8 Tips to Reduce Stress & Mess in the Kitchen

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At Jow, we believe that mealtime can always be an enjoyable experience if you put in the proper planning. Here are our top tips to keep things easy & breezy.

🤓 Organize Your Kitchen

When it comes to organizing, make sure you have places to collect the following: frequently used hand tools, mixing bowls, and your most frequently-used ingredients (salt, oil, flour, etc.). The goal of this style of thinking is to reduce the overall amount of repetitive tasks you do while cooking—this conserves your energy and makes cooking feel seamless!

🗺️ Plan Ahead

Plan your meals and create a shopping list before you start cooking. Knowing what you'll make and having all the necessary ingredients on hand will save you from last-minute stress and rushing to the store. This is really about self-care when it comes down to it. Giving yourself an outline of what exactly you want to accomplish during a cooking session is an important step to avoid frustration during the process.

🍴Prepare Ingredients in Advance

Prepping ingredients ahead of time can significantly reduce cooking stress. Chop vegetables, measure out spices, and marinate proteins before you start cooking. This way, you can focus on the cooking process rather than frantic prep work. Similarly to planning ahead, this allows you to be present with your ingredients as they interact—you can truly observe the process of cooking this way, instead of being all over the place!

🧽Clean as You Go

Make it a habit to clean as you cook. Wash dishes, utensils, and cutting boards that you're no longer using, and wipe down countertops and stovetops to keep the kitchen tidy. This prevents a massive cleanup task at the end, and when you've mastered cooking cleanly, people will start calling you a kitchen whiz! It is truly an under-appreciated skill among home cooks.

⏲️Use Cooking Timers

Overcooking or burning food can be stressful. Set timers for different cooking tasks to remind you when to check on or stir dishes. This ensures that nothing gets overcooked or ruined. It can be pleasant and intuitive to rely on your sense of smell to tell when things are done, but always use a timer as a failsafe.

📏Invest in Kitchen Organization Tools

Use drawer dividers, shelf organizers, and containers to keep your kitchen supplies and ingredients well-organized. This will make it easier to find things and prevent clutter. When things have a place where they fit nicely, things end up staying in their proper places all the more often!

👀Follow Recipes Closely

When trying out new recipes, follow them closely to avoid mistakes and mishaps. Rushing or improvising can lead to stress and messy outcomes. It's important to read *all* ingredients, even if it's a recipe you already know. It can be hard to bounce back from realizing you won't actually get to taste homemade bread that day because, *checks notes*, you didn't read to the end.

🪷Practice Mindfulness

Cooking can be a relaxing and enjoyable activity. Embrace the simplest recipe you know that still brings satisfaction, and make it once a week. Change it a little bit every time by introducing new ingredients: a spice, a different kind of grain, another cut of chicken. This will become more of a practice than a chore, and you will eventually notice you intuition guiding you toward ingredients that speak to your cravings.

By incorporating these tips into your cooking routine, you can create a more organized and stress-free kitchen environment, making meal preparation a more enjoyable part of your day.