Guest post By: Organizational Specialist Rosemary Flannery
After being cooped up all winter, we are finally beginning to see some signs of Spring with ‘heat wave’ temperatures of 40-50 degrees F. It makes me want to open the windows and let out the cobwebs, but especially bring in the sun which I find so energizing.
If you live in a sun-filled house like mine, the light can really enhance a space, but on the flip side, it can also spotlight areas that may be in need of a spruce up. When it comes to Spring cleaning, we think of changing color palettes and fabrics or clearing closets and storage spaces — generally trading the cocoon feeling for an open, airy one. One room that is sometimes neglected in this rejuvenation is the kitchen. We use it on a daily basis and probably don’t think too much about changing décor or clearing out. However, because of its constant use, dust, crumbs, and expired food, among other things can be found on appliances, moldings and inside cabinets. You don’t have to live with these elements for long if you put this room on your cleaning list.
I know. You’d rather go to the dentist than deep clean your kitchen. It doesn’t have to be drudgery. Put on some music, gather your supplies and pick a corner to begin.
I recommend working vertically. Start with those hard-to-reach places: moldings, upper cabinets (interior and exterior) ceilings and lighting fixtures. The cabinets, in particular, may be housing items you rarely use, so it’s important to handle each item and make a decision. Similar to clearing a closet, have large trash bags at the ready for items that cannot be recycled, repurposed or donated. Have another container for things to be given to a thrift shop or food pantry.
Start at one end of the cabinets and work your way around the room. Take everything out and evaluate. Do I use this? Do I need this? Most importantly, Do I love this? If you don’t love something you are stowing, maybe it’s time to cast off. While the spaces are empty, vacuum and then wipe down with a damp cloth and vinegar (add essential oil to minimize the smell) or an antibacterial wipe. For stains, try a paste of baking soda and water; let it sit a few minutes and then wipe. Once it dries, you may consider lining cabinets and drawers with shelf paper to keep surfaces clean.
If you live in a small space as I do, you may want to reevaluate the placement of your items. Things you use daily should be front and center accessible. Items you use only for special occasions should be relegated to upper cabinets or out-of-the-way spaces, so they don’t take up the valuable real estate at ‘within reach levels.’ Keep counters clear and remove items you don’t use – it will give the space air and feel uncluttered. Instead of a knife block, consider a magnetic knife strip that can be wall or under cabinet mounted. Try this RSVP Endurance Deluxe Magnetic Knife Bar, 10″ $15.95 on Amazon.
Make zones – as things go with like, e.g., coffee and tea related elements should be positioned near your kettle or coffee maker. Corral spices, condiments or food wraps in one place using containers on the inside of cabinet doors like these items from Amazon. Grayline 40232 Deluxe Wrap Rack $12.53, and Bellemain Spice Gripper Clip Strips – Set of 3, Holds 12 Jars $7.95.
Some of my favorite organizers that make use of space you may not realize you have- the Under Shelf Basket and Add-A –Shelf. Both allow you to put unused vertical space to good use. (N.B. These items are not exclusive to kitchen use. Try them in closets, bathrooms, or garages). Also use clear containers for flour, salt, sugar, tea, batteries, etc. so you can see what you have in stock and prevent overbuying. This version has chalkboard labels so you can mark the contents. Quality Canister Set Of Set of 3 Clear Glass Round Chalkboard Jar with Tight Lids for Bathroom or Kitchen – Food Storage Containers $ 34.99
If your pan lids, baking pans, and trays are out of control and hard to access, consider this trick from Apartment Therapy: buy a tension rod to create supports to separate and tame these pesky items. Better Houseware Large Organizer White $9.94
Now that you have finished with the storage areas, it’s time to tackle cleaning the appliances. Make sure you consult your user’s manual to insure you are not harming the surface with abrasive cleansers. I make a conscious effort to not use toxic chemicals, so I use a mild liquid soap like Dr. Bronners with a soft, damp cloth for cleaning appliance surfaces. I use cheap vodka to clean my marble countertops (a bartender tip). Boil a bowl of water with lemon slices in the microwave and grease and food stains will wipe off in a snap. A light wipe of olive oil will keep stainless steel bright and shiny. Try keeping an arsenal of Borax, baking soda, cream of tartar, white vinegar and a few essential oils on hand instead of environmentally unfriendly supplies. Not only will your house smell better but also your lungs will thank you!
The last part of your deep clean is your floor – it has probably taken a beating this winter especially if you live on the East Coast. Again, check with your floor manufacturer for any special cleaning directions. Otherwise, after you have vacuumed or Swiffered your floor and moldings dampen a mop with warm water, white vinegar, and a citrus essential oil. Most dirt should come off easily especially after you rinse. For stubborn scuff marks, make a paste of baking soda and water, let it sit a bit and then wipe off. While you’re waiting for the floor to dry, put your feet up and binge watch or read a magazine. Reward yourself for a job well done!
Now that you have gone through the process of Spring-cleaning to organize your kitchen, why not schedule regular “sweeps” to maintain cleanliness and order. The kitchen is the center of life in the home, and with some regular attention and maintenance, it’s easy to keep it functioning and operating at top capacity.
- Rosemary Flannery. All Rights Reserved.
Here is another tool that may keep your children clean: