1. Start With A Clean Kitchen
Starting with a clean kitchen makes your time in the kitchen much more enjoyable. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to find a pot only to discover it's sitting in the sink. Or trying to cut vegetables with a cluttered counter. Have the kids quickly pick up any messes in the kitchen when they arrive home from school. My youngest, four years old, loves to wash the dishes. She feels important when she does.
2. Speedy Clean List
Have a speedy clean list, making it your goal to never spend more than 20 minutes cleaning your kitchen. In that 20 minutes you should be able to wash the dishes, wipe the counters and stove (drip pans included), and sweep the floor. Twenty minutes a day doing this will go a long way in maintaining the integrity and joy of your kitchen.
3. Never Go To Bed With Dirty Dishes
This is our best secret. One of the biggest ways to make a kitchen look dirty is by having a sink full of dirty dishes. It also takes a lot of stress off the next day knowing you don't have dishes awaiting you. You can easily fill the coffee pot with water, because you don't have to shove a bunch of dishes around. Odors don't develop overnight from leftover food and you spend less time, within 20 minutes, in the kitchen later because you're not spending all your time scrubbing stuck on food. Why is this my best secret? you wonder. Because I have one great tip for you on this: RINSE AND LOAD. Recite that like a mantra in your home. Say it to your kids until they are sick of hearing it: RINSE AND LOAD. It literally takes less than one minute to rinse a plate and place it in the dishwasher. Take this free printable I created, hang it over the sink or somewhere else in your kitchen. But make sure your kids, and yourselves, consistently remember to RINSE AND LOAD.
4. Clean While You Cook
This is something my mom taught me when I was learning how to cook. Instead of throwing a skillet into the sink when you're done using it, give it a quick rinse first. Instead of using three different spoons for stirring each pot, rinse one off and reuse it. If you spill on the stove while cooking, wipe it up with a paper towel right away, instead of letting the egg or sauce dry. This is something that drastically increases your clean time later. We want to do anything that might help keep our kitchen time down to 20 minutes.
5. Clean Your Fridge Twice a Month
Refrigerators are one of the biggest breeders of germs in your home. Food gets shoved to the back and grows mold. You lose more plastic storage containers than you can shake a stick at. Clean your fridge twice a month (or when you go grocery shopping). This will get the smells and rotten food out, free up any storage containers you can use, and give you a better idea of what is truly available when you are ready to go grocery shopping.
6. Use Non-slip Rug Pads
One of my biggest pet peeves is when bottles get tipped over in my fridge and in my cabinets. This clutters up the space, liquids leak out, and generally becomes a huge mess. To prevent this from happening, use non-slip rug pads on your flat surfaces. Your glass bottles will no longer slip around in your fridge. You can spray paint them, too, to a little pop of color to the inside of your refrigerator door!
7. Use Designated Containers for Kids
I don't know about your kids, but the first thing mine do when they get home from school is raid the kitchen. They make messes without even realizing it, and eat half the house before dinner is even served. To maintain their clutter, have designated bins for them. Use some vinyl to adhere their names to a plastic container, and fill them with what they may have that day. This will keep your food budget under control and teach your kids limitations. If they have leftovers from their sack lunches, they can put them in their own bins.
8. Make Use Of Storage Racks
These days you can buy storage racks for just about anything, from spices to pots and pans. Fully invest in these. Some may be pricey, but they make organizing your cabinets so much easier, which in turn makes your time in the kitchen less painstaking.
9. Store Bagged Items ProperlyIn continuing with your cabinet organization, invest in storage containers for your bagged items, such as a cereal, beans, or rice. All those bags do is create clutter. In my home, they tend to get stacked on top of one another, and I never know if I have a bag of rice or a bag of black beans available. Oftentimes I wind up buying rice when I already had a bag there. I just didn't see it!
10. Deep Clean Once A MonthMy final tip is to deep clean your kitchen once a month. And by deep clean, I mean the whole thing, top to bottom. Scrub the floorboards, beneath the cabinets, inside and outside of the cabinets, on top of the fridge, inside the oven, and so forth. Keeping up on these necessary chores helps keep your kitchen sparkling all year long!
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