Zone Defense: Cleaning the Kitchen & a Progress Report

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This year we’re on Zone Defense, tackling clutter and disorder. Each month we’re tackling a different zone of home and life. March’s zone was the kitchen.

I told my husband that I could just forget working out. If I simply cleaned our house, I could lose weight and have a cleaner house! You can guess what I did this past weekend. I gave our kitchen the complete overhaul.

My overall goal was a decluttered kitchen, especially with the counter tops. Stuff piled up just really grates on my nerves. And while I need to be practical about what we use on a regular basis and how limited we are on storage space, I really wanted clean surfaces. So, it was with great satisfaction that I took this picture.

Yeah! Mostly clean surfaces. I left out the things that we use almost daily: the toaster oven, the mixer, the knife block, my canister of utensils, salt and pepper, water carafe, hot water pot and our Keurig. Everything else found a home or left the premises.

I had already reorganized the food storage areas and some of my kitchen equipment, but there were still several cabinets to tackle. I didn’t take exhaustive photos of my messes, but imagine this:

and this:

pretty much EVERYWHERE.

My boys are on Kitchen Patrol three times a day. They are the ones who wash and put away dishes, clear and wipe the table, sweep the floor, and wipe the counter tops. I orchestrate their jobs as well as cook and wash the pots. When I feel like it, I mop or delegate that to someone.

Since things have been fairly busy around here and since children are apt to skip over things they don’t want to do, the kitchen needed a deep clean and organize. My dish-putter-awayer tends to just stuff the cupboards and hope the door will close. Despite our numerous conversations about “nesting” the mixing bowls, etc. it still was a hodge-podge.

I love the help and I want to set my kids up for success, so I did a fairly thorough dejunking of the cupboards and drawers. We needed a little more elbow room so that it wasn’t so crucial that everything be put away “just so.”

Much better. I retired the nonstick pans that were losing their coating and am sticking with the Kitchen Aid set that came with our refrigerator. I also moved out several items that I don’t use very often into a “kitchen overflow” box in the garage. Now, there’s lots of easy space to put things away. Baking dishes still need to nest in order to fit, but there’s a little more breathing room. (And there were a few pots in the sink when I took the pic, thus the sparse cupboard on one side.)

I also moved some items like my canning supplies and seldomly used items out to the garage so that they aren’t in the way.

I emptied every drawer, vacuumed it out, wiped it down and dejunked it. The last time I did that was during the Mouse Invasion, almost two years ago. So, it was definitely time. I also did some rearranging:

  • Dish towels are in a drawer next to the sink instead of across the room.
  • The BBQ tools are in a dresser drawer next to the back door instead of in the middle of the kitchen.
  • I took freezer wrapping out of the wraps drawer so I can stop getting upset when folks use a gallon size freezer bag for half a sandwich.
  • I put my cookbooks/recipe notes that I consult daily in a drawer instead of on the counter.

These are small but significant changes to help the flow of our kitchen work. There are more, but these are some that might be more universal than others.

FishPapa joined my efforts in moving the fridge. Yes, really. Ick! I vacuumed and scrubbed this little area while he took care of the coils, etc. Hopefully, it will run cooler now.

I love clean surfaces, especially on the fridge. But, I also need a place to hang notes and reminders. My trick?

I hide the mess on the side of the fridge that folks aren’t likely to see, at least not when they first enter the kitchen. It visually makes the room much more appealing.

Every drawer and cupboard has been emptied, cleaned, dejunked and organized. The fridge top and bottom has been scoured. The counters have been wiped clean as well as the appliances. It’s amazing how nice it feels!

However, I surely wouldn’t have done it if it weren’t for YOU. Thanks for joining me on Zone Defense!

How’s your kitchen cleaning going?

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  1. Oh well, I forgot about this project entirely, but our kitchen is OK. Didn’t get to my recipe collection, though!

    We also hang ‘boring’ stuff on the side of fridge, using a magnetic bulletin board, and have photos on the front.

  2. “I took freezer wrapping out of the wraps drawer so I can stop getting upset when folks use a gallon size freezer bag for half a sandwich.”

    LOL – sounds like my house! I moved the baggies from a drawer to a high up cupboard after my boys used up every single one sorting their rock collection while daddy took a nap.

  3. You did an amazing job! It looks great and I am using a couple of your ideas for my own kitchen. Like you, I only put my necessaries on the side of my fridge. I do find that if I line up all the items – sort of making a neat square or rectangle, it looks even better.

  4. I do the same thing w my fridge magnets and my husband just doesn’t understand (his mother is the fridge-full-of-pictures type). He keeps trying to sneak stuff onto the front. Arg!

    Do you use your salt and pepper that frequently? Some might, but in decluttering our counters (staging to hopefully sell the house ::::fingers crossed::::) I realized that I don’t use them nearly as often as I assumed, so I just put them in w the spices. I still need the salt occasionally besides cooking, but my spices are so easy-access that it’s not a big deal.

  5. This is wonderful. I just happened across your blog, so I am really thrilled to find such a great post first thing. It’s reminded me to get my act together and get spring cleaning! My kitchen is TINY and has next to no storage. And since I’m a cooking fiend, I REALLY struggle to keep it looking good. You’ve definitely inspired me! 🙂

  6. You did great! I really do not want to move my fridge it hasn’t moved in about 4 years when we put new tile on the floor. Can I borrow you and FishPapa to move and clean mine. My hubby and I are kinda scared to go back there. Lol! I hope to take this week to clean out the junk drawer and silverware drawer. That’s all that’s left to do.

  7. I’m slightly shocked that you got it all done in one day! Good for you!

    Today I will finish deep cleaning my kitchen, which has taken, cough, three weeks, cough of once-per-day-thirty-minute-sessions. That was all the time in my day that I had for focused cleaning, so I did a little bit every day. Three weeks! Sheesh, I’m ready to move on 🙂

  8. I was thinking, “Why do you have a C clamp in your kitchen box? Isn’t it dirty?” Duh…
    Our fridge is stainless steel, so we can only put papers on the side. You’re right, it does make it look neater.

  9. You are a brave woman for posting what was under your fridge! I am always scared to move the fridge or stove, but I know it has to be done!

  10. Seriously, I don’t think my kitchen has ever been as clean as yours!!! Wow. I’m sure you will enjoy all that wide open space. Looks fantastic.

  11. Great job!Thanks for hosting.My kitchen is cleaned and decluttered.It looks a lot better.

  12. So inspiring! I need to do some of the same.

    My favorite part of the whole post, however, was the line “I took freezer wrapping out of the wraps drawer so I can stop getting upset when folks use a gallon size freezer bag for half a sandwich.” I SO need to steal that solution to a problem that I thought was only in my house! 🙂

  13. My kitchen REALLY needs this. Thank you for sharing your hard work! It is inspiring… it helps me feel energized to go tackle a pretty messy kitchen in my own house right now!

  14. I gave my kitchen a good cleaning last weekend, but the walls were so bad I couldn’t get all of the dirt (and a lot of crayon) off of them. So I’m going to re paint them. I always put all of my notes on the side of the fridge too. It’s a good way to keep it hidden.