Every month, Lori Yates from Foxes Love Lemons takes a lesson she learned in culinary school, while working with some of the country’s best chefs, and brings it into the home kitchen, where her tips will help make you a faster, better, and more confident cook. Welcome to her column, Home Chef. Today, we’re talking neatness, one of the most under-rated qualities of being a top-caliber home cook. Here’s Lori’s easy set of of tips for keeping the counter clean while you prep all your seasonal vegetables.

Some of the most useful kitchen tips I learned in school are by far the simplest ones. Those things that make you slap your forehead and wonder why you’ve never thought of it yourself before. Something I learned in the first ten minutes of my first-ever culinary class will end up saving me hours of cleanup in my lifetime.

If you’re peeling vegetables like carrots or potatoes (or even something like hard-boiled eggs), you have a few options for keeping your workspace clean as you go, and none of them are great. Peel the vegetables over your counter or cutting board, and you’ve soiled that surface with little bits of peelings and dirt particles. Peel the vegetables over an open trash can and (if you’re anything like me), you have a 75% chance of dropping the vegetable into the trash when it slips out of your hand. Yuck.

Luckily, if you have a roll of plastic wrap handy, you can change this unfortunate situation. Here’s what to do.

Step 1. Cover your cutting board or work surface with plastic wrap.

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Step 2. Peel your veggies over the plastic wrap.

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Step 3. Roll up the plastic wrap and peelings and chuck it in the trash.

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 Step 4. Return to your clean work surface and rejoice!

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You could also try using larger bags from the Blue Apron box.

Want to try?