Simple Steps to a Clean, Organized Kitchen

If you’ve read any of my posts at all, you know that this blog is not written by a woman who has it all together in any way, much less in the clean-and-organized department.  My grandmother helped raise me, along with my dad.  I am the only girl with two younger brothers.  Can I get a shoutout from a sister who knows where I’m going here?  Of course, I was in charge of cleaning the hard stuff, like the kitchen.  If you’ve ever seen most little brothers (or husbands, for that matter) clean, you know that even the least cleaning-oriented of us do a better job and often have to redo their jobs anyway. Whenever my dad came home yelling about the dirty house, the yell was directed at me.  Weren’t there three of us?  Anyway…I will let that bitterness go for now.  Back to my grandmother.  In two of the houses we lived in, we didn’t have a dishwasher.  Unless you counted me.  My grandmother had already raised herclean dirty dishwasher sign own nine children by the time she came to stay with us, so she said she would cook, but she was not going to clean up the mess.  She had already done that for too many years.  What she would do is put the dishes in the sink with extremely hot water to soak.  When I would go to wash the dishes, my hands would be scalded and I would complain, whine, whatever.  She would tell me to just put some cold water in.  There was no room!  She had filled the sink all the way to the top with hot water!  No matter the difficulty, though, the dishes were most often my job.

What does my childhood hardship (first-world problems) have to do with simple steps to a clean, organized kitchen?  Just this:  when I do clean, I still find myself drawn to doing the kitchen first.  I don’t like it any more than I ever did, but a clean kitchen still gives me the greatest sense of satisfaction.  Because I dislike it, though, I have to have an easy routine.   I even want to change up some steps for the New Year.  This post is not going to tell you how to clean a kitchen.  Hopefully you already know that.  I just want to share a few things to make it less torturous.  So here goes–

Simple Steps to a Clean, Organized Kitchen

 1.  Empty the dishwasher before cooking.  Here’s the deal:  I use up every dish when I cook.  When I’m done cooking, the sink is overflowing.  Mind you, I have a dishwasher.  It’s just that the dishwasher is still full of clean dishes, so there’s nowhere to put the dirty ones, so there’s nowhere to put the ones I am currently dirtying…and so on.  My new goal (and hopefully yours) is to empty the dishwasher at least before I cook and end the madness!  

P.S. to Tip 1–Because I sort of wait to unload the dishwasher, sometimes I forget whether the dishes are clean or dirty.  I have made you a printable clean dirty dishwasher sign to put on the front of your dishwasher.  Here’s how to use it–cut the sign in half, taping the two sides back-to-back and facing up.  Laminate it or use packing tape to fake-laminate it.  Punch a hole in the top.  Attach a command hook to the front of your dishwasher, and hang the sign.  Now you never have to smell your dishes…

2.  Never own a single-purpose appliance.  Though I love homemade bread, both the smell and the taste, I refuse to own even a free, hand-me-down bread machine.  (Thanks anyway, Mom.)  What I will own are two slow cookers.  I can do my famous coffee punch (recipe stolen from Adron Gilley) in one and an awesome soup in another.  My waffle maker can make not only waffles, but those amazing brownies and cinnamon rolls in a waffle iron I’ve been tempted by on Pinterest.  If I find I’m not using an appliance, I give it away.  (Like the Magic Bullet that my husband re-bought…don’t get me started.)  The ones I do keep are  neatly organized above a label in my pantry.

P.S. to Tip 2–Even your cookie jar can be multi-purpose.  I made this taco soup for dinner tonight and had a lot left over to freeze for later.  My cookie jar is great for filling gallon-sized bags.  I simply line the cookie jar with a labeled gallon-size bag, like I would line a trash can, and pour in the soup.  The jar stays clean, and the bag doesn’t flop everywhere when I’m trying to fill it.  Genius!

3.  Make it dummy-proof for those who are helping you clean and organize.  Ha!  Well, in case the other people using up the dishes would ever like to help.  Anyway, I got tired of being asked where things went in the cabinets when my husband would help me unload the dishwasher, so I came up with a system.  I labeled the base of each cabinet with what went there.  I even labeled the silverware organizer.  This is also handy for me if I have accidentally taken NyQuil during the day instead of DayQuil and am in a fog…oops.

 What is your favorite least-hated room to clean?  Any kitchen cleaning or organization tips?  Share them here.

And remember, Jesus cares about it all, even your organization.  Forget why?  Check out this post.

Happy cleaning and organizing!



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