Friday, August 14, 2015

Three Things to Help Keep Your Kitchen Clean

How are you doing?  Are you ready to start school?  Have you already started?  This is my favorite time of year - maybe it goes back to the thrill of brand new school supplies and the promise of a new school year after a long hot summer.  Remember that?  When summers used to be long?  And remember when you would get a little bored at the end of it?  HA!

Last weekend a neighbor stopped by to talk about mowing our pasture for hay.  Typically if the doorbell rings, the house is clean, we're expecting party guests and they've already called from the road so we can open the gate.  Most importantly: I am ready for them.  On this day, though, the gate was open, which was great - who doesn't want a neighbor dropping in to talk about mowing your pasture?  But alas, the house was in complete disarray.  "Come in, would you like something to drink?" gracious lady of the house wearing sweats and no makeup says, completely mortified and kicking herself for how standards have definitely laxed over the summer.

Humiliation being the great motivator that it is, you can bet housekeeping slipped into high gear as soon as Friendly Neighbor was gone.  Well, I'm not really sure there's actually a high gear on my housekeeping scale, but you know what I mean.  Today I'd like to share with you three things that help keep our kitchen in reasonable working order, no matter how relaxed things have gotten.

Cooking isn't my favorite thing, and coming to terms with that was immensely helpful to making it more pleasant for me.  I wrote }here{ about that, and explored some ways to make cooking more pleasant if it's not your favorite.  Starting with a clean kitchen is key for me, and here are three things that help keep it a little more tidy:

Get Someone Else to Do Your Talking

If I could go back in time, the first thing I would do is go back and teach my children NEVER to put a dirty dish on the counter without looking to see if it fits into the next dishwasher load.  Apparently, the habit to just leave your used milk glass on the counter ingrains deeply in the human brain. We've had family meetings to no avail.  At one point, I taped a sign on the counter asking people to put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher.  Said sign was pretty snarky and was frequently covered with said dirty dishes.  I'm afraid the sad truth is that it will take years to retrain this deeply ingrained habit, but I've recruited help.  When the dishwasher is empty, I put this little guy with the chalkboard that says "into the dishwasher please" on the counter, and more likely than not, people load the dishwasher themselves.  It's a little reminder to check the dishwasher first, and he has a much better attitude about it than I do, which is probably why he's so successful.

Keep One Sink Empty

You know how frustrating it is to come to the kitchen sink needing to wash your hands real quick, only to find that both sinks are full of dishes, and now you have to unload a sink to rinse your hands?  Or maybe you've come to the kitchen to clean it up, but you can't even start that until you empty the sink of dirty dishes.  When one sink is empty and clean, you always have a clear a place to wash your hands or rinse a dish.  This is such a basic thing, but if you don't already do this, you'll be amazed at how much easier it makes kitchen life!  It may take a little time for everyone in the house to get on board with the concept, but it's totally worth it to campaign for an always empty sink!

Use a Microwave Splatter Guard

If you have a house with kids in it, I'm betting you have a well used microwave.  At our house, people are fond of microwaving things laden with oh, say spaghetti sauce, until the inside of the microwave has a lovely red and white polka dot thing going.  Or sometimes they explode hot dogs in there.  Of course the mess is left to be microwaved over and over, because who wants to clean a microwave when you're hungry and there's a hotdog the temperature of the sun waiting for you?  Cleaning the microwave used to be a regular Saturday chore, until we got a microwave splatter guard.  Turns out all you have to do is cover the food to keep it from splattering all over the place!  I got mine at Walmart for under $10 (click }here{ for one on Amazon).  We keep the cover in the microwave all the time, and toss it into the dishwasher or rinse it off in the sink when needed.  The inside of the microwave stays clean - marvelous!

There you go - no rocket science at all here, but sometimes it's the simplest things that have the greatest impact.  Getting new school supplies equals squaring the corners and operating on a little bit tighter schedule around here, and our relaxed standards are about to be left behind along with the triple digit temperatures.  Maybe I'll find that housekeeping high gear after all.

Shared joy is doubled joy ... let's double the joy for both of us - what are you most grateful for today? Click below to leave your comment. I'll go first :

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