Your kitchen seems smelly, so you take out the trash. You close the fridge. You spray air freshener, and you bake some cookies. But nothing improves.
Ever thought to peek down your sink?
The kitchen sink’s garbage disposal chops up food and washes away crumbs, but it can also collect bits of debris that linger, harboring bacteria and producing a fouler-than-foul scent.
For this reason, it’s important to give your sink a clean-out every week, whether you have a garbage disposal or not. Follow these easy steps (if you don’t have a disposal, skip the last two), and your nose will thank you.
- Pour one cup baking soda and one cup white vinegar down the disposal. Let the mixture bubble for up to 10 minutes.
- Boil a kettle or pot of hot water. Pour water down the drain to flush out the baking soda and vinegar mixture.
- If you have a garbage disposal, fill the drain with two cups of ice and one cup salt. Turn on cold water, and run the disposal until the ice is gone. This will get gunk off the blades.
- For extra deodorizing power, peel an orange, lemon, lime or grapefruit, and drop the rinds down the disposal one piece at a time. Unplug nostrils, and allow pleasant, kitchen-y scent to fill your mind with glee.
Give Every Cabinet Door A Dual Purpose
Stick a few adhesive hooks to the inside of each one to hang measuring cups, oven mitts or stand-mixer attachments, like Coordinately Yours blogger Julie Blanner did. You could also add a few adhesive plastic folders—the same kind you’d find at an office-supply store—to hold Tupperware lids, or attach a file organizer to keep cutting boards upright and orderly.
Turn the Side of Your Fridge into a Command Center
Charlotte Smith, who runs the lifestyle blog Ciburbanity, created an organizational hub to make getting ready each morning easier. Four sturdy wood pockets organize bills, magazines and other mail, while a dry-erase board lets everyone see upcoming meetings at a glance. A plastic brochure caddy is just the right size for storing grocery-list notepads, and a mason jar attached to the wall means you’re never rummaging through a junk drawer for a pen.
Take Out the Trash (Bags)
A cardboard box of garbage bags can easily take up half of the under-sink cabinet space. Free up some room by mounting a paper-towel holder to the inside of one cabinet, then use it to hang a roll of trash bags.
Rethink Even Your Most Awkward Spaces
It seems like a magician’s trick: Take a six-inch gap between the fridge and the wall, and with a little DIY know-how, double your pantry space. Mallory Nikolaus and Savannah Kokaliares show you how to do exactly that with their step-by-step guide to creating a pull-out shelving unit. It’s just the right size for storing canned vegetables, soups, jars of peanut butter and spices.
Make Cleanup a Little Easier
Blanner recommends taking half an hour to sort your supplies into labeled bins: everyday cleaners, dishwashing goods, specialty cleaners and miscellaneous. You can easily pull out the bin you need for the task at hand — saving time — and keep tabs on what you actually have, avoiding that whole three-half-empty-bottles-of-Windex thing (and thus saving you money).
Claim New Counter Space
No matter the size of your kitchen, you can always use an extra prep area. This cutting board fits right on top of the sink and includes a collapsible colander, so you can chop and rinse vegetables all in one place.
…And Clear Off Even More
Skip the traditional large-knife block and hang a magnetic strip on the wall to store your knives. (If you have tiled walls, consider a compact butcher’s block that attaches to the bottom of your upper cabinets.)