Living A Simplified Life!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tackling the Kitchen

Okay, it's Tuesday and no more procrastination!

Let's get up and get that bed made, the coffee brewed and take a quick look at the bathroom and see if it needs a quick touch up. Usually the bathroom and the kitchen are the two rooms in my house that get the messiest and of course need to be more hygienically clean than any other rooms in the house, unless you have people with lots of allergies, asthma or other breathing difficulties.

After you've gotten some breakfast and that cup of coffee, check to see if perhaps you need to get a load of laundry started and if so, throw it in while we get ready to tackle some deep cleaning.

How long has it been since you've really cleaned out that refrigerator? Lets empty everything out, make a pan of hot water and detergent or vinegar (my personal preference) and wash down everything.... walls, shelves, vegetable bins and the freezer. Now you can start putting things back in, stacking things neatly in your freezer, and organize the foods in the refrigerator section. I am sure you are going to find some things in there that you are sure are some sort of science experiment! Organize the vegetable bins. Now wipe down the top outside and all the sides and the door. If you really feel energetic, pull the unit out from the wall, unplug it for a few minutes, grab the vacuum cleaner and clean the coils off and the floor where the refrigerator sits.

Guess what? You just finished the worst part of cleaning your kitchen! Everything else is going to be a breeze. Now preheat your oven to 200 degrees and then turn it off. Now take a bowl of vinegar (white distilled) and set it inside the oven. Now if you are fortunate enough to have a self cleaning oven, just set it to self-clean and let it do it's thing. Take off all the burners, burner drip pans, and rings and set them in the sink with hot sudsy water. While these are soaking, wash down the top of your stove and the front again using a solution of white distilled vinegar and water, a half and half mixture in a spray bottle is wonderful for this.

In my kitchen, the sections where my dishes, glasses and coffee mugs don't get messed up. So I never have to worry about straightening them up but I do need to work on the section where I keep all the pots and pans and baking dishes. So down on my knees I go to dig into the bottom shelves and straighten out this area. This is also the area where I am a pack rat...I have this horrible problem throwing out every empty plastic margarine container, empty large peanut butter jar, and "hodge podge" of glass jars. Now this would not be so bad, if I always remembered to match up covers to containers, but some how I end up with more of one or the other. Now is the time to grab that trash can and be ready to pitch! If you can't match a lid to a bottom.... pitch it! If you can't think of at least 2 other uses where you can use more than 1 size of each item you have saved..... keep one and ditch the rest! You know you buy the same things over and over again most of the time, it isn't as if you won't have more in 2-4 months!

Nest your pots and frying pans and put them up towards the front of the cupboard because you use them often. Why kill your back stretching and stooping every single day to retrieve them out of the back of the cabinet? Hopefully you will have enough room up close to the front to put your favorite casserole dishes and baking dishes. You may have forgotten to utilize the drawer in the bottom of your stove, if you have, you can move things like cookie sheets and bread pans over there, or perhaps you would rather put your pots and frying pans in there if the drawer is deep enough and that is more convenient for you. While you have everything out of these shelves, go ahead and spray them down with your vinegar and water mixture and wipe them out.

By now, the burner drip pans and rings of the stove should have soaked enough that most of any burned on accumulations will come off quickly with a soft scrubbie. If not, then it is time to get out the steel wool pad and apply some elbow grease. After letting everything dry, put the stove back together. Now is the time to wipe down the interior of your oven if it wasn't the self-cleaning model. The warmth and the vinegar solution should have loosened everything sufficiently to make this easy.

By now that load of laundry is ready to go out to the dryer, so get up off the floor and stretch your back really well before you head out to get that tansferred over. You deserve a break and a good stretch!

Now check to see the condition that your pantry supplies are in. Do you have half packages of the same thing in there? are your spices just thrown in there every which way? Cans of everythin all mixed together? Take everything out and put it on the counter. What I like to do is as I take it out of the cabinet, I put like items together on the counter, so that when I am ready to put them all back in, they are already organized.

For my spices, I have two plastic baskets and I sit all my spices in those baskets. When I am cooking, I can just grab the entire little basket out and find what I need and return it to the basket after using it and then into the cupboard. My counter space is at a premium (my kitchen is not that large) so the less I have on the countertop sitting out the better. I also have glass jars that I store rice, beans, spagetti noodles, sugar, macarroni shells, and macarroni noodles in. Those sit on the first shelf above the counter top where I can reach them easily. The shelves are tall enough that I can stack my vegetables two cans high and I keep them together by type.

Take a quick look at your cabinets where you keep your dishes and glassware. Chances are they are fine. If not, it shouldn't take but a minute or two to straighten them up.

I have two drawers where I keep odd sized utinsels that I use for cooking. One drawer has knives in it and I have them in plastic baskets also rather than just thrown loosely in the drawer.
There are some odd ball things in that drawer also, like a tea strainer, potato peeler, and two types of can openers and wooden spoons. The other drawer has all the spatulas, the whip, potato masher, baster tubes, and meat thermometer in it. the drawer between has my silverware and there is a plastic insert to keep everything neat and tidy in that drawer. On the other side of the sink, over by the refrigerator is a drawer with all the kitchen wash rags, new sponges, scuffy pads and dishtowels. And then the preverbial "junk drawer". This has a conglomeration of things in it that I need to throw out! No longer do I use the room plug-in deodorizers, so why do I have like 15 of them in there? The package of picture hanging nails that need to be returned to the tool box but I was too lazy to put back into it's proper place? Good heavens, there is that extention cord that I have been searching for the last month! So see, I'm not perfect and you don't need to be either but if we start making this cleaning part of our routine at least once a month, then we won't be searching for things. Now that everything is straightened up, you should be able to take just a section of this at a time, look inside a cupboard or a drawer and see if it needs a quick straightening up. Now the refrigerator and the stove, you can do general maintenance cleaning on weekly, but at least once a month do what we did today, take everything apart and clean it well. Now you have a spic and span kitchen and you will feel confident coming in to cook every day because everything will be in it's place.

Now I do have some items on my counter top and you probably do also. Your toaster, take and open up the bottom (after you've disconnected it from the wall) and go shake the crumbs out over the trash can and wipe down the counter under where it sits, wipe down the top and sides. My microwave, be sure the top is cleared off of all clutter (we have a tendancy to plunk things down there) wipe down the outside, the inside walls and the rotating plate and underneath it for spills. The coffee pot, wipe down the outside. Now if you have finished that pot of coffee that you made, why not rinse out the basket well of grinds and then make a mixture of half and half water and vinegar (some people prefer to use all white vinegar with no water) and run it through your pot to clean out all the accumulated oils. After running the vinegar though, you will want to run another full setting of water through to get all the vinegar out. Clean out the pot itself, you can use that spray bottle of vinegar and water to clean it up so it shines like new also, being sure to rinse thoroughly.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment and let me know how you enjoyed your visit and express any specific topics that you might like to discuss.