The kitchen is where I spend the majority of my days. Cooking two or three meals a day and clean up can take a lot of time. However, I have learned a few tips over the years that make my life in the kitchen more enjoyable and more time efficient.
How to Keep the Kitchen Clean and Tidy
Clear the Counters
There was a time, early in my marriage that I had the counters lined with small appliances, the knife block, coffee pot, crock pot, toaster and a few cute kitchen gadgets. It always felt cluttered and left little room for me to have a place to prep as I cooked.
I spent time cleaning the little splatters off the items on the counters or wiping the dust off the tops of them. The day I cleared off the counters was one of the first steps I took in always keeping a clean kitchen. I recently shared ways to simplify life in the kitchen and one of those was de-cluttering.
Do you really need all the things on your counters? Keep what you need, donate the rest and then find a place to store what you decided to keep. You won't spend time cleaning or moving the items, and you gain more counter space to prepare your meals.
Everyone is different, find what works for you but I know that having a clutter-free counter is a wonderful feeling! I still believe in creating beautiful spaces in the kitchen because I believe it makes the kitchen a joy to work in.
Our kitchen counters and cabinets are not pretty. They are cheap cabinets that are original to our manufactured home but I can still have a clean and pretty space. I have a shelf above my counters that holds all the pretty yet functional kitchen items that I use on a daily basis.
Always Start With a Clean Kitchen
My daughter and I are complete opposites in the kitchen. It often looks like a tornado blew through the kitchen when she finishes up fixing a meal. Flour on the counters and the floor, dishes were strewn about and jars with the lids left flipped open.
Granted she comes back and cleans after her she has the meal cooked but I might as well stay out of the kitchen while she works because her way and my way just don't mix. I clean as I cook and here are the steps that I take to ensure that when I am finished with preparing my meal, the kitchen is nearly clean.
1. I always start with a clean kitchen.
2. We don't own a dishwasher so the first thing I do is fill the sink with hot soapy water.
3. I begin cooking or baking and lay all the things I need out on the counters. I have all my measuring spoons/cups, mixing utensils, ingredients, and bowls laid out neatly on the counters. I also always have a dish towel close by.
4. As I prepare my dish and finish using a utensil, I place it in the dishwater. Unless it is a wooden utensil then I lay it on the counter next to the sink. Wooden utensils should never be left to soak in the water.
5. When I finish using the ingredients in my pantry jars, I wipe them off before placing them back on the shelf.
6. I finish preparing my dish, then I put it on to cook or bake.
Clean While you Wait
Once our meal has been placed in the oven or on the stove, I hand wash the dishes that are in the sink. I lay the dishes in the dish rack to dry, wipe off the counters and sometimes if I have time I will wipe down the front of the cabinets or refrigerator while I am waiting for the food to cook.
By the time that our meal is ready, our kitchen is almost always back to being clean. The only thing I will need to do after we eat is wash the dishes that we used during the meal, and care for the cast iron skillets that I used.
Do the Dishes
After every meal, the first thing that our family does is wash the dishes. The children carry their plates to the sink, rinse them off and then stack them to be washed. The table is cleared, leftovers put away, and dishes washed. Most times, the dishes are then dried and put away. This helps to put the kitchen back at the very clean stage, prepared for the next meal preparation.
Wipe Down the Counters, Stove and Work Spaces
Once the dishes are finished, take the time to wipe down the tops of all the work spaces that you used. For our family that would be the kitchen island, counters and stove top.
Drain the Dishwater
When all the dishes are done, counters and other work surfaces are wiped off, drain the dishwater. Then, shine your sink. Okay, so maybe not shine the sink but wipe it out and clean around the top of the sink, Rinse your dishrag out, hang it to dry and know that your kitchen is clean.
Other Tips for a Clean and Organized Kitchen
We don't allow constant snacking in our home, as in the children cannot come and go all day eating whenever they want. We eat breakfast around eight in the morning, have a snack around ten, lunch at noon, snack at two-thirty, dinner at five and the children will have a small snack around seven thirty. The children are responsible for cleaning up after themselves when they finish their snack time.
Ever feel like you wash enough cups in a day to supply an Army? I have been there! Then it dawned on me one day, just purchase each person their own cup. It was a genius moment! They each have their own cup to use throughout the day and the cups are one of the very few color-coded items in our home. There is no wondering or fighting about whose cup belongs to who and each child is responsible for their cup.
Never go to bed with a dirty dishes in the sink! I promise you that this was life-changing for me. I love waking up in the morning and walking into a clutter-free kitchen zone! I love knowing that there are no dirty dishes to greet me first thing in the morning. It's usually the lovely aroma of coffee and a pretty coffee cup. Just how the morning should be!
More Kitchen Related Posts
These tips may seem like a lot but I promise that after a few times of working in the kitchen, cleaning as you cook and then cleaning up immediately after the meal, you will always enjoy having a clean kitchen!
Do you have any tips you would love to share?