Andrea’s Tips & Tricks: New year, new tidy kitchen tips

A new year calls for some deep cleaning and organizing in the kitchen. Check out these 10 ideas that I do to help me in my kitchen.

Wiping down counters

January is always the time I start to wipe down the outside and inside of my kitchen cabinets. I love Murphy’s Oil Soap. It makes my cabinets shine and everything smell and look so nice. I then use Murphy Oil Soap spray after they are all dry for a nice finish. 

Organize your cabinets

I find that using ball jars to keep random things like pastas, sprinkles, bread crumbs and other odds and ends keeps cabinets better organized so there isn’t clutter from different sized containers.
Plastic containers with handles are great to stick seasoning/packets in or things for lunches like small containers of fruits, applesauces and puddings! 

Garbage disposal smelling fresh?

Few things are quite as off putting as a smelly garbage disposal. To remedy that, use one of my favorite kitchen sink cleaning hacks: lemon or orange ice cubes. To make them, simply fill an ice cube tray with lemon wedges, rock salt, and water. Once frozen, pop the cubes down the drain and run your garbage disposal until the ice is gone. Rock salt scrubs the blades while ice helps knock off any gunk and grime. The lemon helps keep it smelling fresh!!

Rejuvenate old baking sheets 

The dynamic duo of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide can restore more than just your sinks and tub. It can make even your most battered baking sheets look brand new again. Simply sprinkle your sheet with baking soda followed by a few sprays of hydrogen peroxide, then finish with another layer of baking soda. Come back in a few hours to wipe your restored baking sheets clean. 

Grimy kitchen sponges

Sponges can transfer a ton of bacteria from one plate to another, so you should clean them at least once every couple of days. There is a certain way you can do it:

To soften the sponge and make the dirt and oils unstick from it and kill the bacteria — microwave the sponge with a glass of water for a few minutes on high.

Put in the dishwasher on a long cycle with other dishes? This will kill the nasty smell.

Keep that sink clean

Sinks collect a bunch of nasty things and there are ways to clean up stains from your stainless steel sink. Use the following four items:

  • Magic Eraser
  • Baking Soda Paste (diluted with water or small amount of vinegar)
  • Dawn dish soap and peroxide (mix carefully)
  • Vinegar and dish soap

Of course, you can try to use stainless steel sponges, but in the case that you don’t have them, or don’t want to buy them, I’m sure that you have some of these ingredients in your cabinet.

Tidy refrigerator 

I clean out my refrigerator the day before I do my big shopping trip, which is every two weeks. I get rid of any old food that was forgotten and wipe down any shelves if needed. But to kill any unpleasant smell in your refrigerator — either wash it with a trusty combination of baking soda and vinegar, or:

  • Put potato peels in the fridge.
  • Take halves of an orange or a lemon and stick a good amount of cloves in it and place it on the shelf.
  • If you are a fan of vanilla — take a cotton ball soaked in vanilla extract and place it in the fridge in a small bowl.
  • Arm & Hammer Fridge Fresh Baking Soda- My favorite!

Silence those clanging baking sheets

No one wants to pull the cookie sheet out from under six others. Store them vertically instead of piling them on top of each other. A tension rod gives you instant, usable slots so you can slip bakeware in and out with ease.

Use a paper towel tube to keep mats rolled

Baking mats prevent stuck-on cookies and we love them. But they’re floppy and thin and big and not so easy to store. Rolling the mats and inserting them in a paper towel tube allows you to store them neatly in a drawer.

Go through your food storage containers

Food storage container organization is tough. This is one that is tough for me and can never seem to keep organized!  There are so many shapes and sizes, and each container has a lid that also has a shape and size. To make everything nice and neat, the first step is going through your entire collection to see what you have, what you can get rid of, and what you might need.


Andrea McElroy

Andrea is a stellar country living cook with a robust social media following and lots of great recipes to share.