Food & Fitness

The Living Healthy in the Real World Guide to Cleaning & Organizing, Part Six: Working in your Kitchen

Be sure to check out our previous installments:

Part One: Why Should I Clean?

Part Two: Starting Fresh

Part Three: Dealing with Housemates

Part Four: Cleaning and Organizing the Bathroom

Part Five: Creating a Welcoming Living Space

Part Six: Working in your Kitchen

One of my favourite parts about my condo (as if I could ever have *one* favourite part!) is the kitchen. It is massive. It actually takes up nearly 1/3 of the space. The front door opens right into the kitchen, so it is basically the first thing that people see when they enter my home. The kitchen also happens to be where I spend the majority of my time; I have a large design table (the kind that a professional might do their work on with drawing up sketches and that sort of thing in a graphic design studio or something) in one corner of my kitchen which I work on my computer at. It is high enough that I can stand in front of my computer comfortably while I’m working, which is perfect for me.

Because I spend so much time in my kitchen, it tends to get messy fast. When I walk in the door I dump my bag on the dining room table. Papers and books are spread out around my computer for research purposes. For this reason, I know that cleaning my kitchen is a major priority. The living room isn’t as much of an issue because the most I’ll do in there is sit on a comfy chair, prop my feet up, and read a good book. Rather difficult to make a mess when that is the extent of the action that takes place in the room! No, in my home the kitchen is where it’s at. If I let it slide and allow things to pile up, it gets totally out of control. The following tips are the strategies that I use to keep myself organized and make clean-up a breeze, and they have been working beautifully for me:

1) Keep things in cupboards. I try to keep my counters and table as clutter-free as possible. All that is on my counters is a digital scale, soap and lotion at the sink, and a small recipe box. I also sometimes have a few bananas sitting on the counter, before they have browned and been placed in the fridge. The toaster, kettle, blender, and George Foreman are all near the front of my cupboards so that I can bring them out quickly because I use those items often. If I know that I’ll be eating toast in the morning, I’ll bring the toaster out the night before. None of these items get used daily, so keeping them tucked away makes the kitchen cleaner and more aesthetically pleasing. It also makes life far simpler when I’m cooking: I can spread cutting boards and mixing bowls and ingredients across the counter without any obstructions.

2) Clean appliances when you’re finished with them. I don’t just mean the obvious “wash the bits of lettuce and hemp seeds out of your blender when you’ve made your smoothie”; we also have to think about other parts of the appliance. Sometimes people neglect lids, so that’s a good one to remember to clean, but the most-often neglected part is the base of the appliance. Toasters and kettles rarely get wiped down, but grimy fingers and crumbs and drips of tea can stain and blemish your appliances. Grab a damp cloth and wipe down any appliance – all of it – and you won’t have to scrub to get gunk off at a later date. Moreover, your appliances will look as good as new!

3) Wipe down the table and counter tops every night before you go to bed. Waking up to a messy kitchen is a sure-fire way to start your day off on the wrong footing, in my mind. It takes only a minute or two to wipe down surfaces, and the peace of mind it creates is lovely to have first thing in the morning.

4) Clean the stove when you’re done with it. I love my current stove because it is a flat surface: no pesky elements to pull out and clean under when bits of food fall beneath! It also means that my stove only takes a quick wipe of the cloth to clean. Voila! If you don’t have the smooth-topped stove, just make sure that you pull out the elements from time to time to clean beneath them. They get pretty grimy. As for the surface area, always immediately wipe up the sauces and drippings that inevitably get splattered across it. If you don’t do it right away, it gets caked on, and then it makes it that much tougher to scrub (nothing that a little baking soda and hot water can’t cure, though ;)).

5) Organize your fridge in a way that works for you. I like keeping vegetables and fruit at the top and condiments on the lower shelves. Everything has their own place. It shifts from time to time, but for the most part different kinds of food have their own space and it makes it easier for me to know exactly what’s in there. I make double batches of green shakes and put them in tall glasses on the front of the top shelf in my fridge so that I have my breakfast right there in front of me.

What steps do you take to clean your kitchen?


  1. Hanlie

    Ii can’t prepare food in a dirty kitchen, so I always first unpack and reload the dishwasher and put away all the clean things. The counters are wiped throughout the day and the stove cleaned after use. I have a container next to the sink where all the scraps intended for the compost go.

    Another great article!

  2. Messy McGee

    for me it is also about everything having a home.
    my blender is always OUT but it is always OUT in the same place.
    for some reason this REALLY helps me.


    I mightcould need some excitement in my life, huh?

  3. Sagan Morrow

    Hanlie- A dishwasher? What’s that? 😉 Yes, that is a major step, to unpack and reload. And YES about the compost scraps! I am sorry to admit that I do not compost at this point in time.

    Miz- If you need more excitement in your life, then so do I, hehe. I like everything having a home.

  4. Emergefit

    The kitchen; the only room that matters. I may need your advice, and appreciate it from your previous installments, but King Kitchen gets treated like a king at my house. I can’t even stand to see one single water spot on the sink or faucet. My kitchen is really the only room that gives back to me…

  5. The Candid RD

    I am jealous of your awesome kitchen. I do love my kitchen though, despite how tiny it is (and the white cupboards…..yikes, talk about stains!). I am slightly obsessed with wiping the counters, but I’m glad about that. I am great at cleaning machines after their use, but my fridge needs re-organized and cleaned!

    Like you, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so I like to keep it as nice as possible 🙂 Great tips!

  6. Sagan Morrow

    Emergefit- Happy kitchens = happy people!

    Maggie- Ah yes, the struggle to follow through with it all… I hear you on that (more in regards to getting myself to eat smaller portion sizes, but it translates well to cleaning too!).

    Gina- Fridges fall into neglect SO EASILY. And they get messy FAST. I never know how they manage to achieve it.

  7. FatFighterTV

    Oh, and in the house we are in now, there is not a lot of cupboard space, so unfortunately, we have to stores some of the lesser used items in our basement. We also have a baker’s rack that is very organized and holds all of our cookbooks and a few pots and pans.

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