Once or twice a year, most of us have to face the inevitable music and bunker down to do a deep (and absolutely necessary) kitchen clean, where we pull out all of the pots, pans, and silverware to really get things spotless where it counts. Any busy homemaker knows, however, that keeping a clean kitchen is no easy feat. A well-utilized kitchen is constantly in use, with family and friends constantly dipping in to take a bite, pour a glass, or just contribute to the mess by way of pesky crumbs on the counters.
Each New Year brings an opportunity for a happier and cleaner household, and a more harmonious household can be achieved simply by keeping up on some daily maintenance. The stuff that you do the rest of the year to keep your kitchen clean and enjoyable can be done everyday with just a few new incorporated habits. Ready to keep your kitchen cleaner on a daily basis? Here are 10 Tips for a Harmonious Kitchen This Year (and perhaps a more harmonious you!)
1.) Empty it out
This is a simple tip, but immensely effective in helping to keep your kitchen clean while you cook (and on a daily basis). Before you start cooking, make sure your sink and your dishwasher are empty. That way, you can load messy dishes right away instead of leaving them to sit in your beloved kitchen overnight, or even for a few days…
2.) Just keep cleaning
Another simple tip to keeping your kitchen consistently clean? Clean as you go. Take any spare seconds or minutes during your meal preparation to rinse any dirty dishes or throw away unneeded food scraps. With an empty sink and dishwasher at the start of your meal prep, cleaning as you go will be even easier.
3.) Clean your sink
After washing the dishes and loading them into your dishwasher or drying rack, clean the sink. With a soap of your choosing (anything that smells delicious), use warm water and a sponge to rinse your sink after every dishwashing session. This will keep your sink clean and smelling fresh, and dishes won’t get extra-greasy or dirty as they sit. Keeping a clean sink is a cleaning habit that’s good for both your kitchen and your state-of-mind.
4.) Keep up on cookware maintenance
Once a month, try to take some time to do some maintenance on your cookware and knives. Have any burnt-on stains or rust spots on your stainless steel pots and pans? Or have your knives gotten a little rusty, or do they need to be honed? It’s a good idea to take stock of these items once a month or so, and address any cookware issues before they get out of control and take up more of your time than they should.
5. ) Oil your cutting boards
Once a month, oil your cutting boards or your wooden spoons. It will only take 5 minutes of your time, and will save you time and money by lengthening the lives of your wooden cookware. You’ll need to replace these items far less frequently if they are well cared for.
6.) Get the right tools
Acquire the right cleaning tools for your kitchen, then keep them close by. Nothing is more frustrating than getting in the mindset to do a little cleaning or maintenance work, only to discover that you either don’t have the right tool or have no idea where in the house it could be. Pare down to the essentials, then store them neatly under the sink, in an over-the-cabinet door rack, or in a pull-out drawer.
And only keep what you really need! Nobody benefits from ten different kitchen cleaners clogging up their precious under-sink space.
7.) Clear countertops, clean countertops
Messy countertops, or even just cluttered countertops, can make even a beautiful kitchen feel untidy and claustrophobic. The alternative? Clear and clean countertops, which feel invigorating and inspiriting, and practically invite you to cook on them. A messy kitchen can make you feel like your kitchen isn’t ready for you, or take away the creativity that should go hand-in-hand with cooking. Try clearing a few items off your countertop, and you’ll be sure to feel the instant gratification.
8.) Get your trash right
Make sure that your trash and recycling containers are big enough for your kitchen and family size. Nothing is more chaotic and messy than an overflowing trash can or recycling bin, so its an important step to make sure you have space to take care of all of your unwanted throwaways.
9.) Develop good habits, and stick to them
With all cooking inevitably comes cleaning, but how long and how much you clean for all depends on your cooking habits. Once you develop good cooking and cleaning habits, you’ll find it much easier to repeat the steps everyday and pave your way to a cleaner kitchen. You can teach an old dog new tricks when it comes a clean kitchen, so don’t be hard on yourself! Organize that refrigerator, de-clutter those countertops, and make a mental or physical checklist during kitchen cleanup. Soon you’ll find your new kitchen habits are easy to keep and make for a happier, healthier you.
10.) Love your kitchen
Enjoying your kitchen means paying attention to the things that make you happy, and dealing with the things that frustrate you so you can create opportunities for improvement. Your kitchen means your rules, so don’t feel bad if you just have to have that pink refrigerator or you spent your weekly budget on some really expensive ingredients. You shouldn’t have to apologize for the way you cook, clean, or feed yourself and family. If it works for you, it works for everyone.
So what if your friends make fun of you for that thrift store painting above your stove? Or if your favorite crock pot only cost you $10? If you’re open to new ideas, tips, and techniques, you’re guaranteed to a happier kitchen overall. Love your kitchen, love yourself! Now thats a New Years resolution we can all get behind.
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