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​8 DIY fixes for your most common kitchen problems

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
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Thanks to Murphy’s Law, your picture-perfect kitchen that you just finished cleaning and packing will not remain that way, especially if you have little ones running around your house.

But even though those surfaces will get dirty and some features may break down time after time, you don’t need to resort to never ever setting foot inside your kitchen again. Just keep these 8 clever tricks in mind the next time your patience is tested – we guarantee they will make working in (and cleaning up) your kitchen much easier and more pleasant than you ever thought possible!

Problem 1: A stinky drain

Nobody wants to enter a kitchen and be hit with a myriad of overwhelming smells. Get rid of any lingering food and bacteria by dumping half a cup of baking soda down the drain. After about 15 minutes, add 1 cup of white vinegar. Let the bubbling action do its thing, then follow with a kettle full of boiling water.

If you have a rubbish disposal, toss a couple of ice cubes in before turning it on. Follow this with some citrus slices. The job of the ice cubes is to sharpen the blades and knock loose any stuck food gunk, and the lemon will freshen it up. 

If you don't have a disposal, do your best to keep food out of the drain, and always rinse it well.

Problem 2: Cabinet doors that don’t close properly

Check the door hinges, as screws holding the hinge to the cabinet can become loosened over time. If you spot a loose screw or two, have someone hold the cabinet door in the correct location and tighten them. If the hinge has been pulled out, you'll need either a longer, fatter screw or some epoxy wood filler, to repair the damaged hole before tightening the screw. 

If this doesn’t work, try levelling the doors. Concealed hinges come with an adjustment screw. Adjust slowly, frequently closing the cabinet door as you go to check for uniform spacing. Once the door is level and uniformly spaced, it should close properly.

When it comes to older cabinets with non-adjustable hinges, you may have to remove the hinge, repair the old holes with epoxy wood filler, and re-use. Or simply move the hinge up or down slightly to create new screw holes. 

If none of these tricks work, rather install a simple magnetic or mechanical catch to help keep the door closed.

Problem 3: An overly sensitive smoke detector

Don’t just remove the batteries every time that smoke alarm goes off while you’re boiling water. You have a few options: 

1. Simply move it to a different spot, where it's less likely to trigger so easily.  

2. Consider upgrading. Paying just a little more for better technology often solves the problem.  

3. Cover it with a shower cap while you're cooking, but remember to remove it when you're not. 

If your detector is hardwired, better let an electrician take a look to adjust the sensitivity.

​Problem 4: Sticky drawers

You will need the following:   

• Soap and water.

• Some spray lubricant (like WD-40). 

• A few minutes of your time.  Carefully remove the drawer and clean the tracks well with a cloth dampened with soap and water. Spray them with lubricant, and then replace the drawer. And that’s it!  Should there not be any track and your drawer and cabinet are both made of wood, rub the drawer and the inside of the cabinet with a wax, such as paraffin or beeswax, instead.

Problem 5: An ice storm in the freezer

Freezer storage baskets or bins that run the full depth of your freezer are vital, and you can buy some made specifically for this purpose; however, any container will work. 

Use as many as your freezer will accommodate, and designate each for a specific food category—proteins with proteins, fruits and veggies together, and so on. Labels will ensure that using the freezer is quick and easy for everyone. 

To up the organisation levels, let the last week of every month be “clean-out week”. Instead of buying new groceries, commit to using up as much as you can from your freezer and pantry. This will keep your stocks of food from getting stale or freezer burned, plus save you money.

Problem 6: Greasy film

Brew up your own heavy-duty cleaner by combining the following in a bucket or your sink:  

• Hot water.

• A cup of vinegar.

• And a squirt of grease-cutting dish detergent (leave out the vinegar if you're applying it to natural stone).

Apply this mixture with a microfibre cloth and watch the grease evaporate from your life!

homify hint: Prevention is key. Wash the cabinets over the stove area frequently (at least once a month) to ensure the grease build-up doesn’t get out of hand.

Problem 7: A pileup of pot lids

What you need here is a pot-lid organiser attached to the inner cabinet's walls or door. This will make finding the lids easy and leave a separate space for the pots. 

If your cabinet can't accommodate such racks, look for something else that allows for vertical storage. Even though lots of different specialty products are readily available, an old dish-drying rack can work as well.

However, don't forget about the importance of paring down all your pots, pans, and lids to those you actually use. The less you have, the less you’ll have to dig through next time.

Problem 8: An overflow of containers

First things first: match lids to bottoms, and recycle or donate the leftovers. Next, nest together similar containers—square with square, round with round, etc.  

However, file the lids separately in their very own basket or topless container, and try to keep them organised. Maintain order by abiding by these two rules:

1. Never put away a container or lid without its match.  

2. Don't shove in another food-storage container if there’s no room. Recycle or donate instead. 

To keep your kitchen looking oh-so neat and tidy, see these: 20 great ideas for organising everything in your kitchen.

Got any other hints? Tell us in the comments!
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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