Tidy in Ten – Week 7: Kitchen (Maintain)

We’re going back to the basics this week. Despite the kitchen being one of the easier areas in the home to find time for, it is often neglected. These tasks can be mundane, icky, or down right scary. But, they can also be tackled in tiny chunks of time.


  • Counters
  • Paper / mail
  • Dishes


These tasks are perfect for small blocks of time. They do not need to be completed in one sitting, nor do they require a lot of brain power or focus. Find little pockets of time to chip away at kitchen maintenance, such as


  • dinner is cooking
  • waiting on the microwave to finish
  • the kids are eating snack/finishing their meal (if anything like my son, dinner can last over an hour!)
  • waiting for a delivery
  • waiting for the kids to get off the bus


  • To clear your counters, try this method:
    • 1) Remove any trash
    • 2) Collect items that need to be relocated outside of the kitchen. Group them together and take them with you the next time you head towards their intended location.
    • 3) Put away kitchen items
  • Address papers as their own category, separate from clearing counters. Tackle just a few papers at a time. It’s better to start too small in this scenario. You can always go back for more.
    • Sort the papers into 3 piles: 1) dispose 2) action and 3) file
    • Address each of the 3 piles
    • Time and energy permitting, collect another stack of papers and start the process again.
  • Wash, dry, and put away dishes according to your kitchen setup (sink, dishwasher, drying rack, etc.) It’s likely there is an optimal order of operations for this process (…is my math background showing 😉 ). For example, put away clean dishes before addressing dirty dishes.

    Here’s the routine my household uses and how it can so easily fall apart.
    • Optimal routine example: 1) Empty drying racks 2) Empty dishwasher, which may require some items to be moved to the drying rack 3) Load dishwasher 4) Hand wash remaining specialty items
      (In my house, I often do steps 1 and 2 in the morning, then my husband does steps 3 and 4 throughout the day.)
    • Vicious cycle example: 1) I don’t empty drying racks / dishwasher in a timely manner 2) Husband hand washes dishes and loads the wet dishes atop the existing items in drying rack 3) I go to empty drying rack but now it’s all wet. I have no where to air dry unloaded dishwasher items, drying rack and dishwasher do not get unloaded 4) Dishwasher is still full, so husband hand washes dishes again, piling up the almost dry drying rack … repeat. 🤦
      Quite literally, the order in which my household handles clean versus dirty dishes

Stay tuned for our last two installments in the series, where we will de-clutter medicine and talk laundry.

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