House Keeping 101: Part 1 – The Kitchen

Baring the possibility of a Frat Party, your house did not get into such a state of disarray overnight. It is pointless to think that it will instantly become neat and tidy overnight. Looking at the entire picture, it may seem a little daunting or even overwhelming. This series will help you tackle the mess and clutter, one step at a time. It will focus on one area of ​​the house at a time, giving small tasks for you to complete in each area, until you have established a routine to keeping your house clean and tidy at all times.

Let's get started well? The first place we are going to focus on is the kitchen. This is where food is prepared for yourself and your family. If left in a constant mess, you could run the risk of making your family sick, not to mention the infestation of pests, such as cockroaches and mice.

Do not go in with the intention of completely turning the place upside-down and transforming it in an hour. Usually, this ends with you starting the job only to find that you become overwhelmed with the task you have set yourself, giving up before hitting the halfway mark. We are going to do something different this time … starting small, and continue on from there, until the kitchen is neat and tidy.

You are going to spend 15 minutes on each task, nothing more; nothing less. Once you have completed the first task, take a break before continuing or moving to the next task.

Task 1: Washing the Dishes

1. Clear the Sink: Before you start to wash any dishes, you will need to have an area that you can place the clean dishes. Pile all the dishes on a nearby counter; then give the sink and drainer a good scrub.

2. Wash Up: Now that you have a clear area, you can start to wash up. Remember to wear gloves, use HOT water and a decent dishwashing liquid. If there are more dishes than you have space for, do as many as you can; then soak some of the remaining dishes.

3. Drying & Putting Dishes Away: If you've finished or run out of room to place clean dishes you have two choices … a) let the dishes drip dry or b) dry the dishes yourself. If you still have time on the 15 minute limit, you are more then welcome to start drying the dishes.
If you have more washing up to do and you still have some time left, you may continue to wash up. If you have run out of time you may continue so you can complete the task. Try not to get into the habit of going over the 15 minute task limit, you may start to overburden yourself.

4. Clear the Sink: If you chose to dry the dishes yourself, clean the sink and drainer so that it is clean for the next time you wash up.

Continuity: You are now going to continue this task every day. When you complete it is entirely up to you, however, the best times is after breakfast or after dinner. This way you will have a clean sink area throughout the day, any dishes you may use can be rinsed and placed in the sink [so that they are 'out of the way' until you next wash up]

Task 2: Clearing the Benches

Once you have finished washing the dishes, you may find that you have a lot more bench space. These benches should be clean to help prevent the spread of germs while preparing food. If you have jars of food, appliances, etc cluttering the bench space; now is the time to decide what really needs to be there. Put bread in the bread bin, breakfast condiments back in the cupboard, and put the sandwich press or toaster away.

You may decide to leave the kettle, sugar, coffee and tea or fruit bowl out; as they are used throughout the day – that's fine, just make sure you have a specific place for these items and put them back after each use. Before finalizing your bench space, clear it off completely so that you can give the entire bench a scrub, once the bench has been wiped clean, you can the replace the bench items back.

Continuity: You will need to wipe down the benches at least once a day … so as part of you daily wash up, give the bench a quick wipe over. You will not need to remove everything off first every day [though you will need to do that once a week]. If you are preparing meat or make a mess doing other things remember to give the area a wipe, to keep the area clean.

Task 3: Cleaning the Fridge

How long has that meat been sitting at the back of the fridge? How long has the jar of pickles been there? What is that thing growing on the second shelf? If this sounds like your fridge, it is in desperate need of a clean out.

1. Empty the Fridge: You will need a garbage bag [for unwanted food] and an esky to place food you are keeping. Throw out anything that is out of date or has not been eaten in quite sometimes. Put things like milk, butter, eggs etc in the esky while you clean the fridge

2. Clean the Fridge: One it has been emptied, take out the shelves and give them a wash. Wipe out the fridge before replacing the shelving.

3. Restock the Fridge: Once it has been cleaned out completely you can restock the fridge. Make note of any items you may need to replace on your next shop. Note: If you often place defrosting meat in the fridge, try to keep a place clear for it on the bottom shelf, to prevent the juices leaking onto other food.

Continuity: While you may not need to do this every week, if you notice leftovers sitting in the fridge after a week, then throw them out. You should not need to do a complete clean out more than once a month. Make sure you give the fridge out on a monthly basis to remove out of date food and a wipe clean.

Task 4: Finishing Touches

To put the finishing touch on your clean kitchen, you will need to take out the garbage as well as sweep and mop the floors. Remember; once you have started to mop, do not walk on the area until it is dry … otherwise you may end up with 'muddy' footprints on you clean floor.

Continuity: You should sweep and mop the floors once a week, however, you should spill something in the meantime you should clean it up immediately. You may need to take the rubbish out a couple times a week – take it out as soon as the bin starts to look full, do not let it overflow.

* * * * * * * * * *

And so comes the end of Part One of House Keeping 101, keep an eye out for Part two of the series. And remember to continue with the tasks indicated above, or you may find yourself falling back into bad housekeeping habits.