Cleaning and organization experts, busy families, and cleaning and organizing experts share their tips and advice on maintaining a clean and tidy kitchen.
It often feels like no matter what we do; the kitchen constantly needs TLC. Among busy families especially, the kitchen is in constant use — it seems like groceries turn into meals, and meals turn into piles of dishes on a loop. While some parents do alright with recruiting their families into cleaning duties, others struggle constantly. And with that struggle comes arguments, finger-pointing, and sometimes an inability to cook some eggs in the morning.
Shantae, a professional home organizer who founded Shantaeize Your Space, says the kitchen is full of love and joy. It’s a place where families gather to cook together. This is usually the only time during the day that everyone can be present. There are a lot of feelings here. And why is it so difficult to clean the kitchen? Duckworth cites busyness as a reason for the messiness of kitchens. “Families are always on the move, and cooking requires many more dishes and ingredients.”
How can one keep a kitchen clean with all the commotion of modern-day life? Parents are expected to cook, clean, drop off their children, work, and take them to extracurricular activities. Cleaning and organization experts, as well as parents, were asked for their tips on how to keep the kitchen as clean as possible.
Reduce the number of dishes and cookware you use in your kitchen
Here’s an idea you might have yet to think of. Consider the size of your family and how many containers you own. Do you need 10 cups for a family of four?
Arlene Sullivan, mother of two and teacher in Washington, D.C., says that she and her children have each two cups and two sets of utensils. This means they can only go two meals without washing dishes, and the dishes pile is manageable.
To reduce mess, store extra dishes out of sight.
Use visual reminders for cleaning
Out of sight, out of mind is not always a positive thing. While it can be annoying to remind your family to do certain kitchen cleaning chores, sometimes a visual reminder is all that’s needed.
Rhiannon Kammeyer is a mother and teacher in Aurora, Colorado. She has a simple solution. She says, “I have just started to leave the dishwasher open and the top rack out.”
I’ve started leaving the dishwasher’s top rack out when the dishwasher is open.
Rhiannon Kammeyer is a teacher and mother of 3.
Her household will know they don’t have to put dirty dishes into the sink. They can rinse them and then place them in the dishwasher.
Clean as you go
How many of us do we forget to wash our dishes before cooking dinner? This is a common mistake, and it can be constructive.
Rochelle Wilkinson of dirt detective cleaning, Phoenix, Maryland, advises: “A little bit here and there will make cleaning easier and help to prevent dirt and grime building up.”
She recommends that you do two simple cleaning tasks every day:
Every time you cook, wipe down the stovetop.
After you have cleaned the dishes and cooked your meal, wipe down the counters.
Set up a schedule of cleaning for areas that are often overlooked.
The places we don’t clean or wipe down regularly are where grime and mess can build up. When was your last cleaning on your appliances, even if you washed your sink every night?
To establish good habits, assign small cleaning jobs to children
Find more minor, straightforward ways to get your children involved in cleaning.
Bohne Leah is a professional home and business organizer at Be Organised Method. She says, “Start early and use routine.” If kids are taught that Sunday mornings are dedicated to the organization, they will accept it as part of life.
Start young and stick to a routine. “If kids are taught that Sunday mornings are always a time for organization, they will accept it as a part of life.”
Bohne Leah is a professional home and office organizer with Be Organized Method.
Sullivan has also found ways to involve her children in cleaning. She says that they have a spray bottle for kids with only water. “While I clean the counters and the refrigerator after meals, my kids will clean the cabinets, bottom of the refrigerator, front of the dishwasher, or whatever else needs a good ‘cleaning.'” Sullivan continues, “One day, all the cans were ‘cleaned.’ Whatever works for your kids! “I’m trying to create the habit of cleaning up after meals.”
Every item in your kitchen should have a place
If you have lots of stuff in your kitchen but need a designated ‘home,’ it will often end up on the counters and other surfaces. This can cause visual clutter, which leads to anxiety.
As a family, decide on a designated home for each item. Duckworth says this will help the family know where to find them and where to return them once they are clean or used. Label drawers, cabinets, and bins so the entire family can know where things are kept. This will also stop the family from asking you about where they are going.
Leslie Fiedler James is a mother of 2 and the owner of Denver Squared. An architectural salvage and design company. If it didn’t belong, it was thrown out. The most used items were placed in places that are easy to reach, such as upper cabinets and drawers. “We are now two years in, and it is easy to notice when something is not where it should be.”
Keep items that are rarely used in areas out of reach
Remember that you will only need that Mickey Mouse waffle machine every day if you are genuinely making mouse-eared meals daily.
Leah says, “I balance accessibility with the frequency of use.” Leah explains that top shelves are ideal for serving dishes and other things only used once or twice a year. “If you rarely bake, for instance, all baking products should be classified and placed farther away from your primary area.
I match accessibility with the frequency of use. The top shelves are perfect for items you use only once or twice a year or serve dishes. “If you rarely bake, for instance, all baking supplies should be classified and placed farther away.”