When I take the time to assess why my kitchen is a mess, it comes down to one reason, and a consistent checklist of things that need to be done.
The reason is, I run out of “oomph” halfway through jobs.
The checklist is as follows:
- Empty, fill, and run the dishwasher. Check other rooms for dishes, and hand-wash what’s left.
- Recycle and throw out empty containers, food waste, etc.
- Take the recycle and garbage outside
- Put away food packages
- Re-home things that don’t belong in the kitchen
- Wipe down the counters, stove, sink, and table
- Sweep and mop.
It starts out innocently enough…
Dishes accumulate when the dishwasher is full and waiting for dirty dishes to be run or clean dishes to be put away. Or the sink is too full and I can’t hand-wash those delicate dishes.
Empty containers accumulate, usually because the recycle or garbage needs to be taken out and there’s no room for the milk carton, or because I’m not heading that way, or I need to take a few seconds to cut the box top off first, or the container needs to be rinsed for recycling, or (let’s face it) kids empty packages and leave them laying around…
Food packages are either groceries that need to be put away or ingredients that got taken out in meal prep and didn’t get put back.
Things that don’t belong are *usually* left by my kids (toys, craft supplies, socks (yuck!), etc.), but sometimes it’s me sitting down at the kitchen table to dump out my purse, or setting things down on my way into the house, or sitting down to process the mail… and then when it’s time to eat dinner, we simply shift the mess to the counter rather than putting it all away. Because, let’s face it, the family is hungry!
The counters need wiped down because of spills or crumbs in a well-used kitchen, but a cluttered counter is hard to wipe down. So sometimes I need to scrub, soak, or bleach. I would say dust in an un-used kitchen, but if the dust can reach the counters, it wouldn’t really qualify as an out-of-control kitchen, now, would it?
As you can see, pretty much every piece of an out-of-control kitchen fits into this list. I have it in a colorful checklist on the refrigerator so that when I get tired of the accumulated mess, I look at the checklist and take it one step at a time, without feeing overwhelmed.
-Focus on one thing at a time. Don’t get distracted and bounce around.
-Finish the list. Trust me, you’ll feel so much better, and your kitchen will look 1000% better!
Then, in a perfect world, you keep it that way. Spend 15-20 minutes each night so you don’t have so spend three hours before company comes pretending you don’t live like a slob. In a perfect world.
(As soon as the counter was clean, it was time to make lunch… So of course THIS snuck in… But fear not! I put it away! *pats self on back*)