Welcome back to the 31 Days to a Clean and Organized Kitchen series. If you’re just joining us, you can find all the previous posts on the 31 Days tab at the top of the page. So far we’ve organized zones, started putting together kitchen binders, and yesterday I shared some ways I’ve found to make the deep cleaning projects in the kitchen a little easier. Today, I’m going to continue on with the “clean” part of this series and share with you my thoughts on daily kitchen cleaning.
I really struggle with our kitchen. It’s my Achilles heel when it comes to keeping up on the housework. It’s kind of like the laundry, there is always something that is waiting to be done. Unlike other rooms in my home, a weekly dust and vacuüm isn’t going to keep it up, I can’t just decide Monday is clean the kitchen day and forget it about for the rest of the week. Can I just throw out an “eeeeeeeewww” to go with that thought! It is so easy to get bogged down by the amount of work the kitchen requires. In a perfect world, this is what my cleaning schedule in the kitchen would look like every day.
- empty dishwasher
- make breakfast, pack lunches
- clean up from breakfast and lunch making
- wipe surfaces
- sweep floor
- make lunch
- clean up from lunch
- wipe surfaces
- sweep floor
- dinner prep
- load dishwasher
- wash up dinner dishes (those that don’t go in the dishwasher)
- dry and put away dinner dishes
- wipe all surfaces and front of appliances
- sweep floor
- mop floor
- empty garbage and recycling
- tidy up kitchen before bed, clearing any snack dishes
- run dishwasher
Like I said, in a perfect world, that is how it would work. Reality is never perfect though. There are those mornings that we’re running late, so breakfast clean up gets pushed aside. Or those days when Travis or I are busy baking up a storm. Evenings when I’m sick or just too tired to check everything off the list. Six mornings out of seven, the non-dishwasher dishes that were washed the night before are waiting in the sink to be put away. Most days I feel as though I am waging a war with my kitchen to just keep up with all the cleaning.
I have tried delegating work to the boys, even Travis pitches in when he’s home at dinner time, but the truth of the matter is that everything the boys need to do, hinges first on me starting. It only takes one day of me just not having the motivation (for whatever reason, flu included) to send the kitchen into a tailspin. To help combat this I’ve created a new routine for myself. Well, not a new one per say, I’ve updated my old one.
First thing I did was ditch the through the day cleaning. Really, it made very little difference at the end of the day, and I found that I have a little more motivation to get things done in the kitchen if I haven’t spent time cleaning it all day long. If I have some spare time while waiting for the kettle to boil or something I’ll tidy things up in there for sure, but for the most part I ignore it. As for my daily kitchen cleaning routine, here’s what I did to help make it more manageable.
See the time beside the tasks? That has been a huge help for me. I don’t set a timer, the time is just a reminder that it really doesn’t take as long as I think it will. I usually load up the dishes from the day and tidy things up while dinner is cooking. Showing the boys how long it takes to do each task is pretty awesome as well. It takes away the mysterious, “this is going to take forever” feeling and gives them something tangible to look forward too. It also shows them that I don’t expect perfect. I expect a good effort, but that doesn’t mean I want them to spend half an hour sweeping the floor to get every last crumb. For example, Liam is my mopper. He’s six; I don’t expect every spot on the floor to get mopped. He has fun, he does the best he can, and that’s all I ask for. (oh to have fun with chores again!) The best part of all of this is knowing that if we all work together we can be finished dinner and kitchen clean up in under half an hour. I also estimate high on most of those tasks, so in reality it will probably take less than even that. I would also like to just point out that we do clean up spills and wipe counters throughout the day, I don’t let icky stuff sit, but the bulk of the cleaning gets done in the evening.
A daily kitchen cleaning routine is important. This hard-working room needs the extra attention each and every day to stay functioning and to keep the germs at bay. If you’re like me, and dread that self-induced feeling of spending forever in the kitchen, just remind yourself that it doesn’t take as long as you think it will.
Do you have any tips or advice to share about how to make daily cleaning in the kitchen easier? Do you ever think something will take longer than it actually does?