Any family that has recently relocated or moved into a new home, knows the importance of time saving organization and cleaning tips. Dividing your home (and each room) into zones that make it easy to spend less than an hour a day tidying your spaces. Lets start with the busiest room in the house-your kitchen.
Ideally, once you’ve set up your routine, it will take you less and less time each day. However, if you’ve not been as diligent as you need to be in your kitchen, the first time around may take you a little longer. That’s okay. The important thing is just to start.
Before working in each zone, take heed to a few preliminary tips. According to www.flylady.net, you should carry a timer with you before you start cleaning. Also have on hand three baskets or boxes labeled as “throw away,” “give away,” or “put away.”
The FlyLady also suggests working in clockwise order in any room. This helps you focus on one area at a time.
Here, then, are a few strategies for getting the clutter under control in your kitchen, zone by zone. If it makes sense to re-order your zones according to the clockwise pattern mentioned above, do it.
Zone 1: Cabinets
Set your timer for 15 minutes, and have your boxes nearby. Open each cupboard door one by one. If a family member has put a kitchen or food item in the wrong cupboard, take it out and put it in your “put away” box. Don’t actually put it in the correct location yet! Just stick it in the
Next, take out any food items that are over six months old (pay attention to expiration dates) and put them in your “throw away” box.
Give your cabinet doors a quick wipe down. Stop when your timer goes off, even if you haven’t finished. You can do the rest of the cabinets another day, starting where you left off. This helps keep you from burning out on your tasks.
Zone 2: Under the Sink
Set the timer for 5 minutes. That should be enough time if you’re doing maintenance; if this is the first attempt, it will take you longer. Just try to work for 5 minutes and see how much you can do.
Throw away old cleansers and rags. If you have few items under the sink, take them out and wipe down or sweep the cupboard floor. Then wipe down both sides of doors with a damp cloth and return all items.
To streamline future organization, look into stacking baskets or adjustable-height shelving-you can get even more organized space this way.
Zone 3: Hanging Storage Areas
Set your timer for 5 minutes and have a wet cloth and duster handy. You’re going to tackle the overhanging pots rack, if you have one, plus any areas where you have dishcloths or towels hanging off the stove or fridge. Quickly scan all the areas where you have hanging items, then you’ll be more efficient.
Remove and quickly wipe down each item to remove dust or grease, then replace. Throw dirty towels or dishrags in your “put away” box; those will go to the laundry room later.
Zone 4: Drawers
Set your timer for 10 minutes. Keep a cordless vacuum and damp cloth/dusting cloth handy as you go along.
Working in a clockwise fashion, wipe down drawer fronts and pulls, then remove items that may be in the wrong location (just as you did for your cupboards). Put these items in the appropriate box and move along quickly. Don’t be tempted to dawdle over a given drawer; just take out what doesn’t belong, throw away trash or junk, and take care of anything you want to donate.
If you see lots of crumbs or dirt, use a small cleaning brush attachment on your small vacuum to get rid of the dirt. If it’s not problematic, though, save the deep cleaning for another day. Just move along quickly.
Zone 5: Work Surfaces & Countertops
Set your timer for 5 minutes (if you get really good at this, it will take you probably 2 minutes). With a damp cloth, quickly wipe down spills, dust, or grease on your counter-tops and back-splash areas. Replace counter-top items as you go rather than taking them off the surface first. This will save time.
If you notice misplaced items as you go, put them in the appropriate box.
Zone 6: Refrigerator & Freezer
Set your timer for 5 minutes. This is not a deep-clean; you’ll have to set aside an additional 30-60 minutes for that task another day. Right now you’re simply getting rid of clutter and doing a quick wipe down.
Begin by throwing out all spoiled food (in both the refrigerator and freezer)-just put it in your regular garbage can or your “throw away” box.
Wipe down top, sides, and doors, then gently wipe the door seals, as they tend to collect dust, crumbs, food spills, and grease over time. That’s it-you’re done!
Zone 7: Pantry
If your cupboards basically are your pantry, you can skip this step. If you have a separate pantry, set your timer for 10 minutes.
Follow the suggestions listed for zone 1!
Zone 8: Kitchen Table
You don’t even need to set your timer for this one; just wipe down your table with a damp cloth, removing and replacing items as you go. If you have a wood table, you can use a dusting spray now and then to maintain the wood finish.
Enlist the help of family members to take care of the “put away” box. Once that’s done, congratulate yourself on a job quickly done, then go put your feet up and relax.