Daily Habits for a Clean and Tidy Kitchen

The kitchen is where I spend the majority of my days. Cooking two or three meals a day and clean up can take a lot of time. However, I have learned a few tips over the years that make my life in the kitchen more enjoyable and more time efficient.

How to Keep the Kitchen Clean and Tidy

Clear the Counters

There was a time, early in my marriage that I had the counters lined with small appliances, the knife block, coffee pot, crock pot, toaster and a few cute kitchen gadgets. It always felt cluttered and left little room for me to have a place to prep as I cooked.

I spent time cleaning the little splatters off the items on the counters or wiping the dust off the tops of them. The day I cleared off the counters was one of the first steps I took in always keeping a clean kitchen.

Do you really need all the things on your counters? Keep what you need, donate the rest and then find a place to store what you decided to keep. You won’t spend time cleaning or moving the items, and you gain more counter space to prepare your meals.

Everyone is different, find what works for you but I know that having a clutter-free counter is a wonderful feeling! I still believe in creating beautiful spaces in the kitchen because I believe it makes the kitchen a joy to work in.

Our kitchen counters and cabinets are not pretty. They are cheap cabinets that are original to our manufactured home but I can still have a clean and pretty space. I have a shelf above my counters that holds all the pretty yet functional kitchen items that I use on a daily basis.

Always Start With a Clean Kitchen

My daughter and I are complete opposites in the kitchen. It often looks like a tornado blew through the kitchen when she finishes up fixing a meal. Flour on the counters and the floor, dishes were strewn about and jars with the lids left flipped open.

Granted she comes back and cleans after her she has the meal cooked but I might as well stay out of the kitchen while she works because her way and my way just don’t mix. I clean as I cook and here are the steps that I take to ensure that when I am finished with preparing my meal, the kitchen is nearly clean.

1. I always start with a clean kitchen.

2. We don’t own a dishwasher so the first thing I do is fill the sink with hot soapy water.

3. I begin cooking or baking and lay all the things I need out on the counters. I have all my measuring spoons/cups, mixing utensils, ingredients, and bowls laid out neatly on the counters. I also always have a dish towel close by.

4. As I prepare my dish and finish using a utensil, I place it in the dishwater. Unless it is a wooden utensil then I lay it on the counter next to the sink. Wooden utensils should never be left to soak in the water.

5. When I finish using the ingredients in my pantry jars, I wipe them off before placing them back on the shelf.

6. I finish preparing my dish, then I put it on to cook or bake.

Clean While you Wait

Once our meal has been placed in the oven or on the stove, I hand wash the dishes that are in the sink. I lay the dishes in the dish rack to dry, wipe off the counters and sometimes if I have time I will wipe down the front of the cabinets or refrigerator while I am waiting for the food to cook.

By the time that our meal is ready, our kitchen is almost always back to being clean. The only thing I will need to do after we eat is wash the dishes that we used during the meal, and care for the cast iron skillets that I used.

Do the Dishes

After every meal, the first thing that our family does is wash the dishes. The children carry their plates to the sink, rinse them off and then stack them to be washed. The table is cleared, leftovers put away, and dishes washed. Most times, the dishes are then dried and put away. This helps to put the kitchen back at the very clean stage, prepared for the next meal preparation.

Wipe Down the Counters, Stove and Work Spaces

Once the dishes are finished, take the time to wipe down the tops of all the work spaces that you used. For our family that would be the kitchen island, counters and stove top.

Drain the Dishwater

When all the dishes are done, counters and other work surfaces are wiped off, drain the dishwater. Then, shine your sink. Okay, so maybe not shine the sink but wipe it out and clean around the top of the sink, Rinse your dishrag out, hang it to dry and know that your kitchen is clean.

Other Tips for a Clean and Organized Kitchen

We don’t allow constant snacking in our home, as in the children cannot come and go all day eating whenever they want. We eat breakfast around eight in the morning, have a snack around ten, lunch at noon, snack at two-thirty, dinner at five and the children will have a small snack around seven thirty. The children are responsible for cleaning up after themselves when they finish their snack time.

Ever feel like you wash enough cups in a day to supply an Army? I have been there! Then it dawned on me one day, just purchase each person their own cup. It was a genius moment! They each have their own cup to use throughout the day and the cups are one of the very few color-coded items in our home. There is no wondering or fighting about whose cup belongs to who and each child is responsible for their cup.

Never go to bed with a dirty dishes in the sink! I promise you that this was life-changing for me. I love waking up in the morning and walking into a clutter-free kitchen zone!  I love knowing that there are no dirty dishes to greet me first thing in the morning. It’s usually the lovely aroma of coffee and a pretty coffee cup. Just how the morning should be!

Pantry Essentials for a Well Stocked Kitchen
Pantry Organization
Mason Jar Storage for Spices and Herbs
Wooden Cooking Utensils and Tools
How to Care For Wooden Utensils

These tips may seem like a lot but I promise that after a few times of working in the kitchen, cleaning as you cook and then cleaning up immediately after the meal, you will always enjoy having a clean kitchen!

Do you have any tips you would love to share?

Thank you for sharing!

37 thoughts on “Daily Habits for a Clean and Tidy Kitchen”

  1. Love this! Thank you for sharing. Can you please share your source for your glass and wood honey pot, as well as the little white crock that holds your meandering spoons? Thank you!

    • The honey pot is vintage and so is the little white crock. @haven_shoppe on Instagram has an online shop that I purchased the honey pot from. The little white crocks can often be found at vintage shops.

  2. I completely agree…it is much quicker to clean a mess immediately than later when it has dried 🙁 !! I also do a 5 minute walk through before bed ( and in the morning) and make sure each room is tidied up as I find a clean slate the best way to start a new day. I really enjoy your blog- I subscribed but haven’t been getting your posts…will go resubscribe right now! Blessings to you in our Lord Jesus!

  3. This is great. Thank you. Do you ever get thrown off from your routine and get behind, like when you are sick? What do you do in cases like that?

    • We have been an extremely blessed family when it comes to our health. We rarely ever get sick and in a family of six, someone usually jumps in and makes sure things get cleaned. If we stick to our rule of cleaning after every meal, it doesn’t have a chance to pile up.

  4. I recognise a lot of what you have done in your kitchen. We don’t have a dishwasher either so my rule is to wash everything as soon as possible after use. I too have tried to simplyfy my kitchen appliances, if I haven’t used it within a year, then I don’t need it. There is nothing worse than dirty dishes sitting around as it makes everything look untidy an uncared for. Don’t worry, your daughter will learn from you!

  5. Enjoyed your post very much. My biggest problem is lack of consistency. Do well and then lose my rythem. Very frustrating!!! I do agree clutter is definitely the enemy and I have been working on that for the past year.

  6. I’ve always felt that my kitchen is controlling and depressing. Then recently I broke my pinky and lost control of the kitchen for several days. That’s when I went on Pinterest and found this post. When my right hand pain had subsided enough, my husband took the kids out to the library and I– with renewed motivation–went to work catching up in the kitchen. Ever since then, I have been implementing your strategies.
    I’ve been waking up to a clean kitchen and table for a week and a half now, even despite having a sick baby and myself being sick. It’s amazing. My kids and husband can easily find what they need, and it’s already clean when they find it. My husband is a notoriously messy cook, and even he washed the dishes yesterday, because he wants to keep the kitchen this way, too. I hope we don’t lose our momentum, but we have kept it up despite the illnesses we’ve faced this past week. It’s not so hard when it’s just a few dishes at a time, throughout the day, with food that’s not dried on.
    Having an always- clean kitchen has had surprising effects, giving me more time and less stress, and motivating me to get the rest of the house feeling like the kitchen. Plus, I feel like a more adequate mom, wife, and person now. Thank you for posting this!

  7. I have cleaned this way for years! It works. My husband is cooking more and more now that he is retired and has a different method that I keep quiet about, well mostly. My one issue is countertops, we recently downsized and have a much smaller kitchen, and I can’t quite free the countertops, but I’m working on it. Love your blog! Thanks.

  8. So glad I have found you! I live in a 35 year old manufactured home, and it is our “forever” home. I do not have a dishwasher, either. Cannot sacrifice cabinet space in my tiny kitchen, and I am convinced they don’t save much time.

  9. I have been looking for a way to store my cast iron and I love your design. I am planning on doing the same thing as you. Thanks for the inspiration and I love your blog!

  10. Hi I love jar display! I’m having trouble finding the exact ones you have! Do you remember wheee you got these or the brand or size! Let me know thank you so much!


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