Summer time is a perfect time to clean your kitchen out. When warm summer days and evening give way to cool Autumn temperatures you will want to have your kitchen organized and ready to easily bake cookies, hot cider, and a litany of other classic fall recipes. Here are some quick and easy ways you can make sure your kitchen is in tip-top shape.
Kitchens usually have windows and appliances that have the ability to shine. If yours don’t, start by taking down all the window coverings and cleaning them. Throw the curtains in the laundry, take the hose to the mini-blinds, and send the draperies to the cleaners.
Now get out a window cleaner or mix water with vinegar or ammonia (about 1 cup per gallon of water) and clean those windows and other shiny surfaces. Don’t forget light fixtures.
This may seem a strange place to start if there is a lot of clutter or dirty dishes, but the sparkling windows can put you in a better mood for serious cleaning.
Now empty the sink or dishwasher and rinse them out. As you clean out the kitchen, you will be finding things that need to be washed. Fill the sink with hot soapy water.
Start with one counter and start working your way around the outside of the kitchen. Clear all the visible clutter from the flat surfaces. Once the flat surfaces are clean, wipe them down with sani-wipes.
Use trash bags and the box method to sort the clutter. Separate the clutter into several categories; things that go to other people, things that go to other places in the house, and things that will be discarded. You might need a recycling box or separate boxes for some of the categories. Use containers that are easy to carry so you can empty them as soon as possible. Put all the papers in one box for sorting and filing later.
When you complete the circle go to the middle of the room if there is a table or other flat surface and spend time decluttering that area.
By this point you should have a good amount of dishes to wash. Wash them or run the dishwasher as it fills. Stack them to air-dry and fill the sink again with hot soapy water for the next round. You will want the surfaces empty for the next step.
Start with one cupboard or shelf and work your way from one end to the other. Pull everything out and get rid of things you won’t use.
Get rid of any food that is past its label date, anything that might be stale, and anything you’d have to think about before serving it. Toss it! If you’re not sure now, by the time you get around to it, you will be. YUCK! Write items on your grocery list as you go if you want to replace them.
Get rid of old cleaners that you didn’t like or that you don’t use. If the container is full, you may be able to donate it or put it on a yard sale, otherwise, dispose of it. Some of these may be considered hazardous waste, so try to be careful. Don’t hang on to things that could hurt your family if you don’t use them.
Move extra pots and pans and serving dishes into storage. Choose those that you actually use to store and pass the extra along to someone who will use them.
Rinse shelves and drawers with a damp sponge or rag and reline if needed. Return only those items that actually belong in each cupboard. Prior to returning items to the cupboard, make sure shelves are wiped down with Clorox germicidal wipes. Sort the cupboards into areas or categories so you will be able to find things.
When you are finished with the cupboards, move to the appliances. Wash each appliance inside and out.
This will require pulling everything out of the refrigerator. Get rid of anything that might be questionable and any empty containers. It might be a good time to get out the shopping list and write down what you will need to replace.
Clean the microwave if you have one. Most have instructions, but if not, use a mild cleanser-baking soda and water is pretty mild. You might want to boil a cup of water in the microwave to loosen up any dried on food. Rinse thoroughly.
Whether you are using something with strong fumes, just letting something soak in or using the self-cleaning feature on the oven, you should leave the room during this time so you do not inhale toxic fumes. Clean off the outsides of the appliance first, and then apply any cleaner. While the oven is soaking or burning, get those boxes you used for decluttering and put everything away.
If you really push yourself, you may even have a little time to rest here. Take a few deep breaths and finish the oven. Use a scrubber or brush, then wipe with a wet cloth to rinse. Any cleaner left in the oven will create fumes the next time the oven is on so make sure you don’t leave any.