O.k., a self-cleaning kitchen is impossible. But wouldn't it be nice to have a kitchen that cleans itself? Well, I don't think we're going to see that this year, anyway. However, there are lots of easy things that we can do to make a clean kitchen a reality.
Keep the countertops as clutter-free as possible. If you've ever splashed spaghetti sauce or made a cake, you know that spatters and crumbs can fly everywhere. The more stuff you have on the counters the more things you have to move in order to wipe them up.
Limit the number of decorative items, storage canisters or appliances that are on your counters and your kitchen will not only look neater, it will be easier to clean!
Decide what belongs in the kitchen. Some things definitely belong in a kitchen (like a cookbook) and some things don't (like your son's gym shoes). Just because your kitchen has an abundance of countertops doesn't mean that you should pile everything on them. Be a kitchen-snob and don't allow items to "live" there that don't belong.
Clean up before you sit down to eat, if at all possible. Picture yourself making lunch. Do you get all the sandwich fixin's out and then leave it out while you're eating? If you get an item out, put it away when you're finished with it. You are less likely to want to clean up your mess after you've eaten.
Clean up after every meal. Do you leave your breakfast dishes and lunch dishes until dinner time? If you do that, you are compounding your dinner cleanup. Instead of one meal's cleanup, you are doing three. If you don't want to clean up after one meal, do you want to clean up after three meals?
Clean as you go when making dinner. While you're making dinner, soak any utensils or dishes/pans you've used in the sink. The suds will help loosen any food before it gets hardened on. If you have any free time while waiting for something to boil or bake in the oven, begin loading up the dishwasher and wash any items that need to be washed by hand.
This way, the only items that will need to be cleaned after dinner are the glasses, dishes, utensils used and the serving dishes. I try and do as much cleaning before dinner as possible. Even if you can't get to the dishes right away, the sudsy water will practically do them for you!
Wipe up spills or sweep up messes when they happen. Don't wait until something hardens like concrete before you clean it up. If you're cooking dinner and the sauce splashes on the stove, wipe it up! If you spill something on the floor, clean it up immediately (this is also a safety factor).
I would much rather spend seconds wiping up a counter (or floor) ten times in a day than to spend hours on the weekend trying to scrub up all the stains that have hardened, wouldn't you? Your elbows and knees will thank you.
(Note: This post was taken from my archives as I am taking a vacation this week!)
Please come back tomorrow for Part Two! (Click here for part two)
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I am linking this post to We Are That Family and A Bowl Full of Lemons, also: