I have made many mistakes in the kitchen and the main reason was often lack of organisation. Here are my tips on how to keep your kitchen tidy and clean at all time even if you are lazy and messy. These simple tips helped me feel like such a perfect housewife when I’m really not ! I personally do not like to spend a lot of time cooking and cleaning and these tips I share with you today helped me achieve my goals : cook healthy meals in less time while having a clean kitchen.
1. Always start with a clean and clear kitchen
That might seem weird but to keep your kitchen tidy, you have to start with a clean kitchen. I have made the mistake many times in the past and always ended up not being able to work in a busy dirty environment. You will lack space and organisation resulting in a waste of time and energy.
First thing first, de-cluttering. It’s pretty much always my number one advice on this blog but it fits perfectly. Having clear counter tops will give you more work space and ease your cleaning process. You will not have to clean each item that has spilled food on it or move everything around in order to wipe. Of course, it doesn’t mean you can’t have anything on your counters, just have less. It should look more empty than cluttered.
My tip is to have items in trays. That way, when I wipe my counters, I only have to move the trays around. This allows me to display a few items but doesn’t add to my cleaning time.
2. Clean during timeout
I recently became obsessed with the cooking show Top Chef. It’s the 10th season here in France and I just got into it. One thing I straight away noticed is that any time a contestant would have a messy/dirty working space, the chefs would call him out about it. Always clean while you cook. That’s a mindset my mum always taught me and it felt great to hear it from the best. It might seem obvious but we can get carried away while cooking, especially since we are not pros.
Cooking means you have some dead time. Your meal is in the oven ? Or in the blender for 2 minutes ? Use any bit of time to put away your ingredients, wipe the counters, spills or even clean the dishes. Make sure not to burn your food, use your time correctly but your kitchen should be pretty tidy by the end of your preparation.
3. You spill you clean
Same philosophy as the tip above : clean while you are cooking. Get the habit of having a sponge or a cloth nearby to quickly wipe any spill. Not having to do everything at the end of your meal or day will make the process so much easier and more enjoyable. Cooking doesn’t have to be hard and cleaning doesn’t have to take forever each time.
Also, cleaning any spill as you go will assure your appliances, jars, cabinet doors etc to always stay clean.
4. Always finish with the the dishes
After you cooked a meal and enjoyed it, the last thing you want is to go back to the kitchen and clean for sure. But thanks to the tips above, all you will have left to clean are the dishes you used while eating. A few plates, glasses and cutlery, that takes just a few minutes.
Again, my tip to stay efficient with my time while in the kitchen is to clean the dishes before serving the dessert or while I am making the green tea I always have after a meal. Just 2 minutes while the water boils is enough to clean the dishes.
5. One last clean of the counters and stove
It always feels like closing a store after a long day when I leave my kitchen after a meal. The dishes are air drying on the rack, all my utensils and ingredients are back in place, all I need to do is a quick clean around the counters and the stove. These 5 last minutes in the kitchen will set me up for success when I come back for the next cooking session.
At the end of the day, I spend less than one hour in the kitchen for each meal, sometimes barely 30 minutes depending o what I’m cooking. But anytime I didn’t follow my own advice, I regretted it. Everyone is different and each home has its own system. Find what works for you and stick to it. Having a routine and applying it on the daily will turn those habits into reflexes. Everything will be easier, quicker and more enjoyable. After all, the kitchen is the heart of the home, so treat it with love.