Have you ever felt like throwing every dish you own out the window? Maybe you’ve got too many dishes in the sink (so many that you’d rather just start over with new ones), or just had a really bad cooking experience, or even a breakup. Sometimes starting fresh seems like the only option in life and especially in the kitchen.
Take a step back, my friend, and close the window. You can clean your kitchen, and even organize it, with a few really easy steps.
Start from the floor and work your way up.
Seriously, what are all those things you’ve got stacked up on the kitchen floor? If it’s a pile of recycling, take it out and recycle it. Unless you are snowed in, there’s no reason to keep your recyclables around more than a day or two.
For most people, the first room we head to upon returning home is the kitchen. It’s easy to put your mail on the kitchen counter, hang your jacket on a kitchen chair, and kick off your shoes near the fridge. Then you end up with an obstacle course between you and your next meal. Putting the things that don’t belong in the kitchen where they do belong can clear up a lot of space.
How many dishes are you “soaking” to make them easier to clean? If you have a dishwasher, put the pre-soaked dishes in it. If not, get a strainer-drainer combination and you’ll never have to dry a dish again.
My quick and not-so-dirty secret to making dish-washing easier is to ditch the stinky sponge. Did you know that a kitchen sponge is 200,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat? (And, even if you really hate your job just be thankful it doesn’t include measuring germs on a toilet seat.)
I prefer a scrubber that doesn’t stink and is easy to clean with boiling water: the Dobie. Dish-washing just got a lot easier.
Making space in the cupboard.
If you find yourself constantly stacking and un-stacking (then re-stacking) dishes in the cupboard, try this: get some shelf organizers. I love these things! They double the space in your cupboards. (They are great for keeping things sorted out in your gym locker, too.)
Skip the dishes altogether.
Once you’ve got the dishes sparkling clean and organized, they may look so great that you don’t want to mess with them. In this case, consider paper plates. I know, it sounds cheesy but bear with me. If you use paper plates just some of the time, it can save you a lot of your precious time. For example: for weeknight meals, when you have friends over for a casual get-together (i.e., watching a movie, not a dinner party), any time you have something better to do after dinner than the dishes. For the environmentally-minded, there is a whole range of paper plates made from sustainable materials (Whole Foods sells “dinnerware” made of wheat straw).
Be ruthless in keeping your countertops clean and clear.
What’s on your kitchen countertop? Once the dirty dishes are clean and put away, the mail is read and recycled, and your keys are near the front door, take a good look at what’s on your kitchen countertop. If you use it less than a few times a week—like that juicer that seemed like such a good idea two years ago—put it away. Better yet, sell it or give it to someone who actually likes beet juice.
Whether you are a gourmet cook or just really skilled at heating up pizza, your countertop is the workspace for most of the meals you eat. Give yourself a clean slate to do your magic.
A clean counter, clean floors and especially a clean sponge: these will make your days and nights a bit easier and a lot more comfortable. If the kitchen is the heart of the home, make it clutter-free and a relaxing place to come home to each day.
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