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It’s time to clean the kitchen. Here are eight ways to get organized, remove bacteria and germs, and create a kitchen you’re proud to look at.
1. The Pantry
Time to take everything out. Uncover the unused canned goods that may no longer be any good and toss them. Grab the handheld vacuum and get all the tiny chip crumbs that have been hiding on the top shelf.
Consider organizing your pantry with go-to items at an easy-to-reach level, while leaving your less used items up high. Take a quick trip to your local DollarTree to grab plastic bins or baskets to separate snacks from seasoning packets and tea bags. Use some of those extra baby clothes hangers to seal and hang up opened bags of chips or pretzels.
2. The Cabinets
Tired of miss-matched dishes and cups? We’ve all been there. Assess your assortment of kids cups, sippy cups, and baby bottles. If they don’t have a matching lid, toss them. If they’re worn or chewed, toss them. Aim to keep just enough cups for the whole family for one or two days. More than likely you are running the dishwasher often enough you won’t miss the excess.
Consider moving children’s cups, plates, and utensils down to a lower drawer or cabinet so they can be part of setting the table and putting their own clean dishes away after the dishwasher cycle finishes.
Use an old magazine file turned on it’s side to keep those too-tall water bottles together and organized without taking too much pantry space (or rolling away).
3. The Cookbooks
Have you saved every cookbook you’ve ever been given? Take a look at your stash and decide which ones you actually use. Donate or give away ones you haven’t touched in the last year. Keep your go-to inspirational or newest cookbook displayed on a countertop recipe book holder. The more you see it, the more likely you’ll use it.
4. The Refrigerator
Instead of covering the outside of the fridge with tons of paper - bills, calendars, and children’s drawings - post them on the inside door of a nearby cabinet with a cork board or magnet board. You’ll still see the items every day, but your kitchen will feel cleaner and more organized with a minimally-covered fridge.
5. The Floors & Baseboards
Have you looked at your kitchen baseboards? Grab some Magic Erases, some warm water with a touch of distilled white vinegar, and your kids. Let everyone scrub away the splashes and gunk that’s been hiding right by your feet.
Take a minute each day to sweep the kitchen floor, or if you have big kids, assign it as a daily chore after dinner. Aim to make mopping (at least your high traffic areas) a weekly event.
6. Under the Sink
Chances are you have some unused cleaners and sprays under your kitchen cabinet. Once you’ve decided what to keep, wipe down the cabinet shelf, line it with a water-resistant shelf liner to protect the surface from drips from cleaning supplies. Keep your most-used items closest to the front. Don’t forget to make the most of the limited square footage by adding a lazy Susan or even a small towel bar (on the inside of the cabinet) to hang up your most-used spray bottles.
7. The Appliances
From the coffee pot to the microwave - small kitchen appliances get daily use. Wipe them down, shake out the crumbs from the bottom of the toaster, and get excited about what comes out! Run equal parts water and white vinegar in your coffee pot, then run clean water through several cycles. Remove the turntable from the inside of the microwave and giveit and the space underneath it a good wipe down. If your blender or food processor is dishwasher safe or hand wash only - take it apart and give it a good wash.
8. The Kitchen Sink
Known as the dirtiest, germiest place in the whole kitchen, the kitchen sink can be cleaned with a few natural ingredients you probably already have on hand. With a little baking soda, water, and dish soap you can have it scrubbed and sparkly in no time. Add a couple drops of your favorite essential oil (like lemon or orange) for a fresh scent.
Kennan is a wife and stay-at-home mom to Jaxson and Caden and soon-to-arrive, Emilyn... and don’t forget Reba the rat terrier. She has a BA in Mass Communication/Journalism from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. She also helps her husband operate their small side businesses Marken Media Co. www.markenmediaco.com and the shirt design company Promise & Oath http://www.promiseandoath.com/.