My Secrets to Always having a Clean Kitchen While Being a Full Time Working Mom
How badly do you wish to have a clean kitchen at all times. A kitchen that you don’t have to scrub down all the time, that just seems clean and tidy with little effort?
Ya’ll, I dreamed of a clean kitchen like this. My kitchen is the most trafficked room in the house. The door we use to enter the house is in the kitchen. So is the back door. We walk through it to get to the laundry room. The dining room is connected to it.
Our guests see the kitchen right away when they get here. So the stress of needing a clean kitchen and not having it sends me over the edge.
5 Steps to a clean Kitchen
I work 40 hours a week. With all of the things I am responsible for at home, I barely have time to bathe myself in the evenings.
My Obsessive Compulsive behavior leaves me absolutely disheveled if I can’t keep an area clean in the house. I become so stressed out about it that my day to day life and my family suffer.
I used to spend most of my time cleaning the kitchen. Literal hours were spent on the kitchen during the weekends. I would wake up at 4AM to get it cleaned before everyone woke up just to have it destroyed again by 10AM.
Every free second I had was spent tidying the kitchen.
I would see everyone else in the world post pictures in their neat and tidy kitchens. Not a speck of dirt on one cabinet and I would think “how in the world do they do it?”. I just don’t have the time. What is their secret?
I am going to share the secret with you, friends, because I figured it out.
My kitchen was absolutely overrun with “stuff”. My kitchen is the family drop zone, its where the dogs eat, it’s where I feed the Crossbeaks and it is the main place we gather as a family.
So things like bags, school work, medication, etc. were always out on the counters and on the dining table.
My counters held the appliances I regularly use, fruits and vegetables, bread, eggs, a spice rack, paper towels, and so on. The cabinets were overflowing with things I didn’t even use but I couldn’t let go of due to the trouble I have with decluttering. The refrigerator had tons of papers on it and 10,000 magnets. Even the top of the fridge was full of random stuff.
Even though I craved a clean kitchen at all times, my reality was far from it.
Visual clutter- Refrigerator
Visual clutter, to me, is the “stuff” you see everywhere. Too much stuff on a shelf or too many pictures on a wall.
Things on the fridge is a really good example of visual clutter. My brain associates clutter with mess. So seeing the fridge full of magnets and papers all of the time always had me on edge. It never occurred to me, though, that I could just remove all that stuff and leave it empty.
I took everything off of the fridge and tossed out the magnets that were meaningless. I like to get magnets in each state that I visit, so I’ve got quite a few like that so I kept those, but the ones for radio stations and things like that were tossed.
On the side of the fridge, I put all the magnets, where I can see it, but it isn’t in plain view to everyone else. I keep important papers there and a magnetic calendar that I fill out with our schedules and meal plan for the week. It is sort of like a command center for the family.
Doing just that simple thing made a huge difference in the visual appeal to the kitchen.
Now, having the front of the fridge clear, I can easily just wipe it down and move about to the next task. I no longer have to pull everything down to put it where it goes and then wipe it down. It saves me a lot of time, believe it or not.
Visual Clutter- Counter Tops
My counter tops were the worst. They held everything. All the things I use regularly were there. The stuff was wall to wall in some places.
Seeing all that clutter just made it look messy all the time. And trying to wipe the counters down was a task and a half because I would have to move everything to get under them or behind it all. A simple task of spraying and wiping became a thirty minute game of stuff shoving.
I decided to take almost everything off of the counters. I wanted to be able to just spray, wipe and go. But what do I do with all of the stuff?
They went into the cabinets beneath where I use them. However, in order to put them in the cabinets, I had to get rid of a lot of things I didn’t use.
About six garbage bags and boxes later, I have clear counter tops. I have my instantpot, can opener, toaster, rice cooker, air fryer, Ninja blender and kitchen aid mixer all in the cabinets now. I even took my knives out of the knife block and put them in a drawer. When I need them, I just pull them out, use them and then put them right back. They are all easily accessible and easy to put back up.
The craziest thing I realized, though, was that I didn’t actually use these items as much as I thought I did. Leslie was distraught at the thought of putting the toaster in the cabinet. But since I’ve moved it, no one has even pulled it out to use. It’s been over a month.
It takes me about 45 seconds to spray and wipe down the counter tops now.
2. create a home for everything
I know it sounds cliché, “a place for everything and everything in it’s place”, but the things that we are naturally putting down in the kitchen should have a home in the kitchen.
I was stressing about everyone always dumping their bags on the coffee counter. No matter what I did or where I hung hooks for these things outside of the kitchen, no one was using them. I wasn’t even thinking to use them.
Under my coffee counter is a couple cabinets. They used to be full of the animal things, like meds and leashes, and appliances I rarely used. Since I had decided to declutter the kitchen those cabinets were also decluttered. This left me room to designate a cabinet to hold our bags. So now instead of the bags piling up on the counter, they can easily be tossed right in the cabinet.
Even if we don’t put them in there immediately, I can very easily walk over to grab and toss the bags in. It takes me about 10 seconds to do.
The same concept was used for mail as well. Where we throw the mail down, I designated a proper spot for it there. Bills that we have to pay is in a bin labeled “Bills due” and is where I can easily see it so it’s not forgotten. When I need to file and take care of it, I can grab it all and do it. But in the meantime, the visual clutter is gone.
3. Create a routine
A good daily routine is key. I’m not going to even lie and say that it is easy to change long term habits. It is not. In fact, it’s pretty hard. You have to change your mindset and find the motivation to change your habits for good.
Want a Freebie? Use my free morning and evening cleaning routine printable as a guide to get you started on your journey to a more peaceful home.
Want one you can fill in yourself? Here you go.
It takes 30 days to create a habit, right? In hindsight, that’s not very long. 30 days to change your life sounds pretty reasonable.
Having a clean kitchen relies on having clean habits. When you’ve cracked an egg, don’t just throw the eggs shells on the counter or in the sink. Properly dispose of them now and save yourself cleaning time later.
Set a time where you will wipe the counters down, every single day. Don’t skip a day and let the grime build up. Do it now while it’s easy. That could be right before you turn the lights out to go to bed or right after you pick up leftovers. Just designate a time to do it every day. The same goes for sweeping the floors.
Small things every day makes such huge difference. Get into the routine of doing all of the kitchen chores daily. Your decluttered kitchen will be easier to clean and take up significantly less time to clean. Set a timer and see how long it actually takes you to do each chore. You’ll feel silly when you realize that it only took you a minute and a half to wipe down all your cabinet doors, yet you put that chore off constantly because you don’t want to do it.
Pretty soon, your routine will be habit and you won’t even realize you’re doing it.
4. Find ways to make cleaning your kitchen easier
There were so many things that I was doing wrong when it came to cleaning. I was wasting so much time doing things that had quicker alternatives. Like using a bunch of different cleaning products when I truly only needed one or two. I didn’t have a daily routine and I certainly didn’t have a specific approach to cleaning.
I hadn’t learned little ways to bypass spending countless amounts of time on one thing. My mom hated cleaning, so she rarely did. When I moved out I became obsessed with keeping a clean home. But that obsession didn’t lead to time management skills or tell me what the most productive approach was. I had to learn that on my own. You’ve got to figure out what works for you and your family.
5. Do the dishes
Here is some tough love, now. Do the dishes. Everyday. Don’t go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink. Dirty dishes make the entire kitchen look dirty.
Waking up in the morning and walking into a dirty kitchen immediately changes your whole mood for the day. You haven’t even had your coffee yet and you are already overwhelmed with everything you have to clean.
Doing the dishes at night takes away one task from the next day. It doesn’t matter if the load is small, do it anyway. Dishes literally double with every meal you serve. The time it takes you to do a batch of dishes from one day isn’t even comparable to the amount of time it will take you to do two or more. Instead of washing for ten minutes you are now stuck for thirty or more, and then you don’t have room to dry it all.
I don’t even feel like I have to mention how hard it will be to scrub the days old food off of them, either.
If you use a dishwasher, load it up every single night and run it. Even if the load is super small, think about it like this- that super small load is all that has to be to picked up when it is done.
If you try anything from this post I hope it will be this tip. Doing the dishes made the biggest impact on my kitchen. I was always pretty good at keeping up with the dishes, but I was convinced that I shouldn’t start the dishwasher until the load was full. It seemed wasteful and that is the last thing I wanted to be.
Then I learned that it takes less water to run a dishwasher than it does to hand wash a load of dishes.
That hit me hard because the dishes would sit in the dishwasher until I ran it and when I needed them, I would have to hand wash them.. So technically, I was being wasteful letting them sit there.
A Clean Kitchen is More Attainable Than You Realize
Don’t worry, friend. You’ll get there. The initial process might take time, but the end goal is so worth it.
I no longer spend my entire off day cleaning the kitchen just for it to get dirty again. Cleaning my kitchen takes me no time at all because it is now set up to be clean. The kitchen is my favorite room in the house, now.
Try it out. If you have questions or need advice on decluttering or organizing your kitchen, I would love to help you out. Send me a message!