Day 4: Cleaning Basics

31 Days to a Clean and Organized Kitchen, October 2013 :

Hi everyone, how are things going with you?  Are you getting ready to dive in and get some serious kitchen organizing happening?  I know I sure am, but I have one more step to take before I plunge in to organized bliss.  If you’re just joining us, you can find the first three posts over on my 31 Days page, for a quick recap, here’s what we’ve done so far:  made a plan of attack, printed some new printables, and gotten labels ready for when the organizing fun begins.  And today I’m sharing my final step in prepping for a total kitchen organizing marathon.

Now, I was chatting with a friend last night and she told me I was bonkers.  She didn’t understand why I would worry about a cleaning schedule, when I’m going to be busy organizing everything.  Her thought was to wait until the organizing is done and then do up a cleaning schedule.  If that works for you, by all means do it that way.  My way is just that, my way.  It makes sense in my head, and I’ll tell you why.

  • the kitchen is the hardest working room in our home, and that will not change just because I’m organizing it.  Daily cleaning tasks still have to happen, and I can’t see going a whole month without doing the weekly upkeep either.  In fact I get the heebee jeebies just thinking about that.
  • I want to be able to jot down ideas as I go, maybe I notice an area that needs a little more attention than it is currently getting, or maybe something doesn’t need to be cleaned as often as I thought, either way, I’m looking to make kitchen upkeep as efficient as possible.
  • having a plan in place means that I’m less likely to forget about it,
  • having my cleaners on hand, means that I’ll be able to quickly clean each area I organize, and let’s face it pantries, spice cupboards and fridges tend to get messy with daily use.
  • and though it might be a long shot, it may just be that how I clean the kitchen effects how I will organize it.

Those are my reasons for doing it this way.  But don’t worry, I’m not going to write a huge long post about cleaning.  In fact I’m just here to share with you the cleaners that I use and the printable that I hope will help me, and you as well, create the best, most efficient cleaning plan we can.  I’ll start with the cleaners.

I make most of the cleaners we use around the house, and those 4 items are the BIG 4 for me.

  • White Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Dish Soap
  • Microfiber and Glass cleaning rags

If you search the wonderful web, you will find a ton of homemade cleaning recipes.  I’ve been using a combo of these four for a few years now and I love how they work.

All Purpose Cleaner

A 50/50 mix of vinegar and water in a spray bottle.


Mix small amounts of dish soap with baking soda to make a paste, and use a damp microfiber rag to clean with.

Stove Drip Pan Cleaner

Hot water, dishsoap and about a cup of vinegar in the sink.  Soak drip pans for an hour or so, then scrub with baking soda.

Floor Cleaner

I have a Rubbermaid Reveal Spray Mop, into the bottle I mix 50/50 water and vinegar with a squirt or two of dishsoap.

If I’m giving the floors a scrub by hand I use a mix similar to the one above for the drip pans, but I add baking soda to the water.

**Please note, when using baking soda follow up your cleaning with a good hand moisturizer.  Also, you might need to rinse your floors when you’re done.**

Sink Shiner

Use the scrub above, then follow with the All-Purpose spray, then rinse well and dry with the glass cleaning cloth.

Oven Cleaner 

Boil vinegar in kettle (this cleans the kettle too!)  pour into a heat proof bowl and place in middle of oven.  Close door and leave for about and hour or two.  Remove bowl, but don’t dump yet.  Sprinkle baking soda onto bottom of oven and scrub.  Sprinkle with warm vinegar and allow to sit another hour.  Go back and wipe clean.  (sometimes it’s more work than that, but usually this works well)

With those items on hand doing the cleaning is a breeze.  But those along won’t keep the kitchen clean, they need to be used in conjunction with a good cleaning schedule.  I’m not sure what mine looks like anymore.  I want something that will keep the kitchen clean in a quick and efficient manner.  I don’t want to be spending hours each week cleaning the kitchen, but I also don’t want to compromise my standards of clean.  So, while I take this month to get the kitchen organized, I’m also going to be working on creating a plan that will keep the kitchen clean without requiring me to set aside a whole afternoon each week to keep it that way.  To help with that I made this:

kitchen cleaning plan printable with spaces for daily, weekly, and monthly and seasonal tasks:
My Kitchen Cleaning Plan Worksheet

Some things could probably already go on there.  Especially the daily tasks, like washing, drying and putting away dishes; sweeping the floors, wiping the counters, and so on… but I thought I would leave it blank and that way all of us can add to it only the things we want on it.  I’m sticking this on my fridge and I plan to make notes as I work my way through the kitchen.

As always, to grab a copy for yourself, simply click the picture above.

Before I leave you, I thought I would share an “oh duh!” moment I had.  You see, when I started this series I jotted down 31 post ideas to go along with this topic.  I knew things would change or get shuffled around, but I wanted a good idea of what to write about this month.  After I did that, I decided I was going to do the writing, the posting, and the projects in real-ish time with all of you.  So I haven’t actually organized my kitchen yet.  This morning, I pulled out the items in the pics above and took the pictures in my dining room.  I edited them this morning as well, before sitting down to write this post.

The only things I’ve worked on ahead of time are some of the printables, because those take a little time.  I usually get them finished up the night before the post goes out.  So far, this has been working great.  Sure the posts don’t go out until around noon my time (Pacific) but they are going out.

Tomorrow is going to be the first big work day, I’m organizing the pantry.   And as I was thinking about it, this is the thought that popped into my head “Since I’m going to be busy tomorrow, today I’ll spend some time updating the social media pages after I get today’s post published, and maybe squeeze in a little time to work on the new website design. ”  And I’ll be honest, I was totally looking forward to being able to take it easy this afternoon, but then I got home from dropping Liam off at school and I was setting everything up for the pictures, and it dawned on me…. the pantry is not going to be a quick, get it done in 5 minutes project.  I set aside the WHOLE day on Saturday to get it done.  But if I do that, then I won’t be posting the post until bed time…. and that’s when I realized the flaw in my plan to do it then post about it all on the same day.  Some projects just can’t be done in real-ish time  🙁

So, today I’m off to organize my pantry.  I’m foreseeing a slightly late night but I can sleep in a little but in the morning.  And tomorrow, I will be back here to share with you the finished (for now) project, as well as an update on how all the printables are working for me so far.

Do you ever start something with an idea in your head only to realize part way through that there were things you didn’t take into consideration?  Do you let hiccups in the road get you down, or are you more of a ‘let’s roll with it’ kind of person?

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