Most times when you are cooking, you are anything but neat. A normal stretch of meal prep is bound to leave telltales – crumbs, splatters, grease, and a pile of utensils. To someone stepping in at that moment, it would look as if a tornado had passed through the place.
Making less of a mess means you are going to have less cleaning on your hands afterwards. Following are some of the ways to keep things neat while cooking.
Use a garbage bowl. For every peeling or scrap you need to dispose, there is a place to throw it in without having to walk over to the trash bin. Set the bowl on the counter and throw in all the cooking waste that fits in it. This saves time and cuts the amount of mess you will make.
Use a flexible cutting mat to line your cutting board. If you use a stocky board to chop vegetables, most of it is bound to fall to the floor when you slide it into the pan. The mat stops that happening. You can pick it up at the ends and funnel the contents into the pot.
Use the recycling bin. Get it out of the cupboard and set it on the counter.
When something falls on the floor, pick it up right away. Do not wait until later, in case it rolls under the cabinet. Cleaning up later is always harder that way.
Place reusable measuring spoons together in a cup when you are not using one of them. For one, you will be sure where it is all at, and another, it is easier to use the right one each time.
Make your cleaning easier by degrees. Some say this defeats the purpose, but that is a matter of opinion. For instance, it is good to have a bowl of hot soapy water set aside before you start cooking. Also bring the dirty things together in one place, instead of having it strewn around the place so come the time for cleanup, you will be forced to move around a lot. Similarly, leave make sure the dishwasher is empty.
Use a splatter screen on the stove, so that you do not have to do hard cleaning after rendering fat, sautéing, or shallow frying.
These are just a few of the ways to fine-tune your cooking approach to minimize the need for cleaning afterwards.