Cluster cooking chores. When making a casserole that includes three chopped garlic cloves and a salad dressing that calls for two, chop three cloves, set them aside, and immediately chop the other two. Do the same with other ingredients such as onions. That way you're only cleaning the knife and chopping board once.
Look for ways to double-task. Making tea? Put water on to boil and take a few minutes to wipe the kitchen counter, or check the fridge for old condiments or no-longer-fresh produce you can toss. While talking on the phone, bake cookies. My friend Linda clips her portable phone to the pocket of her jeans, dons her headset, and makes her soccer-mom calls as she mixes and bakes. Be sure to set the kitchen timer so you don't burn the cookies!
Sort and stash just-bought grocery items in their proper places. I used to stuff plastic bags full of produce on the bottom shelf of the fridge to deal with later. But I ended up wasting time rummaging through those bags to find the right veggies for dinner. Now I unwrap everything and put it in the crisper right away, where I can easily find what I need.
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What Do You Most Want to Hide?
When guests come over, what's your "trouble spot" that you most want to fix up or hide in a hurry?