Minimizing Meal Mess: Tips for Slobs

Man, I am a slob when it comes to keeping my kitchen clean. I can’t tell you how often I wish I were one of those people who can’t stand to see a mess. My life would be so much tidier… But, as it is, my messy kitchen is more of a minor annoyance to me during my day-to-day life. Only when I really step back and look at it (or when I have company over) does it actually horrify me in that way it should. When did I last scrub the counter? Why is that bowl from last week still sitting there? And what is all over my floor??

As someone whose kitchen has seen better days, I can give you some tips from my own experience that have helped me (somewhat) combat my slovenly ways.

Make one-dish meals.

I am a huge fan of meals that only require getting one dish dirty, especially if I can then eat the food straight out of whatever I cooked it in (scrambled eggs, mac and cheese, takeout straight from the container, etc.). This is something my mom hates that I do, and certainly shouldn’t be done when you have guests over, but I know that dishes are something I struggle with, so why make things harder on myself when it’s just me? Just make sure that if you’re eating straight from your pan, you’re very careful not to scratch or damage it!!

Own fewer dishes.

If it were up to me, I would never do my dishes. Ever. But since that’s not realistic, my solution for years in college was to stack dirty dishes in a corner of my room for weeks on end, and only wash them when I literally had nothing else I could eat off of. The more dishes I owned, the longer I could go without washing things. Even though I’ve gotten better about doing dishes more frequently, I still find myself falling into this disgusting pattern if I’m having a busy week. The solution? Own fewer dishes. If I only own four plates, I can only go four meals at most before I have no choice but to wash them. This is a great way to eliminate the possibility that I will succumb to my slovenly ways.

Do your cooking all at once.

Now technically, this tip doesn’t actually eliminate cooking mess, it just changes when it occurs. Once a week, I like to use my day off the prepare as much food as I can for the rest of the week. I’ll make a huge pan of fried rice on Saturday, divide it into several servings, and freeze or refrigerate it so I have at least a few days worth of food precooked. This method ensures that I can’t use the excuse of not having the time to clean up after myself, because I’ve specifically chosen a day when I know for a fact that I DO have the time. Also, instead of making a mess each night while I cook, I make one big mess on Saturday, and then spend the next several meals not having to worry about cleaning.

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Taylor LaSon is a recent Hamilton College graduate who is currently living in Memphis while seeking her Master’s Degree in Speech Language Pathology. She and her cat prefer a quiet, introverted lifestyle full of Netflix binges and arts and crafts, but when she does go out, she enjoys rock climbing and making silly faces at small children.

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