Spring Cleaning and Organizing-KITCHEN edition!

The kitchen is the heart of the home for many people. It is also a space that collects paperwork, devices, and crumbs! Giving your kitchen a spring makeover is a great way to enjoy this space even more!

There are a couple of ways to divide the tasks necessary to conquer your kitchen. I find that by approaching the organizing portion first, the cleaning bit comes right along for the ride.

Start with the area you think needs the most work. For our purposes, let’s begin with the refrigerator. Start by taking the hose attachment of your vacuum, (a Swiffer duster works great, too), and clean out the vent under the bottom of your fridge. There is usually a vented panel there that is easily removed. Getting rid of dust, pet fur, and dirt helps your fridge to run more efficiently. If you are really motivated, pull your fridge away from the wall and get behind it and really clean the floor back there. Once that is done, make sure your counter or table space are free and clear of any and all unnecessary items, then wipe this surface clean. This will be the staging area for the contents of your refrigerator. Get out your favorite basic cleaner (and there are so many great smelling and earth friendly products out there to chose from), be it Windex and paper towel, or a bucket of soapy water and a rag; either will do. Next, remove EVERYTHING from your refrigerator and set it on your clean counter. Once your fridge is empty, either remove shelves and bins and clean in the sink, or wipe them down where they are. Once the interior is clean, take each item from your counter, check the expiration date (and toss if necessary!), and wipe it down before putting it away. It helps to keep all “like minded” products together (ie, cheeses, vegetables, condiments in similar areas). Keep a small tally of the items you are tossing, in case you want to replace it the next time you grocery shop. Once your fridge is done, conquer the freezer, and even your food pantry and other areas where you store food. The process is exactly the same.

In keeping with appliances, check your microwave. Clean the interior and exterior, if necessary, and don’t forget that if you have a microwave that is mounted above your stove, there is often a removable filter underneath that can be soaked in a solution of dish soap or vinegar and water, then rinsed and replaced.

Stovetops and ovens really attract the crud over time. Give that surface a real good clean, and don’t forget to remove the drawer at the bottom (if you have one), and get all that stuff that has collected under your stove (I always find a treasure or two under there). Cleaning the interior of your oven is important, but it isn’t advisable to run the “clean” setting while you are in the room…save this for the end of your time in the kitchen, or when you are spending time in another room of the house.

Cleaning above your cupboards is a real pain in the butt if you have a space up there. I always make sure I’m not home alone during this task, as I’m leaping around the top of the counter and on and off a ladder, and sometimes I get overconfident. If you do have to dust or clean up there, here is a trick. Get some newspaper (even paper towel works), and lay them on top of your cupboards, then if you have decorations (some people have plants, antiques, etc), set them on top. When cleaning, you simply have to dust the decor, and replace the paper. It is much easier than trying to degrease and dust the entire surface.

Cupboards that store cooking utensils, dishes, and flatware are usually pretty easy to clean. Once you’ve removed all the objects and given the interior a good wipe-down, put all the items back in, excluding those extra gadgets you’ve accumulated over the year and have never used. Remember the “four bin” trick from the CLOSETS edition? Use that same idea to rid yourself of kitchen clutter. We’ve eliminated a ton of gadgets, and even stopped buying them, knowing that a good, sharp knife can do most kitchen tricks! I’ve found that a mixture of warm water and Murphy’s Oil Soap is great for wiping down the fronts of the cupboards and cabinets. It is effective and smells great.

Give the sink, counters, and floors a good clean, and you are done. If you are anything like me, you are so inspired by your clean kitchen that your next step is to make a large (and rather messy) meal! Enjoy!

Next up-Spring Cleaning and Organizing-BATHROOM edition!