Dread post meal cleanup? Here's a better way:
Updated: Sep 3, 2021
So, you've just finished your meal, and I'll bet you it was delicious! But... now you are surveying the damage - the sink is full, the counters sticky, ingredients all over, and leftovers galore - and to make matters worse, you're tired as a dog. You're tempted to let it go until tomorrow - STOP - and read this first!
I'm no stranger to a blown-out kitchen, in fact, I was practically raised on them. Both of my parents are excellent cooks so we rarely went out to eat. Most nights after I got home from school I would go to the store with one of my parents and we would decide what we wanted to have for dinner - trust me, I know I was lucky. Then we would proceed home to make said dinner. I was in the kitchen cooking with them as soon as I was old enough to stand on a chair and not accidentally kill myself. We used to tease my dad that somehow, no matter what he was making, he managed to dirty every pot, pan, and dish that we owned. Growing up with this much cooking going on should've made me a cleanup expert, but I mostly avoided the dishes due to my rigorous study schedule, which my parents felt was more important.
So as an adult living on my own from age 20 I didn't have a whole lot of cleaning skills, but oh how I have learned since then. In the beginning, I would let the sink pile up over the course of a few days, but recently I came up with a cleanup formula that I think works damn well, and today is your lucky day because I am here to share it with you!
Ok, back to your kitchen. First thing first, don't panic. If you have help it'll make it easier, but if you're flying solo don't fret, I've got your back. Take a good inventory of the situation. Next, collect all the trash like packaging or food that isn't usable and toss it in the garbage. Then put away all your ingredients and leftovers that you left out: everything that should go in the fridge, pantry, or cupboards. After that's done your counters should look a lot better, so take a deep breath, you're 1/3 the way there, and it wasn't so bad! Alright, back to work, you scalawag. Is your dishwasher clean? Empty it before you do anything else. Next, take any knives, blades, or slicers and set them to the side of the sink. Follow this with any glass or fragile items. Wash, dry, and put these away first - nothing more dangerous in a kitchen than loading the sink with everything, reaching in, and slicing your hand open. Ok, now load your dishwasher (I leave out my pots, pans, and anything with a wooden component because hand-washing these items give them a longer life, so set those - and anything else you hand-wash - aside on the counter) and if it's more than half full, run the darn thing! Wash the rest by hand and put them in the drying rack (I don't typically towel dry anything at the end of the day because honestly, it takes a lot of time and dirties a towel when the air does just as good for free). Finally, wipe down your counters and stove with your spray of choice, and boom baby, the kitchen is clean and it only took you 20min sis (unless you were in zombie/tipsy off that Frosé mode - no judge). If you have help, just divide up and delegate duties (I like to give my boyfriend dishwasher duty, while I flit around and wipe down counters, i.e. pretend to be busy, but that's just me!)
Give it a try and let me know what you think! Do you do something similar? Or do you have a better system? Please share - cuz I'll try anything for a few more minutes snuggled up in bed!