Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Cleaning the Kitchen: A Breakthrough


Tuesdays have long been my days for giving the kitchen its weekly once-over. I've just had a couple of problems with this task: 1. starting it, and 2. finishing it.

Today though I had a breakthrough. The job "Cleaning the Kitchen" is not actually a task: it's a series of short tasks! Each less than five minutes. I can do these one at a time, without stopping in between, and end up with a Clean Kitchen, and without feeling overwhelmed.


Here's my list, arranged in an order that works for me, so that I don't get clean things dirty (note that I start with a *tidied* kitchen--dishwasher emptied, dirty dishes washed or put in the dishwasher, food put away, and countertops generally cleared):

Dust the ceiling fan and light fixtures.
Wipe down the vent hood and warming shelf.
Clean the stovetops and fronts of the ovens.
Wipe out the microwave and wash the glass plate inside.
Wipe out the compost cupboard and change the paper liner under the bucket.
Clean the tile shelf behind the sink.
Quickly wipe the cabinet doors.
Wipe all the countertops and pop the soap dish and scrubber holder in the dishwasher.
Vacuum.
Mop.
Clean the sinks.

All of these things take less than five minutes and are *so* much easier to make it through than starting to Clean the Kitchen.


20 comments:

jenny_o said...

A good approach for any big job, actually ... I appreciate you sharing this idea as I am often overwhelmed by the scope of certain tasks.

Rose said...

I know this principle! I apply it to dusting flat surfaces, a job I find very tedious, so I treat each flat surface as one in a "chain" around the room So in the living room "Japanese black unit", end tables, entertainment unit, yarn cupboard, coffee table.

Margo said...

ha, yes! This is why my kitchen is never clean all at the same time - I do these 5-minute tasks when I need a filler task. I actually blogged about this once - a list of the 5-minute tasks I typically do while waiting for a child, talking on the phone, waiting for a cooking task to complete. . .
Love the photos of your hard-working kitchen!

Lisa said...

Anna, this is it! It takes forever to clean the kitchen, esp. if I'm doing all these "other" things. There's been a little voice in the back of my mind trying to tell me that I needed to have a list of sorts with each thing I have to do on it; I knew this list would make it all better, but I never sat down and wrote it up. You have done the work for me!!

with gratitude, Lisateresa :D (it's everything if you just know clearly in your mind exactly what it is you have to do!)

julie said...

Well, it sounds like we're all in good company--those of us who look at a messy room (I won't mention the fact that usually there's more than one messy room in my house at any given moment) and feel our poor little hearts pitter-pat. I like your list and philosophy, and shall try to apply this today!

We are homeschooling, too, and trying to have different church folks over once a week on Thursdays (which seems to be the best day for most people), and I find Wednesday/Thursday to be overwhelming because of this--when to teach?! when to clean?! when to cook?! when to be nice to my children?!

I suppose leaving long comments on blog posts does not fall into any of these categories... :)

Kathaleeny said...

I completely love this idea. I like to see a list checked off. I'm going to copy your list and edit for my own kitchen. Thank you for this brilliant idea that is such a no-brainer.

Jennifer said...

Thanks for this! It is always helpful to see the tips and tricks that others use to
get through these daunting tasks. There are a few on your list that I haven't actually
done in an awfully long time! Maybe I should print it out for reference!

Fiona Ferris said...

Thank you Anna, this may solve my procrastination at getting these kinds of jobs done. As always, you are both practical and inspiring.

ALoadofOldTat said...

Great approach. I need to do this once a week and not try to do it every day.

K. Anne said...

That is so helpful...thank you!

What products do you find "tried and true"?

Kristin said...

You once wrote about that with the help of your kids, you could do the full kitchen deep-clean in about 15 minutes. That idea has stuck with me for years, and now I have kids old enough to participate in this. In fact, it has inspired Family Service Hour in our home, where everyone pitches in for one hour to get some of the deep-cleaning/gardening projects done. It has changed my life!

Thanks for the inspiration!

Anna said...

K. Anne--I generally use a bottle of homemade cleaning spray (water, white vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils), mop with a shot of dishwashing liquid and a drop or two of essential oil in a bucket of hot water, and scrub the sink out with baking soda. We've gotten the vast majority of commercial cleaning chemicals out of the house. Although I did pick up a bottle of Mrs. Meyers' Radish Surface Spray last week. It feels like a real indulgence.

Anna said...

Rose, I share your feelings about dusting. A tedious chore. But what caught my eye was the presence of an entire yarn cupboard in your living room!

Rose said...

Not an entire yarn cupboard Anna, a small cupboard with the current season's wool/cotton for knitting purposes, the remainder of the stash is in the bottom of the linen cupboard. :)

Celeste Kostyniuk said...

Thanks for the tip! May I ask - what is the device pictured in the photo above your dishwasher?
Thanks, Celeste

Anna said...

A citrus squeezer!

Celeste Kostyniuk said...

Oh! That's a new one for me! Thanks.

Fiona said...

Wow! I feel good if I just get the kitchen bench cleared and wiped! ;) (Since I've been catering for four different diets we always seem to have a surplus of foods that just won't fit in the pantry).

Anna said...

Fiona, I know how complicated it gets to cater to different food needs. Good for you for handling four!

james abram said...

I also experience the same problem everyday. When cleaning the house, I'm excited to start cleaning it but usually ends up not finishing the task. Well, I'm very thankful that I saw your blog. Your tips are really helpful. By the way, do you have an advice for using cleaning chemicals?

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