A Family Affair
Kitchen clean-up doesn’t have to be a drudgery. You find the fun, and snap! The job’s a game!
In our home, we do not assign kitchen duty. Instead, we all cook together and clean together. This was not always the case, but as soon as our children were old enough to walk a dish from the table to the kitchen, we began incorporating kitchen clean-up as a family affair. It has become routine that as soon as a meal is over, we all begin to pitch in. It not only makes the process go much more quickly, if someone isn’t feeling well or needs to do other things, there are always enough hands to help.
This is also a great time to play music and dance around the kitchen, create laughter through joking, or dive into deep conversations. Remember, serving your children doesn’t end with cooking dinner but with cleaning with them too!
Tip: Depending on the layout of your kitchen, begin at one end and work towards the other end, cleaning as you go. Getting section by section cleaned up keeps the process moving forward in a one direction that can be encouraging as you look back over what is already cleaned and soon, it becomes routine.
Inexpensive & Effective
My father was old school. We didn’t grow up with mops for cleaning floors, nor did we have the major brands of cleaning agents. We did most of our cleaning by hand with vinegar, water, lemon, and baking soda.
- Nothing makes a room sparkle like spotless floors. Using a ratio of nine parts warm water and one part vinegar, you can attack just about any mess. Scrubbing floors by hand has the added benefit of giving you a workout while you clean!
- Lemon and vinegar are two of the best natural cleansers, so why not combine the two? Make your own all-purpose cleanser by soaking citrus peels in white vinegar for two weeks. Once you strain out the peels, this cleanser can tackle almost any surface.
- Did you know you can use newspaper to clean glass and windows? Use warm water or your vinegar and lemon cleanser to clean any glass surface.
Clean as You Cook
Imagine getting up from the dinner table and the only thing you need to do is rinse the plates, forks, and glasses and place them in the dishwasher! A clean cook is rewarded with minimal clean-up time after a meal. Here are a few tips from our family for keeping the kitchen clean while cooking:
- Fill one side of the sink with hot soapy water to drop utensils in while you cook. This will prevent food from sticking and eliminate time spent scrubbing.
- When you have something cooking for more than five minutes and can walk away (think pasta or potatoes boiling), spend that time hand washing large cooking pots.
- Keep a drying mat out on the counter while cooking, allowing for quick washing.
- Either keep a garbage bowl or the trash can close at hand and throw things away as you finish opening them or chopping.
- Take one minute after finishing a dish and put the ingredients away.
Energy for the Evening
For years, I would arrive at the dinner table completely drained. Cooking a meal after a long day of caring for young children and then immediately sitting down without the energy to converse with my family completely dampened the evening. Then I discovered the warm setting on the oven. Starting dinner about thirty minutes earlier each day, I would prepare the entire meal and pop it in the oven at 170 degrees. Cleaning up the cooking dishes, I would then proceed to take fifteen to twenty minutes with a cup of coffee or tea and rest my feet, sometimes power napping.
This made a significant difference in our dinner times and evenings. I needed that time to rejuvenate and finish the day strong.
Remember: take time for yourself so you can have the time and energy to care for others!