7 Easy Steps to a Clean Kitchen
We all know that we should keep our kitchen and our homes clean, but for some reason this job seems to be one of the toughest things to do. We live in our kitchens all day long. Whether we are preparing a meal, eating snacks, or doing schoolwork it seems like the kitchen is the collection ground for all things. And it is where most of our time is spent. For this reason, alone, it can be troublesome to actually USE our kitchens. When piles of items find their home in the kitchen, how can we get anything done? It’s especially true if you have lots of small children at home all day long. This has been a struggle in my own life for some time and only recently have I come up with a system that actually works! Today, I’m sharing my plan in 7 easy steps to a clean kitchen.
Here are seven steps to keeping your a kitchen immaculate even with a full house:
1. Load and run the dishwasher every night after dinner. I know what you’re thinking, “I’m too tired from a long day!” but starting the dishwasher up right away will help keep you less stressed out and make for a better evening … and morning! Nobody likes waking up to a dirty kitchen with dishes piled high in the sink. The key to a good day begins with running your dishwasher every night so that you can start your day with clean dishes.
2. Unload the dishwasher either as soon as it is done (before bedtime) or first thing in the morning. This way you always have a spot for dirty dishes and if you follow steps 3 & 4 (see below) you will want to unload the clean dishes so that you have your clean dishes out and ready for the next day!
3. Keep the same drinking cup all day long. This third tip to keeping a clean kitchen is especially important in our house. This is key to having fewer dishes to do and less cleanup too! As an added bonus there will be no more looking for an extra cup for each child! We keep our cups filled with water and then at dinner time refill our cups with milk. Everyone knows where their cup is at all times. I found some fun summer cups at Target that look like mason jars with lids, and straws come with them. Let’s be real … most of my kids are beyond sippy cup age … but it’s nice to use cups with lids! Cups with lids=less spills!!! I labeled each with the child’s name and each one also has a different pattern or color so that it is easy to identify. This helps so much. The kids can easily recognize which cup is theirs. Even our three-year-old knows who’s cup is who’s. I also bought a small heavy square plate (a tray would work too) to keep all the cups in one central location. It is heavy so that it won’t easily slide off the table. We keep our plate in the middle of the table and when the kids are done drinking they place their cup back on the plate. It keeps the table from looking too cluttered – but this has been so easy for the kids to remember where their cup is. After dinner, their cups go right into the dishwasher where they are cleaned to use in the morning.
4. Keep the same plate all day long. This tip is helpful for keeping a clean kitchen and cutting down on waisting water and trash space (in case you use paper plates). While we were at it, we bought matching plastic plates that the kids use all day. They rinse it off and put it back in their spot at the table during the day. This will work well if you have a separate eating space that you don’t use for school or projects. We bought plastic plates at Target that were bright and fun for Summer. This way they don’t break if the toddler drops them, they are reusable unlike paper plates, and they look festive. I set them out usually before bedtime after running the dishwasher and cleaning up the kitchen. They are kept on the table all day and the kids are responsible for their own plate. They rinse their own off after each snack or meal. After dinner, they get placed in the dishwasher. Voila! We are ready for the next day!
5. Clean up as you go along. This seems like common sense but it took a long time for me to remember this and follow through! Put away your stuff as soon as you get it out … once you make the meal or once you eat the snack, rinse off the dish that you used. Next, either put it away or put it into the dishwasher. If you do this all day long, you’ll have a full dishwasher, a clean sink, and clean counters by evening.
6. Use a hanging towel bag for towels. If you’re like me, you go through a lot of towels each day. We use microfiber towels for cleaning off the table and countertops. We also use handtowels for drying hands and for quickly cleaning up messes. So, I started using a hanging bag – the kind that hangs off of your oven. I have a homemade one that was made from a shop on Etsy and I’ve also made some of my own. They’re lined with PUL to keep it waterproof and they are very easy to keep clean: just throw them in your washer at the end of the night with all the towels! They are safe to go in the washer and dryer. The next day hang it back up and you’ve got a space to keep dirty towels instead of leaving them all over your sink, counters, and floors.
7. No toys in the kitchen! This seems like the easiest step but it is the hardest to implement! (Don’t ask me how I know). Just remember, all the horizontal spaces in a kitchen create a giant clutter magnet. Make sure all the kids put away their toys, books, pencils, crayons, clothing and any other object they may have dragged into the kitchen. Anytime you see an item out of place remind them where it goes. Make it a habit and you are sure to have a
cleaner clean kitchen in no time!
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