Tips on Cleaning Up Your Kitchen!
Strategies and Resources To Help You With Organizing Your Kitchen
Hello, dear Clutterbuster enthusiasts! We are back for another riveting segment of our favorite organizing and purging game plan that will help make your life and living quarters - easier to maintain and manage.
This time, we are hitting your home at the heart…the kitchen.
The kitchen, to many of us, is not only the heart of the home, but the HUB, or the command center if you will. Multiple daily meals, snacktimes, coffee cravings, and midnight snacks all center around this particular room. Many kitchens have a never-ending cycle of dishes - clean to dirty, dirty to clean, and it is hard to keep up. Even those that don’t cook on a regular basis find their kitchen still in shambles. The kitchen island or counter often is the first drop zone of a home where stuff just “collects”. Mail, wrappers, dishes, paperwork, you name it, it probably has spent some time in the kitchen. With this endless parade of activity - it is no wonder that the kitchen is the easiest to get messy quickly, and most difficult to keep tidy.
So with a room that is in full motion mode all the time - just how do you keep it clean? Through these simple steps, we hope you will find some helpful solutions to corral the conundrum of clutter in your kitchen.
Hold tight Clutterbusters…it is time for a breakthrough!
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The Elephant In Your Kitchen
Did you ever hear the saying, “it is easier to eat the elephant one bite at a time”? With most decluttering processes, it is easier to start small - one drawer - one cabinet, because taking on the WHOLE thing at once would honestly be overwhelming. Also, with your kitchen as busy as it probably is, you may have to stop mid-stream as you are working for one reason or another. Unless you can schedule out an uninterrupted morning or afternoon to work in peace, and tackle a lot at once, choose one drawer, or cabinet, at a time.
As you are working, empty each completely. Give the space a good vacuum or wipedown or both. Crumbs tend to collect in the oddest of places. This is also a perfect opportunity to put in a sturdy cabinet or drawer liner, to protect surfaces and make things easier to clean. This is also an opportunity to add some color or a pattern to your kitchen as well. See some examples below, but there are many more choices out there too!
Clean the outside of your cabinet or drawer with a good wood degreaser too, because though it may not seem like it, the grease from your cooktop tends to travel and adhere to your cabinet fronts.
Consolidate Like Items
As you are working, corral all the like items into one place - it could be drinking glasses, spatulas, wooden spoons, Tupperware - those things that seem to travel in packs! Then think about how much you really use, on any given day. We find that the more you have, the more you use..and then guess what? The more you have to KEEP CLEAN and put away. It can be overwhelming, to be honest. Sometimes, there is just not enough room for everything. And then sometimes that leads to piles collecting.
A huge secret, that is not actually a secret when it comes to cleaning is to have less stuff. That is also worth repeating, and again, many of us (including your clutterbuster blog writer) are very guilty of that very thing. Too.Much.Stuff. This leads us to our next step. Simplify.
Much like those appliances that you may have collected that make promises of making your life easier, the true key to making things easier is to actually let go of THINGS. With less, you need to take care of less, clean less, and find space for less. With less, you can actually appreciate what you have, and use it well. In the kitchen, sometimes we have a lot of things that are actually cheaply made, or cheap to purchase - which makes accumulating them MUCH easier. As these items get worn out, we buy more of these things, but sometimes we don’t get rid of the original items. Soon we find ourselves with a drawer full of lower-quality items, taking up precious space. So simplify. Take all those cheaply made like items and pick one or two, and toss (or donate) the rest. If feasible, buy a higher quality item that will last a long, long time, and get rid of the cheaply made version that is inhabiting your kitchen drawer.
For example, there are plenty of plastic measuring cup sets in the vast majority of kitchens out there. They are easily melted or broken, scratched, or stained. Instead, consider replacing the multiple plastic versions with one more durable set of metal measuring cups - that withstand the abuse and use that cooking dishes out. More than likely, this higher-quality set will be one you enjoy using again and again, for a long while, and you won’t miss the plastic ones at all.
Looking to potentially sell your home and move to something a little more perfect for your next dinner party? Your current home or kitchen may not fit your needs. The Ask Cathy Team can help. Find out how much your current home could be worth in today's real estate market here.
Keep Things You Actually Use
We are all guilty of having items in our kitchen that we just don’t need. Gadgets that are received as gifts or purchased on a whim, or bought because it matches your kitchen colors or theme. The latest and greatest appliance that lures you into purchasing through the promise of making dinner easier and quicker for you. Guilty, guilty, guilty, GUILTY.
It is time to let the things that you don’t use go. This is especially true when it comes to small appliances. Ask yourself: What small appliances fit your lifestyle and that you REALLY use on a regular basis? Can one appliance take the place of more than one?
But it also applies to dishware, glasses, mugs, and especially Tupperware containers. Remember the secret to having less stuff? All those mugs, glasses, and Tupperware need to be sorted and prioritized. Pick your favorites, reach deep in the cabinet for the ones you never use, and donate the rest. Less is actually more when it is just enough.
Live For the Now
Back “in the day”, people would purchase a set of dishes for every day and one set for special occasions. China cabinets were all the fashion, where you displayed these special dishes. When Thanksgiving, Christmas, or your anniversary rolled around, you would break out these dishes and once that meal was over - back to the hutch they went for another year. These dishes, as precious as they were, were taking up valuable real estate in your kitchen cupboard or hutch, especially when they were only used so infrequently. This ritual most likely started back in the yesteryears when you used your best clothes for Sunday church, and your good shoes for special occasions. Back when things were cherished and valued and items weren’t so disposable. You may have items like these in your cupboards - whether they were a gift from a wedding, or something handed down - something you have in your mind that is “too good for every day”. But why put off the specialness for only once or twice a year, especially if something has meaning to you? Your kitchen should be filled with things you love, enjoy using, and like looking at. If things that are currently in your kitchen that don’t make you happy, or are frustrating to use or take care of, ask yourself why are they in your kitchen? Use items that make cooking easier and more enjoyable for you. Use special dishtowels that are beautiful, and eat off the plates your love to look at. Don’t save your special experiences for once a year.
A Tip for Clearing Out
If you really feel torn about getting rid of one thing or another that you seriously think you will use “soonish”, or you just HAVE to keep - take it and place it in a box - out of the way - in a utility closet, or your garage. Then set a calendar date (with alarm) on your phone in 3 months' time (or another timeframe of your choosing) and if you haven’t used that appliance or item by then, immediately put it in your car for donation.
Clear Your Counters
One of the best ways to keep clutter at bay is to keep your kitchen counters and/or island clear of everything. While it is ok to keep one or two items that are of utmost importance (hello, coffeemaker!) really try to limit yourself so that your kitchen counters don’t resemble the appliance section of “Chez Target”.
Instead of using your counters as a dump zone for things that come into your home, train every member of your family to put things away where they belong. Make a nightly ritual before heading to bed to clear your counters, and give them a quick wipe down. You will wake up in the morning and enter a clean kitchen, and a clean start to the day. Having a tidy surface will hopefully make everyone else follow suit, and make less work for everyone. Every notice that it is much easier to add stuff to an already cluttered surface? If a flat surface is already clear, you are much less likely to start the mess. There is no better feeling than to walk into your kitchen and see the counters completely clear. We promise you will feel less stressed and less overwhelmed, right from the get-go!
You Can Do It!
With a few simple steps and rituals, your kitchen will feel less overwhelming, which is our hope for you. Sadly, clutter-busting your kitchen is not a “one-and-done” type of thing. Since this room is the nucleus of your home, you need to keep on guard often so that it doesn’t revert back to its formerly cluttered condition. The good thing is, once you have clutterbusted it once, the steps will seem like second nature, and the process will get easier, and quicker each time. Pretty soon, what used to be a project that would take hours will take a fraction of the time. You will be a kitchen clutter-buster expert!
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