Tag Archive | kitchen

Reuse Idea: Disinfectant Wipe Containers

With COVID-19 and because we have 2 people in the house who are immunocompromised (my daughter and I both have lupus with lung involvement), disinfectant wipes, e.g. Clorox or Lysol, have become an even bigger part of our lives. I previously posted about making your own wipes here, but honestly, these days I am more likely to buy wipes than make my own. With the rate we are using disinfectant wipes, we have a lot of empty wipe canisters. If you have any experience with this blog, you know that I love reusing things like this! Check out a collection of my reuse posts here.We already use wipe canisters as plastic bag dispensers, (thread the bags through the handles, roll up, dispense in the canister), but with the volume of wipes used these days, I think there are more ways to reuse these containers.

NOTE: Because of the cleaners that were in these, I do not store any food or items that might end up in people’s mouths in disinfectant wipe containers, no matter how much washing happens.

Here are some of my favorite ways to reuse disinfectant wipe containers:

  1. Plastic bag storage
  2. Storage for laundry or dishwashing pods
  3. Craft, art, and school supply storage (either standing or get creative and glue several together horizontally to make an organizer)
  4. Tool or kitchen utensil storage (like craft supplies, either standing or create your own organizer with several)
  5. Grab and Go toiletries kit – include toothbrush in travel case, travel toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, wipes, etc. These can be personalized for each person in the family or keep a bunch together in your car as give-always for the homeless
  6. Car or desk top trash can
  7. Bathroom tool holder – put combs or brushes in it, hair bands around it. This works especially well with the thinner containers
  8. Used cooking oil – don’t ever put your used cooking oil down the drain! Instead, collect it in a wipe container once it has cooled. When the container is full, dispose of it properly
  9. Office supplies – you can cut the containers down and create a customized desk organizer.
  10. Ribbon dispenser – on its side, cut a slot the length of the container or holes for specific ribbon, depending on size, use, etc. you can easily pull ribbon out without it getting tangled. This can be mounted with other containers for more storage.

If you want to get really creative, you can wrap the containers with contact paper or washi tapes to cover the label. Or you can do what I did and just take the label off. For art supplies, my kids have drawn on the containers with markers. You are limited only by your creativity!

Do you have a suggestion for a way you reuse these containers? Drop it in the comments!

Myth: Does a Watched Pot Really Never Boil?

lid_18901_lgThe myth is that a watched pot never boils. Of course this means more than just in the kitchen. It speaks of how watching the clock and waiting for something to happen will drag out the time it takes. But what about in the kitchen?

It turns out that this myth is kind of true. While an uncovered pot will eventually boil on a high enough heat setting, covering the pot with a lid will actually cause the liquid to boil faster. This is because the heat gets trapped in the pot and allows the temperature to rise more quickly, instead of letting it out as an uncovered pot would. Just remember that a pot can still boil over with a lid so use appropriate heat settings and watch whatever you have on the stove.

So, the next time you are boiling water for pasta or anything else, remember to put a lid on it!

Homemade Granite Cleaner

DSCN2574These days a lot of us have granite in our kitchens or bathrooms. Keeping granite counters clean can be an
expensive chore. Granite cleaners can be purchased for $7-$15 per small bottle. And if you are anything like us, we use our counters for everything from school to rolling dough and cutting pizzas, so they get messy. I have been looking for a good, less-chemical way to clean and not harm our counters. After trying out many recipes and ideas, here is what I like best:

  • 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol (actually any alcohol will work) – This provides streak-free cleaning
  • 3 drops Dawn dishwashing soap – Yes the brand is important because it cuts grease and grime better than others. And yes, it really only takes 3 drops.
  • Water – this amount will vary from 1-2 cups, depending on how you keep the solution.

Many people suggest using a spray bottle but I have found that I like using an empty alcohol bottle. The bottles we get have a lid with a small hole for easy pouring. I put the alcohol and Dawn in the bottle and fill with water. Then I pour some our on the counters and use a soft cotton cloth to clean. I get fabulous results, with lots of shine and no streaking. In the picture you can see how shiny and clean the counters look!

Room-by-Room Organization: Pantry

A major part of kitchen organization is having an organized and fully stocked pantry. Whether you have a large walk- Pantryin pantry or a small cabinet, keeping your pantry well-stocked and organized will keep your kitchen, and in turn your home, running smoothly.

Pantry Essentials – A complete list of items to keep in your stocked pantry

Pantry Essentials – The Next Steps – How to organize all the stuff you now keep in your pantry

Dishwashing Tub Organization – Using these inexpensive tubs will help keep your pantry items organized. You can use one for paper products (plates, cups, napkins, plasticware, etc.) and another for items like potatoes, garlic, and other produce that doesn’t need to be refrigerated.

Over-the-Door Shoe Organizer – If you have a pantry with a door, consider using and over-the-door shoe organizer for things like plasticware, kids snacks, or even cleaning products.

Tip: If you don’t use it everyday, keep it high. If the kids need access to it, keep it low. Use eye-level shelves for items you need regularly.

Make Your Own Dishwashing Detergent

DSC02666I have been experimenting with making my own dishwashing detergent and have found a recipe that is simple, doesn’t use Borax, and gets the dishes very clean. I settled on a recipe from The Eco-Friendly Family. Here are the ingredients & steps:

  • 12 oz. Lemi-Shine powder (available in the dishwashing detergent aisle, usually with rinse aides on a high shelf)
  • 1 1/2 cups washing soda – This is the main ingredient in most commercial dishwashing detergents and is the same thing used in making your own laundry soap. The basic pH is what does the washing.
  • 1/2 cup baking soda – for more washing power
  •  1/2 cup sea salt – I used coarse crystals but any sea salt will work.

Put all these items together in a container that will seal air-tight. Humidity is the enemy of this powder. Shake the container to mix and evenly distribute ingredients. Use 1 tablespoon in your dishwasher’s main reservoir with each wash. You can add 1/2 tablespoon to the secondary reservoir for more washing power.

TIP: For a rinse aid – fill your dishwasher’s rinse-aid reservoir with white vinegar. This will rinse the dishes clean and keep them spot free.

Vertical Baking Pan Storage

We are tying a new storage idea at our house – vertical baking pan storage. I hate keeping the baking pans that I use all the time in the drawer under our stove (okay so I actually hate our stove, but it will have to do for now). We decided to move some items that we do not use as frequently into the drawer and use cabinet space for the baking pans. After trying a lot of variations, we decided to use tension rods in the cabinet to create slots of various sizes for muffin tins, cookies sheets, and other baking pans. While we are going with tension rods, some other ideas include repurposing a desktop file or bill sorter, or turning magazine holders on their side to create slots for pans. Use items that you have or that are cheap, because no one but your family will see the inside of the cabinet anyway. 

Kitchen Quick Tip: Most Used Recipes

We all have a few recipes that we use regularly. What a pain (not to mention potential mess) to have to go to the computer or have the computer in the kitchen with us to prepare our favorite items. Instead of keeping those most-used recipes on the computer or in a recipe box, put them on the inside of the cabinet door where you prepare the food. At our house the recipe for Whole Wheat Pancakes, baguette bread, pizza dough, and our favorite Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies are kept on the kitchen spice cabinet, which is where most of the ingredients for these recipes can be found.

TIP: If you don’t want to hand-write or tape things to your cabinets, or if you are worried about the recipes getting messy, print out your most-used recipes and put them in durable binder sheet protectors. Use 3M Command Adhesive to secure the sheet protectors to the cabinet door without the fear of damage.

Kitchen Cheat Sheet

Have you ever needed to convert a recipe from metric to standard measurements? Wondered how long items in the freezer will keep? Or exactly where that cut of meat comes from?

Enter the Kitchen Cheat Sheet! This free printable is a great resource to post inside a cabinet or pantry door in your kitchen.

Dishwashing Tubs for Organization

Most of us don’t use dish washing tubs unless we are camping. But I love these for organizing. You can pick them up for under $3 for the largest sizes at your local ‘Mart and at times they are under $1.We use these bins in all rooms of our house. You can get them in a lot of colors these days and can spice them up with vinyl stickers or paint to match any decor. Here are some ideas for ways to use dish washing tubs:

In the kitchen:

  • In the fridge we have two – one for produce that doesn’t fit in the crisper drawer and one for items we use regularly such as string cheese, fajita shells, lunch meats etc.
  • In the pantry we have two – one for paper products for entertaining, another for potatoes (to keep the dirt contained) and other extra produce that doesn’t need to be refrigerated.

In the school/office area:

  • One for library books so you always know where they are
  • One for scrap paper and one for extra printer paper
  • One for math manipulatives
  • One for science kit pieces
  • Divide one with silverware trays for extra scissors, pens, etc.
  • Art supplies (paints, brushes and the right paper all in one bin)

Kids’ Rooms:

  • Toy storage for items like Legos (sort by color or set), Hot Wheels or other cars, Barbies etc.
  • Clothes such as socks, underwear etc. can easily be stored in bins that are stacked on shelves in the room or closet

Bathroom/Linen Closet:

  • Organized items being stored by type (bin for hair and cosmetic products, one for paper products etc. )
  • Keep all first aid items in one bin, including alcohol, peroxide,, ace bandages etc.
  • Store sheet sets by room in a bin
  • Keep guest sheets and towels in one bin

Kitchen Organization Quick Tip: Put a Lid on It

Lids can get everywhere and get lost easily (especially things like sippy cup lids). Solution? Store lids directly with their container, on it if possible. We keep all our plasticware lids inside a large plastic tub. We keep our CorningWare lids in or on the dishes. We keep sippy cup valves in the cup with the lid on it. Storing the lid with its correct container will save you time and hassle trying to match them up when you need them.