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Two things you should always have next to your cutting board while you cook

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Cleaning as you go is widely considered one of the best ways to mitigate kitchen clutter. Loading dishes into the dishwasher when you’re done with them and tossing leftovers while you’re doing them saves you from having to do a lot of tedious work once you’ve consumed your food, but there are two strategies I like to take to make it even easier. .

Keep a damp towel near your workstation.

Quick cleanup of spills and splashes prevents them from drying on the countertop. Dried ketchup splatters aren’t impossible to remove from Formica, but they’re exponentially easier to clean on the spot.

Instead of rummaging under the sink to find the multi-purpose sprayer, simply keep a damp kitchen towel near the cutting board and wipe up spills as they happen. Regardless, spraying cleaner all over your kitchen while you’re still cooking isn’t a good idea, no matter how natural your cleaning product is.

In addition to mitigating little messes, you can also use the towel to clean a sticky knife or other utensil so you don’t end up with a bunch of spoons and blades to wash. (Just avoid doing this with anything that touches raw meat. Wash them thoroughly.)

Keep a compost bin near your cutting board

I don’t know about you, but my compost bin lives under my sink. Ducking under my sink every time I need to toss out a vegetable peel is off-putting, and keeping the container on the counter is unhygienic (although I do try to wash it regularly, that’s gross).

Instead of letting a pile of leftovers build up on your counter, keep a bowl (or paper bag) next to your cutting board and dump leftovers in there as you go. Once you’re done peeling, slicing, and dicing, dump everything into the compost bin and rinse the bin in the sink.

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