I. Thou shalt clean as thou cooks
The onions needs to saute for 10 minutes. How about wiping down your cutting board and cleaning the knife? Waiting for the kettle to boil is a great time to empty the dishwasher. Make the most of your time in the kitchen and find ways to do the little things while you’re already hanging out in there.
II. Do your dishes
There is nothing more disgusting than attempting to tackle three-day-old dishes. Foodstuffs are caked on plates, your drink glass is starting to smell, you don’t even know what to do with that cereal bowl… if you had just done them when you were finished using them, it would have taken you a less than five minutes. If you’re really in a rush, consider leaving the dish to soak so it’s easier to clean later. Be nice to your future self (and maybe your roommates?) and take care of your dirty dishes speedily.
III. Thou shalt not wipe around appliances when cleaning the counters
Wiping the counters! Look at you! But you didn’t even move that toaster, so a smattering of sugar remains underneath to attract all sorts of pests. The counters are not really clean unless everything is taken off, the corners are scrubbed, and then put back. This extra step may take as little as three minutes, but if you find that it takes you much longer…
IV. Speaking of counters, thou shalt keep ’em clear
This is a hard one if you face limited counter space. Try to keep only the most necessary things on your countertops. Your necessities may be different than mine, so take an honest inventory of what you need within reaching distance. Not only will things on the counter attract more dirt and grime, but they make limited counter space look even more limited due to clutter.
V. Shine that sink
Someone once recommended doing this every day, but every other day sounds like a good goal for us mortals. Squirt some dish soap on your ceramic or stainless steel sink, and go to town scrubbing with a slightly wet, designated sink-cleaning sponge. Get around the faucet and the knobs, the nooks and crannies surrounding the soap dish, polishing in circular motions. Then spray it all down with water and dry the sink with a towel. There is some weird sort of therapy to shining the kitchen sink regularly, like reassurance you’re good at adult-ing.
VI. Thou shan’t ignore what lurks on handles
I bet you don’t think of cleaning ’em often, but you really need to keep an eye on fridge handles, oven handles, dishwasher handles, and door knobs in the kitchen. Fridge handles can end up having more germs (and more DANGEROUS germs) than the bathroom door knob! So take some multipurpose cleaner and wipe them down as often as possible, and especially after cooking with poultry in your kitchen.
VII. Sweep with regularity
About once a week, do a thorough sweeping. Getting along the floor panels and behind moving carts, stools, or chairs is important, especially if you have pets. Spot sweeping throughout the week is ideal, but as long as you do it thoroughly on a regular schedule, you can avoid a build up of crumbs and scraps, which would make the next commandment downright nasty.
VIII. Thou shalt use an actual mop, not just Swiffer
Oh, what abuse I’ve leveled against some beautiful hardwood floors before learning Swiffer-ing ≠ mopping! Following a good sweeping, do a thorough mopping of your kitchen floors. Swiffer is good for the in-between times, but it doesn’t get up the real dirt, and your floors will look grimy and feel gross after a month of solo-Swiffer use. You just need a good ol’ bucket, some pinesol and a wonder mop, and then you can enjoy floors you could eat off of.
IX. No spill goes unattended
If you spill a bit of coffee on the counter, or drop a blob of ketchup on the fridge shelf, don’t just leave it! Wet spills are way easier to clean up than those that have sat around and dried. Keeping paper or cloth towels within reach will make this commandment much simpler. And just like getting your dishes done in a speedy-fashion, your future-self with thank the present-you.
X. Empty your darn trash already
There is no excuse for overflow, sorry. With both trash and recycling, when it starts to get full, you take it out. Trashcans not only give off an unpleasant odor when left unattended, but, in most apartments or small houses, there isn’t enough room to accommodate overflow. Your cooking area should not be overtaken by trash! It may seem like a lot of effort to trudge outside in the cold with the trash and recycling, but let’s be real: you’re going to be leaving your abode at least once a week. So be efficient and take it out as you head to work or the gym.
If you regularly practice these commandments, you should have no problem keeping a tidy kitchen. This can be good for so many reasons: last minute guests; housework fatigue; a weekend spent picnicking and frolicking in nature. If you’re one of the rare birds who gets excited at the idea of cleaning, I would recommend this 20-day, deep cleaning schedule for your kitchen, called the Kitchn Cure. It’s the epitome of spring cleaning and will leave your kitchen in great shape.