- Grab all of your needed supplies together (listed below.)
Don't underestimate the value of this step. Trying to find cleansers, dishcloths, sponges, etc. not only eats up time, but increases the risks of distractions that let you forget what you were working on in the first place. Gather all supplies together before you begin.
- Run a sink of hot, soapy water.
If you have a double sink with a garbage disposal on one side, make sure to use the disposal-free side. Keeping the disposal side free will allow you to scrape leftovers down the drain quickly while you work.
- Scrape off all the dishes into the trash or garbage disposal.
If step 2 has blocked your disposal, scrape the dishes off onto a dirty plate.
- Place dishes that need to soak into the water.
Try to choose the dishes that are going to give you or your dishwasher the most trouble to get clean. Put the heavily soiled dishes on the bottom. Large dishes like pans and bowls can be filled with hot soapy water and set on the counter to soak.
- While the dishes are soaking, go through the kitchen clearing out trash from your floor, countertop, cupboards, etc.
Don't worry about things that are out of place, or don't belong in the kitchen. Worry only about trash.
- Move on to gathering all the items that do not belong in the kitchen. Put all these items into a basket (see supplies).
If you have a helper (willing or unwilling) send them off to put away these items. Do not stop working on the kitchen to take these misplaced items to their homes.
- Put away all of the items that belong in the kitchen but are not in their proper places.
Don't allow yourself to get distracted by rearranging cabinets, drawers, etc. Simply place the items that are out back where they belong.
- Load the dishwasher or wash by hand.
If you do not have a dishwasher or don't like to use one, this process of cleaning the dishes may take more time. If possible grab a couple of other people and form a wash, rinse, dry and put away assembly line. This is a great way to catch up with family members. Empty the dirty water and scrape the plate of food off into the disposal if it was previously blocked. Add the plate to the dishwasher.
- Wash down your countertop, appliances, and sink.
Rinse out sponges and rags. If needed put them in the dirty clothes. We're not heavy duty cleaning here. I literally mean wash down the visible surfaces. Don't open the microwave and scrub it out. We're not cleaning the crumbs out of the toaster. Quickly wipe it down.
- Sweep and mop, or vacuum.
- Take out the trash
If the trash is full, or tomorrow is trash day, take the trash outside and reline the trash container so that it is ready for tomorrow's trash.
- The more people you have who live and eat in your home, the more time this process is going to take. But, you have an advantage, more people to make messes means more people to clean them up. Make cleaning up the kitchen after dinner a family affair. Divide the steps between your family members, and you really can have the kitchen done in a short time.
- Train your family members to clear and rinse their own plates after each meal. This simple act takes little time for each person, but saves so much time for the dish person later.
- Run a sink of hot soapy water before food preparation begins. As mixing bowls, cutting boards, knives, etc, become dirty, quickly wash them out to prevent food from drying and sticking.
- Create some "Family Clean up CD" and let each person contribute a favorite song. Kid's will be a lot more likely to help out if they feel they have some input into the job. Letting them choose the music can go a long way.
- This quick cleanup is designed for daily maintenance. It can also be used for a fast fix when unexpected company is on the way. Doing this routine will not substitute for the inevitable need to clean more deeply on a regular basis.
What You Need
- Trash container.
- Basket for stuff that does not belong in the kitchen.
- Dish soap.
- Other cleaners you normally use.
- Dishrag or sponge.
- Scrubber for stuck on food.
- Broom, mop, or vacuum.