Monday, January 7, 2013

Tidy Kitchen Tips

Tidy Kitchen Tips from Decor and the Dog

I often get asked a series of multiple questions about our kitchen.

  • Your kitchen is so clean.  How do you do it?
  • Does your kitchen always look like this?
  • Do you all cook? Because your kitchen is way too clean.

The answers are as follows.

  • Yes.  Read below.
  • Mostly.  Except when we’re cooking.  We are horribly messy cooks.  Seriously.  Awful.
  • We do cook. I would love to eat out all of the time but then we’d be poor and unhealthy.  And that would make me sad. We generally only eat out once a week (sometimes twice).  Breakfast is eaten at home.  Lunches are packed.  All but one or two suppers are prepared in our kitchen.

Today I’m going to share with you my secrets.  They don’t require multiple expensive storage containers.  They aren’t super time consuming. They aren’t rocket science.  I swear.  Pinky swear. 

Tip #1:

Have a place for everything. At the end of each day, put everything back in it’s place. If you don’t have a place for something, get rid of it! 

  • It’s simple.  Everything in your kitchen must have a home.  If it doesn’t, do you need it?  If it does, find it’s permanent home. 
  • Do you only use that turkey platter and gravy boat one time a year?  Maybe store it in your storage area (basement, closet, etc).  Who wants to fight with the turkey platter every time you try to grab a dinner plate?  Not this girl.
  • How many pans do you really cook with?  Do you need 15 bread pans? (I’m talking to you, Mom.)
  • I also realize that I have a lot of kitchen storage.  Our last house had a smaller kitchen and it was equally as tidy.  I just stored more things in our basement/owned less kitchen items.
  • (I shared this tip over at View Along the Way last week.  Be sure to check out other great organizing tips there!)


Tip #2:

Don’t go to bed with dirty dishes/counters/appliances. 

  • This is one that I picked up from my mom.  I don’t ever remember waking up to dirty dishes and it’s something that has always stuck with me. 
  • I spend 10-15 minutes every night washing up the dishes from the day, putting things back where they belong, and wiping off the counters.  10-15 minutes. That’s it.
    • Most nights I just use a wash rag to wipe the counters.  About once or twice a week I use Method’s granite cleaner to clean the counters.
    • I use Rubbermaid’s Stainless Steel cleaner on the appliances once a week.
    • I wipe down the cabinet faces about every other week or when visibly dirty.
    • I clean the stovetop when visibly dirty.


Tip #3

Be neurotic/borderline being diagnosed with OCD.

  • That should probably be tip #1.  And it probably explains most of our kitchen.  But keep reading for more helpful tips.

Tip #4. 

Clean out your fridge often. 

  • It sounds simple but even I can be known to find a melted kiwi in the fruit drawer from time to time.  Keep like items grouped together.  Healthy stuff up front, of course.  I also place leftovers up front so I don’t forget about them.
  • Throw away leftovers after 3-4 days.  Again, sounds simple but do you do it?
  • I have also found that meal planning cuts down on fridge waste.  Leftovers are planned to be eaten.  We only purchase what we need for meals.  Nothing more.
  • I wipe the fridge shelves down every 3 months or when visibly dirty.


Tip #4:

Use those pantry doors as a kitchen command center.  Don’t have a pantry?  Use the back of a cabinet door. 


  • Our pantry houses a list of items in the freezer, our weekly grocery list, and a spot to record leftovers so they don’t get lost in the fridge/freezer.
    • Having lists will seriously make your life easier.  It’s takes a little set up time but maintenance is easy.
  • You will notice that my pantry is organized yet not super duper pretty.  It doesn’t have a hundred pretty glass containers, chalkboard labels, or any of those other dream blogger pantry necessities. I don’t know about you but I don’t really care to spend $5 on 100 containers to store all of my pantry staples.  I also don’t want to spend an hour each week dumping cereal, noodles, etc into containers.  I have Downton Abbey to watch.  I don’t need chalkboard labels to tell me where my cereal or canned goods are located.  Got it covered.  I do have some random baskets that I picked up from the Salvation Army that corral things like baking supplies.
  • Again, meal planning has also helped us reduce the amount of items/waste in the pantry.

Tip #5:

Keep your utensils in one location and within easy reach. 


  • We are nothing on the counter type of people so our utensils go in a drawer right next to the stove.  A utensil caddy is perfectly acceptable in my book as long as it’s not overflowing.
  • We group all of our utensils with their similar friends.  Spoons together, spatulas together, measuring spoons together, etc.  This makes cooking very easy.  Again, a place for everything and everything in its place.

Tip #6:

Organize your spice cupboard.  It will change your world.


  • Our spices are stored on cheapo Wal-Mart spice racks.  They are alphabetized because I’m neurotic like to be able to find spices quickly.
    • Again meal planning comes into play.  I can easily glance through the racks to see if we need to purchase any spices for the upcoming week’s meals.
  • We have kept this spice cupboard like this for almost a year so the system works.  And it works well.

Follow these helpful tips and you too will have a tidy kitchen. *Cue infomercial music*


Are you a person with a tidy kitchen or are you a “Why bother. It’s just going to get dirty again” person?”  What’s your #1 tidy kitchen tip?

Linking up to: Home Stories A to Z


  1. Our kitchen is titchy so we have to have quite a lot of stuff on the counters (the cupboards are also really, really badly designed). We're also more relaxed about a cluttered vibe in general! That said, here are my tips for any of your readers with tiny kitchens

  2. Your kitchen is so tidy and so pretty! But yes, I'm like you, not a speck of dust exists on the countertop! I kept the boxes for items I don't use often and store them in the basement. Like a large stock pot, and crystal serving dishes. I even separated baking items/utensils from everyday cooking things. Our kitchen is tight, but I feel that we were still able to make some organizing headway with it!

  3. We're wrapping up a complete kitchen reno w/ all new cabinetry(built by my wonderful hubby). I'm going to implement some of your great tips! I just did a total clean out this weekend of food stored in cabinets. I ended up trashing a full trash bag of stuff that we aren't going to eat or stuff that expired. I love menu planning and it does reduce those random jars of jalapeños sitting in the back of the cabinet...6 months later.

    Great kitchen btw!

  4. Nate is horrible at cleaning the kitchen, in fact he usually breaks at least one dish every time I ask him to do it (I'm convinced it's a conspiracy) so I'm left to do it. I can't cook in a dirty kitchen so it's always clean at least BEFORE I cook, I'm just not so good at the cleaning it after we eat thing. It's a problem, I'll admit it. That is why I appreciate that whoever opened the floorplan in our house left the kitchen blocked off. No one has to see my mess if I don't want them to. LOVE your kitchen.

  5. I always enjoy seeing your kitchen and I love your tips! I agree with you about not going to bed before the dishes are done. I never leave dishes in the sink overnight. If there is one there in the morning, I know my husband was up watching something late at night! For some reason, it doesn't bother him!

  6. WOW. Our kitchen is TEENY TINY (read hardly any cupboard space and the narowest, most poorly designed cupboards EVER) but I am going to try to tackle some of your tips this week! I was just saying yesterday I need clean out some of my cupboards. Which means I'll probably clean them all out since there aren't that many. Thanks for the tips and the motivation!

  7. I'm with you, I have to have a tidy kitchen. My kitchen now is smaller and I have less storage space. My counters have more on them but in a tidy way! At least that what I tell my self! Have a great Monday!

  8. Dishes in the sink drive me CRAZY - Bob always leaves them there, even though the dishwasher is next to the sink. Men.
    Once we turn our coat closet into a pantry, I'll finally be able to get some of the clutter off the counters. This just made me all the more excited about that.
    Having an older house means a smaller kitchen and no pantry, apparently. We only have 8 cabinets (well, 9 if you count the one under the sink), so there just isn't room for anything!

  9. This makes me want a house because an apartment kitchen is so hard to customize to work for you! Most things get hidden in our pantry and cabinets (thankfully, this apartment has a decent amount of those).

  10. My number #1 tip for a tidy kitchen? Have a complete meltdown every time the kitchen is a disaster. Apparently that's very motivating for husbands to help with tidy kitchens.

    But the biggest thing for me was going through our kitchen and getting rid of everything we don't actually use. Like, a toaster. We don't eat bread so therefore we don't make toast. So we don't need a toaster. So I got rid of it.

  11. We clean our kitchen every day too. I can't stand to have that stuff laying out and dirty. And I'm glad you have a tidy and organized kitchen without all the glass containers and things, way to keep it real!

    Everything has a spot in our kitchen too, yet somehow Jesse still doesn't know where those spots are, after a year in this house...

  12. You are my hero. Seriously. I am really good about keeping countertops and the sink clear because I hate visible clutter. But the cabinets, drawers and fridge? Another story entirely. And I need to get that under control. Last weekend was supposed to be my cleanoutthekitchen weekend, but I took a nap on Saturday instead.

    Also, I still have leftovers in my fridge from Christmas. I ought to get rid of those, no?

    I really like your tip about storing things away that you don't use often. Such a good tip.

  13. Mine is pretty tidy, but then my secret is that yogurt for dinner is fine with me - that kind of cooking is easy to clean up.

  14. You and I were friends in heaven. The heaven where they clean kitchens before bedtime. I seriously cannot fall asleep knowing the kitchen is messy. I don't love doing it, but I know if I don't, I'm going to sleep with a marching band of dirty dishes in my head.

  15. Team Clean! I also learned this from my mom and even if we have a dinner party that lasts until the wee hours I have to do the dishes when the guests leave and not wait until morning.

  16. I love having a clean kitchen too! My easiest tip has been to keep minimal amount of items on the countertop for less visual clutter and makes it easier to wipe down counters every day. I do have to reorganize the drawers on occassion, cause the hubby doesn't have the same standard of organization as I have ;-)

    And I thought I was the only one OCD enough to alphabetize my spices, haha!

  17. I think I fall in the middle between OCD and normal. I wish I had a pantry. I could never be that organized as to list the contents of the freezer, though a girl can dream... I do hate stuff on the counters. Less clutter = more workspace & less anxiety for me. I need to toss some utensils, because I don't need 7 spatulas. This post has inspired me to clear out my deadly utensil drawer.

  18. Great tips! I too hate counter clutter and am constantly battling my husband to put things away. I'm good about the counters and staying on top of dishes but not so good with the cabinet and fridge organization. Need to work on that. Thanks for the great tips!

  19. I feel like I could have written this post. I love my kitchen to be clean. I think my #1 clean kitchen tip is to do the dishes and cleanup right after we eat and to not eat in front of the TV. We would eat in front of the TV in our old house and we would always 'forget' to clean up the kitchen afterwards. Now we do it right after we eat. It only takes about 15 mins and then we have a sparkly clean kitchen. So worth a few minutes a work!

  20. I always wonder if bloggers keep their kitchens as clean as they look in their pics. Now I know that you do! If you see a pic of my clean kitchen you'll know it's a sham. I have the worst habit of doing the dishes the next day. It's gross, I know, but I can't break it. I would rather chill out after dinner than do those dishes. And I don't even cook the dinner. It's my "dirty" little secret that guests never know about.

  21. Great tips, friend. I need to implement some of these because our kitchen is always a disaster. I tell Brad it's because we need to redo the kitchen because I'll want to clean a pretty kitchen. It's very logical, really. Pinning this!

  22. Our problem is the countertops--our kitchen is the first room we walk through when we come home, so the counters become a dumping ground. I've gotten much better recently at cleaning off the stovetop--it's so much prettier when it's not crusted with exploded food.

  23. This was a great post...and shockingly, I follow a lot of the same ideas as you. Our kitchen is generally pretty clean {especially because you can see it from every other area of our dining/living room space.

  24. Great tips! I am fanatical about cleaning our fridge out! I love the chalkboard idea on the inside of the cupboards, any ideas for a less permanent alternative?

    1. There are a lot of "command centers" out there in blogland. Even a list of the freezer items in a drawer would work as well! Doesn't have to be fancy!

  25. Great tips! I always and I mean always did the dishes every night until a couple of years ago-I often leave them until morning now and spend the evening with my husband. He works crazy long hours and If I have to choose between time with him and a perfect kitchen well, he wins everytime...but that doesnt mean I'm less anal, lol. Just older.

  26. Does your flour and sugar stay fresh in your glass jars you have on your counter? I have been wanting to do the same thing, but wondered if they would stay air tight enough to keep it fresh?

    1. I bake/cook a lot so I usually go through them before they would have a chance to not be fresh. I only put in one bag at a time!

  27. Great ideas! Oh and now I want to hear more about your meal planning ;-). Hint, idea!!! Thanks for sharing.

    1. I was posting weekly but then I fell off the bandwagon. I should do a review post though! I'm on it!

  28. I have to say, I have a bit of cabinet envy going on here, yours are so lovely and airy, and yes, you do have a lot of them :) my itty bitty kitchen is crying right now. I love your tips, especially your alphabetized spice racks...I ALWAYS have trouble finding what I need, I think I will be implementing this little tip of yours.

  29. Ok, seriously, why are we not friends? I am OCD about my kitchen, too! It's always spotless (ok, maybe that's a lie). Sometimes I feel like it's too clean - it doesn't look "lived in" enough. But I am horribly messy when I cook. Like, awful, stuff-is-everywhere messy. I really wish I could reconcile the two. And alphabatizing your spices? Girl, seriously, I totally agree - its a life changer.

  30. My tip for a tidy kitchen is clean as you go, if I'm done with a pot or bowl I will put it in the dishwasher right away. It sounds weird but usually after dinner clean up takes all of 5 minutes because I've done most of the work already. I hate it when someone (won't name any names) leaves a glass sitting in the sink right after I've done the dishes. I try to keep my counter tops clear of stuff but then again I have a dog that is known for jumping on the counter.

  31. I really need to follow Tip #2... I have a bad habit of letting pots, pans and non-dishwasher items pile up because I don't feel like cleaning them right after dinner, a round of baking, etc. Same for our stainless steel appliances... we usually only clean-clean them before a party (cue embarrassed face).

  32. My best tip is putting your house on the market. I'm so terrified a stray coffee bean will foil a sale that I've been doing extra spiffing up.

  33. I have a freezer inventory too! It's on a dry erase board right on the freezer door. It makes it easy to remember to use it! I clean the kitchen every evening after dinner. I clean the counters every day with a washcloth, and I have a drawer full of washcloths ready to go. I keep a basket for dirty cloths under the sink. I load the dishwasher after dinner and run it at night and empty it in the morning before work. It works for me. Your kitchen is lovely. Thanks for sharing!

  34. Love your tips! Every so often I put all of my utensils in a big jar on the counter. Anything that I don't use in 2 weeks' time either gets stored away (your point about using a gravy boat more than rarely) or thrown out.

    Alyssa @

  35. I REALLY need to get better at this, especially #2. I'm really good at it when my MIL is in town because I don't want her to think her son married a slob. Thanks for link!

  36. Thanks for all these tips! Our kitchen is a disaster.
    I think we need to move the massive meat slicer out of our limited cabinet space...yes...we have a deli meat slicer that Kevin insisted we get for our wedding registry. Have we used it in 2.5 years? Yeah, not so much!!
    Your kitchen is so pretty =)

  37. your kitchen issss always so clean. we do try to keep up with wiping the counters every night etc, but husband is way less tidy than me. he is still training i guess!

  38. #1 Tip for having a clean kitchen: Don't have children.

  39. Amazing! One of my little goals for this year is to organize our pantry and to paint the inside with chalk paint for the exact same reason. Great tips!

  40. What a beautiful kitchen ( and love your post but it's hard to be organized in a kitchen the size of most people's cupboards lol )
    Your newest follower - would love a follow back when you have the time! )

  41. So jealous of your clean kitchen. Even with all these great tips I'm sure I won't be able to keep mine clean for too long. Lol

  42. So jealous of your clean kitchen. Even with all these great tips I'm sure I won't be able to keep mine clean for too long. Lol

  43. I have a love/hate relationship with our kitchen. Space is very limited (we don't even have a pantry, so foodstuffs take up valuable cabinet space), but we've invested in a shelf that sits in the adjoining room to hold blenders, crock pots, etc., and a small stand-alone cabinet that houses silverware and tupperware. I do find myself regularly cleaning everything out and reorganizing every few months.

    I do have to confess that I wake up to dirty dishes almost every day. As a bartender, I come home late and just don't have the energy to face the kitchen mess after I've been facing messes all night at work. So usually I clean my kitchen first thing in the morning. Not the most glamorous way to start my day, but hey, it works.

  44. Hello, new follower here and I’d like to invite you to join me at my weekly Clever Chicks Blog Hop:

    I hope you can make it!


    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick

  45. In order to have my kitchen like yours I would simply have to live alone. Because I do not have a spirit of cooperation about the kitchen in our house. I'm usually at my wit's end because of it. If they want their bedrooms and office and the basement and/or living room & family room to be a mess, I can better deal with it. But the kitchens and bathrooms drive me crazy!

    I have to totally lose my cool for anyone to care. It's actually the biggest complaint I have about my family, which makes me pretty lucky.


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