Spraying cleaner all around the kitchen while you’re still cooking isn’t a great idea anyway, no matter how natural your cleaning product may be.
In addition to mitigating little messes, you can also use the towel to wipe off a sticky knife or other utensil so you don’t end up with a pile of spoons and blades to wash. (Just avoid doing this with anything that touches raw meat. Fully wash those.)
Keep a compost bowl near your cutting board
I don’t know about you, but my compost bin lives under my sink. Ducking under my sink every time I need to toss a vegetable peel is obnoxious, and keeping the bin on the counter is unsanitary (even though I try and wash it out regularly, that thing is gross).
Instead of letting a pile of scraps gather on your counter, keep a bowl (or paper bag) next to the cutting board, and toss the scraps in there as you go. Once you’re done peeling, slicing, and dicing, dump the whole thing in the compost bin and rinse the bowl out in the sink.
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