The kitchen is the heart of the home. And all too often, its arteries get clogged with kid stuff, parent stuff, even pet stuff.
This is the room where everyone congregates, and as a result, it's usually one of the messiest rooms in the house.
Yet it's also the place where we gather at the end of each day (as often as we can, anyway) to break bread, wind down, and refuel.
It's these activities especially that require an elevated level of cleanliness and organization. Which is why family housecleaning and setting rules of engagement here have to come into play.
These 10 rules can help you declutter this room and keep it clean.
Don't allow the dropping off (dumping) of anything on the kitchen counters or table when you come in the door. The kitchen is not a dumping zone.
To prevent dumping here, create an organized coming home center where the day's items can be temporarily stashed and kept out of the way until needed.
Having everyone hand over shoes at the door goes a long way toward keeping carpet and floor cleaning to a minimum. Because as we know, the first place everyone goes once inside the front door is the room where the snacks are. This is a great place to stop dirt in its tracks.
In addition to being able to monitor what the kids eat, this simple rule keeps the whole house cleaner, too.
If you're old enough to grab your own snack or meal, you're required to put your dishes away and wipe down the prep area or cook top. (See chores for kids by age.)
Always put dirty dishes into the dishwasher, not the sink. The dishwasher uses less water than washing dishes by hand. Hand wash only the larger, bulkier items that won't fit, or shouldn't be put in (wooden items), the dishwasher.
Crummy way to live, with food all over the counter tops. Although insects don't necessarily think this way. (Need I say more?)
Kids - and some grown-ups - have a habit of leaving cabinet doors open after perusing the contents inside. Nip this one in the bud. Make it a rule everyone is required to close cabinet doors they've opened. Ditto for drawers.
It's simply polite, and respectful to the chef du jour.
If kids must receive permission for these items, parents can keep tabs on family nutrition easier.
If you eat at, and can reach the counter, bus your own plate. It's only fair, after all, that everyone pitches in. (See 4 above.)
About the Author
Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.