Kitchens usually get more mileage than any room in the house. They can be a combination dining room, office, study, storage unit, meeting room, coat depository and filing cabinet, and it shows when chaos and clutter set in. Don’t stress yourself out by tackling it all at once! Instead, learn how to organize kitchen chaos 15 minutes at a time.
Wondering what a few minutes of cleaning can possibly do when your kitchen already looks like a certifiable disaster zone? You might be surprised. Below are some examples of what you can accomplish in 15 minutes:
Organize Refrigerator Mess
You can probably clean your whole fridge in 15 minutes, if it’s not that bad to begin with. But if you’re working on developing the next penicillin or growing a Chia Pet on last Thanksgiving’s stuffing, it’s best to take things slowly.
Fill up your sink with hot, soapy water, grab a bucket and scrub brush, and get a trash bag ready. Remove everything from one shelf and set it on your kitchen floor. Scrub away the dried ketchup spots and crusty milk rings from the shelf and surrounding walls. Before you put anything back in the refrigerator, check for freshness. Empty leftovers dishes and send them straight to the kitchen sink to be washed. In a few days, your formerly toxic refrigerator will be sparkly-clean.
Organize Kitchen Closets
Kitchen closets are often stuffed full of mismatched mittens, school papers, miscellaneous household tools, and outgrown shoes and boots. In one or two 15 minute sessions, you can pare that clutter down to manageable proportions.
To organize kitchen closets, take two boxes or empty laundry baskets, and designate one for giveaways and one for relocation. Relocation items might include things the hammer that belongs in the garage or the gardening gloves that should be out in the potting shed. Outgrown or unloved coats and shoes go in the other basket, and should be taken to a charity shop or sent off with a Freecycler as soon as possible so they don’t end up back in the closet again.
Organize Kitchen Drawers
Kitchen drawers are notorious clutter magnets, so have a big garbage bag ready when you tackle these. Be prepared to give away or toss things like six month-old fast food fliers and kitchen utensils that you can’t name or, for the life of you, figure out how to use. Relocate important things like manuals, bills, car titles, and wills to one centralized location where they can’t be accidentally thrown out, like a flat Rubbermaid box that slides under your bed. With determination, even the messiest junk drawer can be tamed in 15 minutes.
Organize Kitchen Cabinets
Do you have cans of peaches from 1982 tumbling out of your cluttered cupboards every time you open the doors? Fill your sink or a bucket with hot, soapy water and get your trash can ready. Set your timer for 15 minutes and pull everything out of one cupboard. Wipe down the inside, the outside and the doorknobs. Take a look at each item, checking the expiration date and the probability of you actually eating it, and then put it back neatly or toss it, depending on your verdict. Do another cupboard if you have time left.
Don’t worry about not organizing kitchen cabinets quickly – it takes them a while to get into that condition and the first cabinet should still be clean by time you finish the last one a few days later.
Organize Pantry Shelves
Organize pantry shelves with the same methodical, take-no-prisoners approach as the kitchen cabinets. Set your timer and do one shelf at a time, throwing away expired or unwanted food, stacking cooking dishes and utensils neatly, cleaning shelves, and if you have kids, relocating items like Legos that don’t require pantry storage.
If you’re still not convinced that 15 minutes increments of cleaning will help when your kitchen is already a certifiable disaster area, give it a shot anyway. Set a timer, work until it goes off, and take a break afterward or move on to something else, and you’ll stop junk drawers from to overflowing, save kitchen cabinets from catastrophic clutter, and keep your fridge from smelling like feet… all without getting burned out on a big cleaning bender that will just have to be repeated in a few months.