The weather is finally starting to make a turn for the better (yay!) and if you’re anything like me, when the sun starts to shine and the mercury starts to rise, I crave a serious deep clean. I want to strip away all the gunk and clutter from a long winter cooped up indoors.
It’s common to start a Spring cleaning spree in the closet or storage spaces, but I personally think the most important place to start is your kitchen! The kitchen is the heart of your house, it’s where you gather, and you’re probably in there every single day, prepping heathy eats for you and your family. Trust me, your kitchen could use a spring clean.
Here’s how we recommend you conquer your kitchen:
1. Cabinet Decluttering and Cleaning
Before you start scrubbing anything, you need to tackle the clutter. Start with your food storage. Pull out all the items in your pantry, and sort into three categories: toss, donate, or keep.
- Things to toss: anything that’s expired, stale or inedible. While you’re at it, toss out any opened containers of not-so-healthy foods. If you’re working on a healthy diet, that half-eaten box of cookies is just asking to derail you! Might as well have a clean and a healthy kitchen.
- Donate: If you find any full packages of non-perishables that you probably aren’t going to eat, set those aside to donate to your local food pantry or shelter.
- Keep: set aside all your must-have foods, and make sure you combine any opened packages of the same food to save space. Wipe down your pantry shelves well, and then replace the items from the “keep” pile in a neat and organized fashion.
Once you’ve sorted through your pantry, move onto your kitchen gadgets and other cabinets. I promise you don’t need four whisks. Use a fine-toothed comb and really go through all your gadgets, pots, pans, small appliances, and dishes.
If you have a few items that you use infrequently but would like to keep (say: an ice cream maker), maybe find an out-of-the-way storage spot for it—like the garage or basement.
2. Clean the Fridge and Freezer
Pull out everything in the fridge, and just like you did with the pantry, toss any items that are expired or inedible (or unidentifiable). Also, toss away anything that your family won’t (or shouldn’t) be eating.
Pro tip: To make the leftover guessing game easier, make sure you label all your future leftovers with the contents and date.
Once all the items are out and sorted, take to your fridge and freezer shelves and drawers with soapy water (don’t forget to pull out the crisper drawers and wash really well). Place all the shelves and drawers back in and replace the food.
When you’re done with the interior, hit up the exterior and toss out or recycle any unneeded papers or magnets from the front of the fridge. Clean the exterior surface before replacing the magnets. If you haven’t done it in the past six months, now is a great time to vacuum the coils of the fridge, and pull it out from the wall to sweep underneath. Oh, and don’t forget to clean off the top of your fridge!
3. Tackle Other Appliances
First things first, set up your oven to do a self-clean cycle (based on manufacturer’s recommendations). While that’s warming up, clean the outside well—it might be too hot to do later.
Next, head to your microwave and wipe down the inside and outside. If you’re struggling with some stuck-on food, zap a microwave-safe bowl of water with lemon juice for a few minutes. Let the bowl sit in the microwave, with the door closed, for at least 10 minutes to allow the hot steam to loosen the food. Then go in and wipe the gunk away.
The inside of a dishwasher is normally pretty clean, but you still want to make sure you clean out the food trap (check your manual). And then, make sure you give a good wipe-down to the outside, plus clean out any crevices that might attract food (like the top of dishwasher or the vents).
Give your stovetop a good wipe down, removing the grates and knobs if applicable. Give a good wipe down to any other small appliances that live on your counter. Also, do any maintenance to your regularly used small appliances—like removing crumbs for your toaster or descaling your coffee maker.
4. Clear the Counters
It’s tempting to leave out lots of items on your counter, but for the cleanest feeling kitchen, try to strip away as much clutter from your counters as possible. Then, clean them well, making sure to hit up the back splash and any crevices that might not usually get attention.
5. Tackle the Floors
You want to do the floors last, because gravity takes all the gunk and grime from your other cleaning tasks and puts it on the floor! Remove any floor rugs, and toss them in the wash. Then sweep well, including moving any moveable furniture and paying special attention to getting the dust bunnies that collect near the toe kick under cabinets. Then mop using your favorite mop solution. While the floors are drying, go sit down, kick your feet up and revel in a job well done!
What’s your favorite part of Spring cleaning?
Photo credit: Vineet Radhakrishnan