Tips to Save You Time and Money in the Kitchen that Let You Enjoy Your Summer

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My house has been a mess all summer. My kitchen has been the worst. It’s been difficult changing my routine and getting used to the girls being home. Don’t even get me started on the dish situation in this house this summer. Between the traveling, the summer entertaining, sleep overs and flow of other people’s children in and out of my house, we have more dirty dishes than a school cafeteria and I thought the never ending laundry was out of control. I do dishes at least 3 times a day and I am never caught up.

I don’t know about you but my girls tend to dirty dishes like they are in some sort of dirtying dishes and destroying my kitchen contest. Speaking of which, is there some symbiotic way for dishes and trash to breed? Because if there is, I’m quite sure the trash and dishes in my kitchen have figured it out. It’s a full time job keeping up with it and it doesn’t even pay.

What are my choices? It’ not like I’m going to stop letting my daughters have their friends over, isn’t that what summer’s all about. I’m also not going to stop entertaining because aren’t friends, family and having fun together making memories the good things life is filled with? So what if people dirty dishes and make messes, I like my life messy. It makes it feel lived in and loved on.

What I don’t want to do in the middle of all of this wonderful living, most of which happens in the heart of my house, the kitchen, is to go broke, be wasteful or have a disgusting house that people are afraid to visit. My kitchen is the natural gathering space in my house and I’ve just learned to embrace that fact.

When all the kids are over and I’m feeding more than just my two or I’m going for the little splurges in life like a hot fudge sundae bar party for a group of energetic 9 to 11-year-olds, I need to stay on top of the state of my house without turning into the crazy lady who made it not fun because she was so worried about the mess. I know you know what I mean. We’ve all been there; that moment when we need to let it go but we can’t.

I want to do all these things but I need to find ways to do it on a budget and while not letting my kitchen spin out of control into a heaping pile of strewn garbage on counters and dirty dishes (and we all know how fast a sundae bar can go south with a group of excited little girls.)

Below are a few tips to save money in the kitchen so that you have it extra for life’s sweet splurges and also how to keep yourself from spending all of your free time washing dishes.

Well, unless you want to put all those extra kids to work in your kitchen. No, probably not the best idea.

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Tip #1 You need durable garbage bags.

Hefty Ultra Strong bags are an outstanding quality for cleaning up all the mess your creating while having all that fun this summer. At a new, lower price it’s a value especially when you consider the durability, Arm & Hammer odor neutralizers and new, invigorating scents that help to keep odors at bay so even when your kitchen is full of people, the smell of garbage won’t be overwhelming your guests. Plus, a scent-free option for those who prefer it that way! Add to all of this a top-quality performance with active tear resistant technology that provides better puncture resistance and you can feel secure knowing there is less likelihood you’re going to leave a streak of shame while transporting garbage from inside the house to the outside. We’ve all done it and it’s bad enough alone, no one wants to do this in front of a house full of party goers?

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The best part is that you can easily pick these bags up at your local Walmart or Target to try them. Plus  you can go on Ibotta and earn $1.00 cash back via Ibotta after purchasing one box of Hefty trash bags. Or you can go on Coupons.com and save $1.00 off one box of Hefty trash bags.

Tip #2 Paper products are your friend

There was a time when I would have scoffed at the idea but now that I have two growing children and lots of extra people coming and going, eating and drinking (and can someone tell me why little girls need a new glass every single time they drink anything?) in my house, I know the value of disposable paper products. Plastic cups and sturdy paper plates can save you a lot of time in the kitchen and a lot of aggravation. Just enjoy your people and forget about who’s going to do the dishes and when it’s going to get done. At the end of the party, just put it all in the garbage back and forget about it.

Tip #3 Use a Canning Jar to Keep Leftover Wine Fresh for Up to a Week

I learned this one from Food52 and I love it. I love good wine but my husband is allergic to sulfites so I don’t normally buy the wine I like because I can’t drink and entire bottle by myself and I didn’t want to waste it. Anyways, by limiting the wine’s contact with air, which contains the oxygen that causes wine to oxidize this trick accomplishes the same goal by using a jar that is slightly smaller than the amount of wine to be stored. Place the jar on a kitchen towel and fill to the very top. When the lid is screwed on, the jar should overflow a little, which lets you know there is no air between the lid and the wine. According to the wine experts who gave Food52 this tip, wine stored this way will last up to a week. It’s a total win. I save my wine. I save my money and then I saved money again because, just so happens my dad worked at Ball glass my entire life and we have loads of mason jars, so no need to buy a fancy wine saving gadget or even new mason jars!

Tip #4 Keep Berries Fresh Longer

Who doesn’t love berries in the summer? We buy in bulk. The only problem is that berries ripen quickly in the warm weather and sometimes you end up throwing out an entire container. That not only hurts my heart it hurts my pocketbook. Wash your berries before storage in a diluted vinegar bath (1 cup of vinegar and 3 cups of water). Then place in a salad spinner lined with paper towel and spin them until they are completely dry (if you don’t do this, it will actually accelerate the rotting process). Store your cleaned berries in a sealable container lined with paper towels. I actually put a piece of paper towels between each level of berries to help soak up any excess water. Leave the lid open so that moisture can escape. Moisture is the enemy. According to Lifehacker, this method extends the shelf life of berries by days and the vinegar destroys bacteria and mold spores on the berries, helping them stay fresh longer.

What’s your best tip to save money in the kitchen?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed  about how to save money in the kitchen are all my own.

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