Cleaning the Kitchen: The Heart of Your Home

Whether you’ve decluttered your whole home or not, life goes on. No matter how hard we try, things get dirty. Things get cluttered. Why? Because we live in our home. Marie Kondo makes it sound as if once we’ve decluttered, cleaning is a snap. I haven’t found that to be the case.

Our homes are not these static places we make pretty then shut the door. They’re dynamic. Even if a bomb has gone off in your house, or it just looks like it, cleaning the kitchen is the key to kickstarting a feeling of relief. This is as close to waving a magic wand over the rest of the house and watching it transform that I’ve gotten.

Take a Page From the FlyLady

Even before I read the FlyLady’s blog and ordered her book, Sink Reflections, I noticed when my home had gotten out of hand in terms of cleanliness and orderliness, the kitchen is where I gravitated. No matter the state of my bedroom or the living room, if my kitchen was a disaster, that’s where I needed to go first.

The FlyLady takes this to a more specific place: the kitchen sink. Which makes sense. I always tried to start in a corner of the kitchen, which happens to be my oven. But, if my sink was full of dishes, I found myself needing to deal with that first.

Step 1: Empty your kitchen sink.

Dishwasher full?

If your dishwasher is full, then you’ll need to put those dishes away. Then you’ll have space to fill it back up with what’s in the sink.

Don’t have a dishwasher?

If you don’t have a dishwasher, and you have to do everything by hand, FlyLady suggests getting a bin for them. Just so you can get them out of the sink.

Step 2: Clean your kitchen sink.

FlyLady has a recipe for how she cleans her sink so it sparkles. That’s up to you if you want to take it to that level. Personally, this is what I do:

  1. Spray with some vinegar and water, or whatever cleaner you have at home.
  2. Use a scrubber to get all the crud off.
  3. Make sure you give the drain a good scrub. If it’s a garbage disposal, swipe the metal ring inside the disposal, the part just above the rubber flaps. I give those rubber flaps a once over too.
  4. Turn the water on and run the garbage disposal for a few seconds.
  5. Dry off the inside and outside of your sink: sink, edges, faucet.

I don’t know what it is, but drying down the sink makes me feel like this is a real adult’s house.

Step 4: Plan Your Attack: Are You Methodical or a Chaos Hunter?

I find I like to attack rooms by starting in a corner and fanning out. I think that’s because I know how easy it is to skip over things. But that’s up to you. Feel free to go corner to corner, or maybe you’d rather fan out from your newly cleaned sink, or maybe you just want to attack at random.

When I have a serious mess - and I imagine with the holidays this could be many of us right now - I attack at random. Whatever’s glaring me in the face more, that’s what I hit: empty wrappers or boxes, food scraps, dirty dishes, receipts. The low hanging fruit.

Step 5: The Rest of the Kitch

How do you get your kitchen clean? Here are the things you’ll likely encounter and how to clean them. Focus first on the basics, which is just getting things clean on the surface. Later you can do some Supercleaning.

The Basics:

  • Oven: Clean the top.
  • Counters: Spray with cleaner then wipe them down. If you have things that live on the counter, wipe the counter space underneath them if you can. Give them a quick clean if needed.
  • Floors: Sweep.
  • Trash: Take it out.

That’s it!

You’re done!

Enjoy that breath of fresh air.

Should You Declutter While You Clean?

The idea is to get your kitchen back to a feeling of sanity. Should you declutter as you go? If it feels good to do that and things you want to declutter are right there as you clean, then go for it!

But if you think you have to, which then makes you not want to clean the kitchen at all, then no. The goal is to reclaim your kitchen. A cleaned kitchen is easier to declutter I’d say. Focus on one goal at a time. Give your brain a break.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cover photo: Jessica Ruscello / Unsplash