Shhh! My Surprising Secret for Keeping my Kitchen Clean

140204_0003Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone. (Well, actually do… share this post and improve my blog traffic.) But, I’ve been finding it easier to keep my kitchen clean. It took me a while to figure out why. We moved in the fall and it seemed like in the new kitchen it’s easier to keep clean than the old one. This really didn’t make sense. The new kitchen is smaller, has fewer cabinets and storage places and less counter space. So, why would it be easier to keep clean? It took me a couple of months to figure out but it finally hit me.

When we moved, we removed some conveniences from our life. Now it seems counter-intuitive that removing conveniences would make something easier, but that’s what happened. Let me tell you the story.

When we moved we threw out our microwave. This decision was made mostly due to a lack of space in the new kitchen. The fact that half the buttons were broken had something to do with it too. And I know that it is better for us to eat food heated on the stove, but that’s another topic. So, we moved and began settling into the new place without a microwave. After a month or so I was noticing that it seemed easier to keep this kitchen clean. Why would that be? A couple of months went by and it finally dawned on me. The reason (partly) is because I no longer had the microwave to rely on.

I realized that before in my spacious kitchen where counter and cabinet space was abundant, that I often relied on the microwave for reheating food, and usually on paper plates too. When we moved we gave up both the microwave and paper plates. Since then it’s been easier to keep the kitchen clean because I end up doing it in short spurts here and there throughout the day. Before, I would let myself fall back on using the microwave and paper plates and then go about putting out the next “fire” (solving arguments, changing diapers, cleaning up spills, etc…. you know everyday life). I would move the kitchen to the bottom of my “To-Do” list because I didn’t have to do it right then. I could get to it later. When the next meal came along and I still hadn’t gotten around to cleaning the kitchen, I would fall back on the paper plates and microwave. The cycle would continue and we would end up with stacks of dishes and no clean silverware in the drawer. So, I would end up washing just enough forks and spoons to get us through that meal and then I’d have to deal with all again at the next meal. The kitchen was a monster and something that I could never get on top of.

Now, without having the conveniences at my fingertips, I have to wash the pans because there is no hot food if I don’t. And it’s easier to wash a drainer full of dishes in the morning and then another one while I cook dinner. Cleaning the kitchen is not the dreaded chore anymore. It feels smaller and easier.

Now, lest anyone have the mistaken impression that I am against ever having a microwave or against ever using paper plates – I am not. But, I’ve realized that removing those things from my life has ended up being a blessing in disguise. It’s taken away a crutch and made me keep on top of things that I otherwise would let slide. Not having the microwave and not keeping paper plates around forces me to keep up better cleaning habits in my kitchen.

2.13.14 005And lest anyone also have the mistaken impression that my kitchen is now always clean here’s a picture just to prove it. It’s not always clean. We’re busy and I still let the kitchen work slide when more pressing things like 3 kids and homeschooling takes over my day. But, it’s no longer the dreaded chore that it used to be for which I am thankful.

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