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Don’t wait to clean your kitchen until you see last week’s dinner caked on your stovetop and a pound of scraps littering your floor. Instead, implement these small steps every day so cleanliness becomes less of a chore (and you’re never caught off-guard by drop-in guests).

dishes list
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Wash dishes as you go

A few dirty dishes very quickly become a full sink. Wash them in-between cooking sessions to keep the pile at bay and gross sauces/yogurts/etc. from really crusting on.

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Wipe down countertops

And don’t forget the fronts of your appliances while you’re at it. The minute it takes to clean a spill now will save hours of scrubbing later.

scoured sink list

Scour your sink

After doing those dishes (go you!), give your sink a quick scrub and thorough rinse to keep away funky smells and gunk. Then toss your sponge in the dishwasher (or nuke it in the microwave for one to two minutes) to kill any germs.

produce bags list
Twenty20

Grab extra produce bags at the grocery store

And use them to throw your scraps in. You’ll save time--and prevent inevitable spills--walking to and from the trashcan.

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Line your cutting board with a mat

Top your cutting board with a flexible mat so that when it’s time to transfer your freshly chopped produce into a pot or pan you can easily pick up the mat and pour them in, as opposed to haphazardly sliding (and missing).

pick up scraps list
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Pick up anything that falls on the floor right away

You know that rogue blueberry that rolled under the cabinet? Pick it up immediately, along with any other spilled or dropped items, so you don’t accidentally step on them minutes later, which will create a much bigger mess that’s harder to clean.

spoon rest list

Place reusable measuring tools in a cup or rest

If there are certain measuring spoons or utensils you know you’ll use again while cooking or baking a dish, keep them corralled in a cup or rest you so you don’t drip all over the countertops (which you just wiped down--remember?).

measure foods list

Measure everything over the sink

Flour, oil, baking powder: Whatever you’re measuring, do it over the sink where it can be easily rinsed down the drain.

RELATED: 19 Kitchen Tools Every Home Cook Needs

splatter screen final

Use a splatter screen on the stove

Rendering fat, sautéing those onions, frying that bacon? Get thee a splatter screen. It is hands down the easiest way to keep your stovetop from looking like a crime scene.

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