Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday Motivation: Cleaning and Organizing The Kitchen

If you've been following this blog for awhile, you're familiar with Monday Motivation. Monday Motivation was a prompt to help you clean and organize your home - one room/area at a time. By the end of the year, we had gone through the entire house (including the car) and purged, sorted, and organized. I've decided to include these posts, once a month, for those who want to continue through their home again. I'll be doing this in my home too.


originally posted in February 2011

We'll be breaking down the kitchen tasks into different categories:
1. Appliances
2. Cabinets
3. Drawers
4. Counters

Today, we'll start with Appliances.

First, the stove.
1. Take everything off of the stove.
2. Follow the manufacturer's directions to clean the oven/stove inside and out. Be sure to remove knobs, if possible, and clean the surface around them. I usually let them soak in the sink that is filled with dish washing detergent.
3. If you have a canister or crock filled with kitchen utensils, empty that container into the sink as well, letting all of the utensils get a well needed soaking.
4. After you have cleaned inside and out of the stove/oven, spray the outside of the whole thing with Sparkle cleaner and polish. Don't forget the doors, sides, and bottom drawer of the appliance.
5. Now, place everything you removed back onto and into the appliance and you're done.
6. Don't forget to clean the range hood too!

Next, the microwave:
1. Fill a bowl with water and lemon juice or vinegar. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Leave the bowl in the oven for 5 minutes with the door closed.
2. If your microwave has a removable tray, soak it in your suds filled sink.
3. With a wet dishrag, wipe down all surfaces of the microwave. Don't forget the roof of the oven and the inside of the door. (some manufacturers recommend that you unplug your oven before wiping it down)
4. Replace anything you took out.
5. With Sparkle cleaner, spray a cloth and wipe down the whole exterior of the oven, being very careful around the touch pad. Don't spray Sparkle cleaner directly on the touch pad.

1. Unplug the toaster.
2. Remove bottom crumb tray and dump crumbs into the trash can. If you have a toaster that doesn't have a crumb tray, simply take the whole thing outside, turn it upside down, shake the dickens out of it, and let the birds eat the crumbs.
3. Carefully wipe down outside surface. If you have a toaster oven with a glass window or door, use sparkle cleaner to clean that. If you have baked on residue, you might want to use a Mr. Clean Magic Sponge to get rid of it.
4. Always leave your toaster unplugged when not in use to avoid a fire.

Coffee Pot:
1. Follow the manufacturer's directions for cleaning your pot. There are too many varieties out there to follow one set of directions.
2. I've included directions here if you want to know how I clean mine.

1. Again, read your manual for specific directions. Most dishwashers are pretty self-cleaning if you know what I mean.
2. On the outside, use Sparkle cleaner or your own preferred cleaner to wipe down the outside of the door and touch pad/knobs. Also, open the door and wipe down the sides of the door.
3. I've noticed that since I've switched over to making my own detergent, I have much less residue around the gaskets on the door.
4. Take this time to check to see if you need to refill the rinse agent container. I use white vinegar, but you might use something like Jet-Dry.

Refrigerator: I've saved the biggest job for last

Since I've posted this job before, I just decided to link to it so you can read it if you're interested.


Wow, my kitchen really had a work-out this weekend. We had a large family lunch on Saturday to celebrate our son's birthday and a visit from our oldest daughter and her family from Boston.

I cooked all day on Friday to make it easier on Saturday when I had a whole house full of company. We had homemade pork BBQ with homemade BBQ sauce and Carolina vinegar, homemade coleslaw (with homemade mayo), homemade potato salad, and a wonderful homemade chocolate turtle cheese cake for dessert. The only thing I didn't make from scratch was the sandwich buns.

We enjoyed the leftovers after church yesterday and today I'm faced with a disorderly kitchen. I just didn't have the energy yesterday to put all of our "party" supplies away. Thankfully, mornings are usually a good time for me physically, so I thought I'd photograph how I whip my kitchen back into shape in a short amount of time.

So, this is what I woke up to this morning. It's not really too, too bad, but it needs work.

Dishes in the sink, clean dishes in the dish drainer, flowers that need fresh water, extra crock pot sitting on the stove, good times.

Here's another view. Hubs didn't know what to do with the empty flower vase or iced tea pitcher, so he left them next to the sink.

Here's what I did to clear off the surfaces.

1. Knowing I had several items that needed to be returned to the Party Pantry, I designated a spot to gather all of those items together.
2. I loaded dirty dishes into the dishwasher.
3. I emptied the dish drainer and put the clean dishes away.
4. I washed (and dried) the breakfast dishes and other items left on the counter.
5. I put the unneeded vase into the donation bag sitting near the front door. (I'll probably drop that bag off today when I'm out running errands)
6. I wiped the counters and appliances down.
7. I packed up the leftover muffins (in Tupperware on top of toaster) and put them into the freezer.
8. I ate the banana for my morning snack - a girl's gotta get her vitamins, you know.
9. I put the flowers on the dining room table. I want to make a different arrangement out of them later. If I do it now, I will most certainly get distracted and not get my kitchen work finished.

This took a total of 12 minutes and here's what I had when I was finished.

I filled the sink with clean, hot water and added some dish detergent.

Now that the exterior is in order, I want to spend some time going through the inside. I always start at one end of the kitchen and work my way around the room. I usually do the upper cabinets first and then the lower cabinets. There's no magic method, this is just what works for me.

This is the cabinet over my stove. I keep extra supplies here that I don't use very often because I have to use a step stool to reach it (I'm only 5 feet tall).
I had a few extra dishes, some canning supplies, and a small box my daughter made for me in 1998 to hold my tea bags.

I took everything out of the cabinet, wiped down the interior of the cabinet and only put back the items I wanted to keep. The canning supplies need to go with my other canning items and the special box is going in the pantry with the other tea containers. *By the way, when we moved into this house, the range hood was almond colored. I painted it black to match the other appliances.

Next up, the spice cabinet. I always like to keep items near where they are used most. Since I stand at this counter when I cook, I placed all of my herbs and spices here. I've used a combination of turntables and graduated shelves to keep them accessible.

I took everything out, one shelf at a time, wiped down the shelves and the turntables and graduated shelves. I was able to consolidate some spices (I don't know how I end up with two sometimes), throw out one bottle that was past it's prime, and jot on my grocery list a few that are getting low. I used to keep my spices alphabetized, but now I keep them categorized by how often I use them. The most frequently used spices are on the lower shelves. Refills are on the top shelf.

Next to the sink and close to the fridge is the cabinet where I keep the glasses and coffee cups. Most of my blue glasses are in the dishwasher, so this is a good time to wipe every thing down. The top shelf contains my collection of amber glassware. Some of it was my grandmothers, but I've been collecting pieces of it whenever I find some.

I followed the same directions as before, removing items shelf by shelf and wiping everything down. I found two coffee mugs we haven't used in a long time and I'll be donating them today to the Salvation Army. I also repaired some shelf liner that had come loose. You may notice that these cabinets are in pretty bad shape. The cabinets were handmade 30 years ago by the man who owned our house before us. Although I appreciate his effort and talent, the cabinets are warped, splintering, and too small. Some of the doors don't even shut completely. I'm just making do with what I have until we can remodel the kitchen one day.

There's not much change in the before and after picture of the cabinet under my sink. It is what it is. I keep my cleaning supplies under there, an extra roll of paper towels, and a few cleaning rags. I did remove an overflowing pile of rags from the top shelf and I'll be taking them to the garage. I have no need to keep a dozen cleaning rags here.

This is another lower cabinet. I keep small appliances and large Tupperware and cake carriers here.

This cabinet is right next to the stove/oven. I keep my baking pans, cutting boards, and glass measuring containers here. The extra shelf really helps with storage. I also use a vertical stand to hold my cutting boards and 9x13 pans upright to save space. I forgot to take an after picture, but the only thing I changed was moving the 9x13 lids to the Tupperware drawer. I only use them when I freeze casseroles, not for everyday baking (keep what you use closest to you and store the extra elsewhere).

This cabinet is next to the fridge. It's very deep but it does hold a lot. Within easy view and reach, I keep mixing bowls, Pyrex storage containers, Tupperware, and sippy cups for the grandchildren.

One of my friends gave me this basket many years ago (thanks, Cathy). It makes a great drawer for my Tupperware. We do tend to "throw" stuff in there and it needs to be weeded out.

I took everything out, matching lids with containers. I threw away a few things and reorganized what was left by size. I have a small basket within the basket that hold lids and itty bitty containers. We are slowly moving over to only using glass containers, but in the meantime I'll have to use the plastic.

I wiped down the shelves, repaired some more shelf covering (I use clear packing tape), and labeled a couple of the baskets. I love these sturdy plastic baskets/bins. They're only a few bucks at Walmart and they are great for shelf storage. I keep glass Pyrex storage containers with their lids in the top one and I just slide it out like a drawer whenever I need to access one

So, with an hour and a half of work and a few tools. . .

(labeler, clear packing tape, cleaning rag, and a sink full of hot, soapy water)

. . . I have an almost clean kitchen (I'll have to finish the island tomorrow when I have more strength) and I was able to remove this much stuff that was just getting in my way. Some goes elsewhere and some gets donated. Good Times!

So, did I scare you off? I hope not. I hope you'll spend a few hours going through your kitchen. Let me know how much stuff you were able to get rid of! We can have a "show & tell".


I was happy to hear from several readers about how they've been working on their kitchens. I have to admit that I was a bit slack this past week and didn't get around to finishing my kitchen. Two special visitors stole all of my attention. I couldn't help myself.

I promise to get back on the wagon this week and finish everything. For those of you who are a step ahead of me, I've got your Monday Motivation ready to go.

Cleaning Kitchen Drawers
1. Take everything out of a drawer (unless you're revamping your whole kitchen, just do one drawer at a time to keep from getting overwhelmed).
2. As you remove each item, decide if you want to keep the item or not. When was the last time you used it? Do you have more than one of those items? Is it broken?
3. Vacuum the drawer and wipe clean with damp cleaning rag.
4. If you use drawer dividers, place them in the drawer.
5. Replace items into drawer. If you have a choice, place the most used items closest to the front of the drawer for easy access.
6. If you have utensils or items you mostly use for entertaining, cookouts, or picnics, you might want to keep those items in another place so that they aren't in your way when you're cooking everyday meals.

Cleaning Counter Tops
1. Remove items from counters.
2. Wipe down counters. While you're at it, wipe down the back splash as well. Also, check underneath your upper cabinets. You might be surprised what splashes up there when you're not looking.
3. As you return each item back to it's place on the counter, clean the item first. Also, think about what you are placing back in place. Do you really need that item taking up space on your counter top? Could you store it someplace else. Remember, the more you have on display, the more you have to clean.

For other ideas about cleaning your kitchen, check out these past posts:
Cleaning your sink
Cleaning your cabinets
Cleaning your cutting boards
Original post about cleaning out your kitchen drawers

If you've had some success cleaning and organizing your kitchen this month, share your good news with all of us.


So, happy kitchen cleaning this month.  Let me know if you get stuck or have any questions and I'll help you through it. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting the Kitchen Monday Motivations! I'm hard at work this month going over every inch of my kitchen. It's much easier and more enjoyable this year! Thank you again!


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