One place in your home that can easily become cluttered is your kitchen. Have you ever come home to a sink full of dishes? Have you ever been frustrated because there’s no counter space for preparing meals? I have some simple solutions in seven habits.
Warning: like everything in the realm of simple living, the seven habits I’m about to discuss require self-discipline. That’s really key to many of our struggles in life. If you struggle with clutter, unhealthy choices, time management, and a plethora of other challenges, it’s self-discipline that might be missing. I know because I’ve struggled with these things, too.
Keeping a clean kitchen requires self-discipline. It’s not hard. It only takes a few minutes a day and a minimalist mindset. The secret is doing these seven habits on a regular basis. The first three habits are daily habits. The second four, well, you’ll see. These seven habits work wonders for me:
A Clean Kitchen Begins With Self-Discipline
1. Do the dishes after every meal: This might seem like a no-brainer, but how many times have you been too lazy to do the dishes after you eat. It’s okay. We all do it from time to time. Still, I’ve learned that doing the dishes after every meal is the best thing you can do to keep your kitchen clean. You might say, “I’ll get to them after I watch the a little TV.” You find yourself waking up in front of the screen at 10:00pm and stumbling to bed. The dishes are still there in the morning, but then you’re too busy to get them done. That’s how it starts.
2. Put the groceries away immediately: When I go shopping, I come home and put the groceries away. I put each item in the place it belongs. If you set bags down and go do something else, you’ll come back to a mess. A mess can be overwhelming. Immediate action is essential to keeping your kitchen clean.
3. Keep up with the counters: I wipe my counters and my table several times a day. This also allows me to pick up anything that gets left laying around. I sweep the floor daily. I take out the garbage as soon as it nears the top. It’s letting these things slide that leads to clutter. Doing these things regularly will keep your kitchen clutter-free.
So now that we’ve discussed the daily habits, let’s look at some long-term strategies for a clutter-free kitchen. This is where minimalism is required.
A Kitchen Remains Clean With The Right Mindset
4. Forego the fancy: Tradition tells us that we need several sets of dishes. One set for everyday meals, another for company, and perhaps a third for the holidays. This is obsessive. Extra dishes and serving trays and silverware all cost money and they take up extra room. One reason kitchens become cluttered is that you have too much stuff. One-third of my kitchen cupboards and drawers go unused because I don’t buy into the tradition of fanciness.
5. Forget the gadgets: How many kitchen gadgets have you bought that have practically gone unused. You were on a bread-making kick or a juicing spree, but in the end, the item just wound up taking up space. Many of these gadgets are only needed occasionally. Most of these needs can be met by using simple kitchen tools such as spoons and knives. I have a coffee grinder and a toaster oven because they get used regularly. I don’t have a mixer or a blender because they would not get used regularly. I can do those things by hand when I need to. Gadgets take up space. A lack of space leads to clutter.
6. Storage containers are your friends: One thing I do keep in my kitchen is storage containers. I keep bulk foods like rice, beans, oatmeal, seeds, and nuts in simple plastic containers with pour spouts on the top. They work great. I keep a shelf with a supply of a variety of tupperware for storing leftovers. This helps me to keep things organized. Organization is imperative to keeping your kitchen clutter-free.
7. Keep your kitchen your kitchen: This is the most important habit of the seven habits to keep your kitchen clutter-free. In fact, this philosophy applies to each room in your home. I’ve often noticed that the people with the most cluttered kitchens have this in common. Their kitchens are full of things that don’t belong in the kitchen. Keys, wallets, bills, homework, and smart phones do not belong on your kitchen counter or on your kitchen table. A junk drawer should not be a kitchen drawer. Leaving non-kitchen items in the kitchen is a sure way to gather clutter. Having specific places for these other items is the answer.
Having a clutter-free kitchen will bring more peace to your home and family. When our surroundings are open, so are we. Try these seven habits. I think you’ll find that they really work.