We moved into a brand new house in March. Not just brand new to us, but completely brand new. We picked out every aspect of this house — from the colors of the roof to the types of doors, from the flooring to the exact slab of granite for the kitchen. Part of my favorite thing about a brand new house was being the first one to sit on the toilet. It’s the small things.
Pete’s favorite part was getting all the warrantees and instruction books for the appliances. We have a huge binder, separated by tabs, and anything we need to know (pretty much, anyway) is covered in that book. During our first week here, Pete was on Spring Break and our Internet wasn’t set up, so all he did was sit on the porch and read the books.
He learned so much about our home and how to use it efficiently. “Lucky for you I’m a nerd,” he told me that day. But now, lucky for you he’s a nerd because I’m passing on a few of the things he learned to you.
Six Tips To Keep Your Kitchen Running Efficiently
1. Reduce smells in your kitchen by using Hefty Ultra Strong bags.
Homes can get pretty smelly, especially with so many smells in the kitchen. But you’re not going to walk every individual item out to the dumpster, and you’ll go broke constantly lighting candles because your kitchen smells.
Hefty Ultra Strong bags are scented, so you’ll be smelling lavender or citrus rather than last night’s dinner. The Arm & Hammer odor neutralizers help keep odors in check. There’s also a scent-free option, if you prefer. Plus, they have active tear resistant technology for better puncture resistance so you won’t worry about any holes in your bag allowing liquids to spill all over your garbage pail causing more smells.
With these bags, you can get top-quality performance with a new, lower retail price. Save $1 via Ibotta when you purchase one box of Hefty Ultra Strong bags. You can stack that with this $1 off printable coupon for more savings.
2. Run the dishwasher at night.
Our dishwasher actually came with a diagram of how to load it. You face the bowls towards the spout, you don’t rinse the plates clean, and you use the little slots for the utensils (that I hated in my parents’ dishwasher and refused to use until this book told us it cleans your utensils better).
It also said run the dishwasher at night. Your home is using less energy then, so there aren’t other appliances to take away from the dishwasher’s needs, making it more effective and efficient. Also, if you skip the heated drying, you’ll save energy since, well, nothing will need to heat up. Sure, you might open the dishwasher and see a little moisture on your items, but you can easily wipe those down. It’s worth the money you’re saving by using less energy.
Plus, load the plates and bowls facing where the water enters your dishwasher. That will help clean the dishes more effectively. And clean your dishes first too so no food builds up in your drain, causing more work for your machine.
3. Leave your oven ajar in the winter.
Are you cooking when it’s a little chilly out? Instead of turning on the heat, get heat from what you’re already doing. After you take dinner out, leave the oven ajar. The heat will escape and heat your kitchen … and you won’t have to touch the thermostat.
Our builder actually told us that turning the thermostat on and off uses a considerable amount of electricity. So if you can skip turning it on, you’re doing yourself a favor.
4. Don’t use foil in the oven.
I’ll be honest: I’m not quite sure of all the science behind this one, but if you use foil in your oven, it will block something so the oven doesn’t run as well. It’s similar to what happens when you don’t clean out the lint trap in the dryer. More force needs to be used, which means more electricity — and higher bills for you. So skip the foil.
5. Cook in large batches.
If you are cooking meals, cook a couple at a time. I love making soups. They freeze and reheat really well, and I can make a bunch at once. Same with something like baked ziti. I can make a huge tray and it will last for a few meals. That reduces the time my oven is on. It means less electricity used and, in the summer, less heat in the home. Because, let’s be honest, when it’s 90-degrees out, the last thing you want is to use the oven every day. It would just make your home unbearable. So if you can cook two nights of dinner at once, then heat leftovers in the microwave, that’s the way to go.
If you don’t want the same meal two night in a row, cook something that can be made into something else. Roast a whole chicken one day, then use leftovers to make chicken salad the next. A little creativity can go a long way. Plus, no oven on day two, which is what we’re going for.
6. Don’t overfill the freezer.
I stockpile, which is hard to do in a small freezer like we had in the apartment. I did it anyway, though, and the items ended up blocking the ducts in the freezer so the entire fridge stopped working. Maintenance was able to fix it quickly, but I was so worried that we’d not only lose all the food but the fridge itself. Everything worked out well, thank goodness, but it was a good lesson. Don’t overfill the freezer and don’t block any vents where air might be coming in.
What are your tips for kitchen efficiency?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.