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We lead such busy lives these days don’t we? Trying to balance work, family life, housekeeping, social lives and all the other things in between. It is no surprise that for a lot of us, cleaning becomes difficult to stay on top of and quite often drops lower in our list of priorities.
As a result, I am constantly on the lookout for ways to simplify my home and my cleaning routines to make life easier. If I am not able to give the kitchen a good scrub everyday – it doesn’t matter – I maintain the basics and to the untrained eye it looks clean enough to get me through to a day when I have time to give it a proper going over.
The biggest game changer for me was completely overhauling and decluttering my kitchen. Once the sides empty and the surfaces no longer covered in clutter, cleaning became a breeze. I now implement the following strategies to maintain an acceptable level of clean which allows me to deep clean much less often.
You might also enjoy…8 Tips For an Organised and Decluttered Kitchen
When you are cooking, tidy as you go. Once you are finished with a plate or utensil, swill it and stick it in the dishwasher (or wash up as you go if you don’t have one). Wipe down the sides and put things away as soon as you have finished using them.
Very rarely do you actually need to let things soak. Unless you have burnt food on a pan, a quick swill will clear off most food debris. Leaving things to soak is just putting off the inevitable. Likewise, with a full drainer – dry the dishes and put them away straightaway. The sink and drainer will need cleaning, so get it all done in one hit.
Quite often, people forget about their sink and draining board. They will do the washing up, leave plates stacked on the drainer, empty the sink and walk off while it drains often leaving wet food debris everywhere. Once the dishes are away and the sink is empty, give it a wipe down. Lift the draining board and do under that too.
When your sink and draining board are clean, dry them with a clean tea towel to avoid streaks and watermarks appearing. Damp and wet surfaces are a breeding ground for bacteria and requires more effort to clean up later. Wring out your cloths and sponges and put them where they can fully dry too.
Is your kitchen a drop zone? Do you dump the mail on the breakfast bar and leave the remnants of today’s lunch on the side? For me, when hubby gets home he will leave his keys, wallet and work mobile on the kitchen side by the back door. I now have a small basket in one of the cupboards for this stuff when he is not using it, and hooks for the car keys. Find everything a home and put it away straight away or the clutter will accumulate.
I hoover the kitchen daily as we have a dog who sheds a lot, but I don’t mop it every day. It takes about 30 seconds to hoover and instantly makes the floor look cleaner. Mopping everyday just is not realistic or practical for me with the dog and the baby as the kitchen is poorly ventilated so it takes ages to dry. I try to clean the floor once a week, but just keeping on top of the dog hair and crumbs makes it look cleaner, even if it isn’t.
I am terrible for forgetting to do this, but try to keep your noticeboard up to date (likewise if you stick things to your fridge with magnets etc). Not only do lots of bits of paper look messy, but if you’ve got a noticeboard full of expired vouchers, or appointment cards that have been and gone, receipts you no longer need and the calendar is still on July (guilty haha) it doesn’t really fit the nice, organised image you want to give off!
You would think this one would go without saying, but we have been guilty of not doing this in our household. Quite often, we would be rushing to make the baby a bottle and get powder on the sides or the milk will spill a bit and we wouldn’t clean it up straight away. Leaving things until later just creates work and a sense of dread.
The image of a clean and tidy kitchen is instantly ruined if you’ve got a grubby tea towel staring at you. Put it in the wash and get a fresh one out after use, or like me, hide it inside a cupboard on a hook.
#cleankitchenatnight Give your kitchen a blitz before you go to bed, there is nothing worse than waking up to last night’s dishes and an overflowing bin. Waking up to a clean kitchen will start your day more positively and make it easier to manage as the day goes on.
Obviously doing these things doesn’t replace the need for a deep clean, but it allows you to keep it at a stress-free, acceptable level of tidiness so that when you do come to deep clean, you spend less time dealing with things that you could’ve saved yourself from doing.
I started Katie Saves while on Maternity Leave to document our adjustment to living on less. Now back in work - I blog about all things money with a little life organisation thrown in for good measure. Join me!