Arguably, the kitchen is the heart of the home. We cook there, eat there (hopefully as a family), entertain there, chat at the table, do homework, and any number of other family-related things. A disorganized kitchen discourages us from doing the above; we don’t want to cook and eating will likely then take place in front of the TV. We don’t want to entertain others or sit and chat because the clutter distracts us and makes us feel ashamed of not keeping things in better order. So let’s get to it!
Please understand that this room CANNOT be done in one day or in one chunk of time. I’m willing to bet it took more than one day for your kitchen to look the way it does—so it will take more than one day to un-do it. Be patient and attack these different tasks in small chunks of time—small steps! You’ll find that as each one is done that you’ll be motivated to do another and another. And then when it’s all done, you’ll not want to mess it up, and so be motivated to keep it organized! Oh happy day!
1) Unload your dishwasher. If your dishwasher is full of clean dishes and not put away, you won’t have a place to put your dirty dishes as you clean up. If you don’t have a dishwasher, take a look at your sink. If you’ve got clean dishes in your dish rack, put them away now. Then move your dish rack to the counter and put an empty dishpan under the sink. You’ll see why as we keep going.
2) Take a look at your countertops. Are they piled high with papers, dishes (dirty), and appliances (some you haven’t used in weeks or months)? Are they stained (underneath the stuff on them)? Let’s clear off one countertop at a time. Pick your smallest one and clear everything off. Put it on a table or other surface where you can go through the things. Put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher (or dishpan under your sink), go through the papers (junk mail = trash can, bills go to the study, etc.). Put the other miscellaneous things you’ve found in separate piles to be schlepped to the appropriate rooms where they belong. Then look at the naked countertop. Take a cleaner of your choice (I love the Lysol disinfecting wipes, but you could use a spray cleaner, a bleach cleaner, or simple window cleaner) and a rag and start wiping from back to front. Sweep the crumbs in to the garbage can. Now put only the things which are *necessary* back on the counter. That means no excess paperwork, no hairbows, etc. If you need space for a coffee maker or other small appliance, you now have it!
3) Move to the next counter and repeat the same steps as above.
In Part Two of Organizing Your Kitchen, we’ll take a look at the next round of steps to create a kitchen you’re proud of!
About the Author:
This article provided by Terry Lowery courtesy of www.kitchen-remodeling-guide.net
So you’ve survived the cleaning of your counters. Great! These next few steps will require an honest look about your kitchen and an honest appraisal of your culinary skills and commitment to cooking. Not if you will cook, but how you will (or do) cook. Remember to use small steps!
4. If you have a dishwasher (or dishpan under your sink) and it’s now filled with dirty dishes, now is the time to get it running. Put the detergent in and set that baby to “pots & pans.” It uses more water, but if your dishes have been sitting for a while, they’ll need the extra strength of that cycle to get sparkling clean. You don’t have to use the dry-cycle—it eats up energy and makes your dishes too hot to handle. When the dishwasher is done, open the door and let the dishes cool *briefly* before putting them away. Do the last step quickly—if you keep the dishwasher empty when the dishes are clean, you’ve won a large portion of the battle to keep your kitchen organized. If you have a dishpan that’s full of dishes, move the pan up to the sink and start washing. Dry them quickly and put the dishes away—then move your dishpan to its spot under the sink for collection of future dishes.
5. Take a look at your kitchen appliances on the counter (or up above the cabinets). Do you have too many things that you hardly ever use, but collect dust and kitchen grease? Take an honest assessment of what you have and when you last used the item(s). If you haven’t used it in a while or don’t plan to use it in the near future, donate, sell, give it away, or pitch it. Take a look at the cast-iron skillet you have but haven’t used in God-knows-how-long. Useful, yes. In your life? Maybe not. Be honest and be brutal. You’ll end up with kitchen appliances that you love and that are useful, not clutter.
6. Now look at your sink. How grimy is it? Take a good steel wool soap pad and scrub that bad boy out! If you’ve got a porcelain sink, don’t use a steel wool pad, but do use a gentle abrasive.
If you don’t have a cleaner on hand to do it, sprinkle a good portion of baking soda on your sink and use a wet rag. Rub the baking soda paste (created with the water from the rag) in circles and when you’ve completed the whole sink, rinse the remainder down the drain. Regardless of what type of sink you have, once you’ve given it a good scrub, pull out the window cleaner and a dry rag. Shine up the faucet and inside of the sink (if it’s chrome). Dry it all out and your sink will shine! I dare you to put a bunch of dirty dishes in it after that!
Okay, in Part 3 of Organizing Your Kitchen, we’ll look at fixing up the larger areas like cabinets, appliances and floors.
So now you have cleaned off counters, only the appliances you need and love, and a shiny sink. You are on your way! Remember—small steps get the jobs done!
7. Take a look at your cabinets. Are they clean? I’m not talking about the insides (yet!), but the outsides. If they have built-up grime on them, take a cleaner and rag and wipe them down. You’ll be amazed at how different they look and how dirty that rag will be!
8. Now let’s talk about the front of your large appliances. Fingerprints are fingerprints—it doesn’t matter if it’s on an avocado-colored refrigerator or a chrome-colored one. Take some window-cleaner and 5 minutes on each appliance and spray ‘em down. Wipe them clean, and don’t forget the small crevices where crumbs hide. Remember—you’re not doing the insides, just the outsides! Hit the refrigerator, the stove, the dishwasher, and anything else that “fronts” in the kitchen that I might not have mentioned.
9. Now take a look at your kitchen table & chairs. When was the last time you washed them down? Is there food stuck to them that is of questionable origins or dates? This will probably take more than 15 minutes, but take a rag and a bottle of cleaner. Spray the chair from the bottom rungs to the seat and up to the top. Let it stand for 2 or 3 minutes and spray down the next chair. Go back to the first one and start rubbing with the rag. You’ll be amazed at what comes off and how clean the chair becomes! Repeat each step until all the chairs are done. Then spray down the table legs. Same procedure—spray, let it sit, rub and wipe. Now your chairs and table are clean enough to eat off of!
10. Take a gander at your floor. Dismal, huh? Start small—sweep it with a broom and dustpan. Move the things that are up against the wall, but don’t feel obligated to sweep with your toothbrush. In other words, don’t obsess about the crevices—do the best you can with a regular broom. Sweep in to small piles to make pick-up easier and transport the dirt & crumbs to the trash can. Now take out a mop. I don’t care if it’s a rag mop, a sponge mop, or a Swiffer ® mop. You don’t have to mop like your mother did—just wet the floor with a cleaner and wipe up the dirt. Remember—even chores that aren’t done “right” (according to how you were taught) but are *done* still bless your home and your family! Let your floor dry and take a break.
In the fourth and final segment of Organizing Your Kitchen, we’ll do some major decluttering. Ready?
By now, the surface areas of your kitchen are clean. Just a few more steps and you’re done in this room!
11. We’re gonna get down and dirty here: under your sink! Most people keep cleaning supplies under there; some keep garbage cans, and still others, appliances. No matter what’s under your sink, tackle it! If it’s cleaning supplies, look and see what you’ve used and never used and what’s just dried out and old. Pitch what you don’t use, won’t use, or is old. Organize your cabinet in the way that’s best suited to you—what you use the most up front, what’s less-frequently used in back. If you don’t have a dishwasher, remember to leave room for your empty dishpan to collect dirty dishes.
12. Next is your dish cabinet(s). However many of them you have, you probably don’t use everything in them. Be brutally honest here: if you haven’t used it recently, you probably don’t need it. And I’m certain that if you offered it to someone else who was just starting out, they *could* use it. Consider looking up a Freecycle group in your area (http://www.freecycle.org) and joining. It’s free and keeps things that still have life in them (but no use in your home) going around. Pare down to 8-12 place settings with your dishes; serving dishes are necessary, but no one needs 7 serving dishes that are the same size. If you’re cramped for space, consider how much more relaxed you’ll be when you open your cabinets and can actually FIND what you’re looking for! Organize your shelves in the way that best suits your family needs—it doesn’t have to be perfect, just useful.
13. Hit your spice cabinet next. I recently went through my spice cabinet and was shocked at how much I had (duplicates!) and didn’t use—and I’m a born-organized person! Pitch what you don’t use or is out of date. Consolidate in to smaller bottles, if possible. Use lazy-susans if applicable to your cabinet space.
14. Finally, go through your appliance/baking cabinet. If you don’t bake cheesecakes, why keep the springform pan? Do you have 12 cookie sheets? Three or four is as many as one family needs—even if you have two ovens, each only has 2 shelves. One sheet is on one oven shelf, so 4 would max out your ovens. Do you have broken appliances? Pitch ‘em! Put what you use in front, and things used less-often towards the back, but still in reach.
Whoo hoo! Now your cabinets are organized! And by now, your entire kitchen should look as if it’s had a mini-makeover! Congratulations!