Updated: Oct 21, 2020
so I was asked what exactly I'm using for the cleaning mentioned in this post...so I've updated some links below. Total transparency, these are affiliate links so if you use them I would get a % commission. You don't have to use my link, but that won't change that these are my go-to products and my FAVORITE scent.
So, continuing on with the 4th Qtr reset theme, let's talk about how declutter promotes rest and mental health. I think it's a necessary activity to declutter or deep clean at certain times of the year. It definitely helps with rest and anxiety for me. Especially as we approach the holiday. While this year, I won't be doing much entertaining with extended family and friends in our home, I still plan to enjoy some level of holiday festivities with my immediate family. Before getting into whatever that will look like, I want to make sure that my home and personal spaces are organized and available to receive whatever the events will bring. Because of that I want to highlight 3 spaces that I consider priority when it's time to declutter and organize for fall. Those spaces are: 1. The Kitchen 2. The Bathroom and 3. The Closets (this is really more than one room but we'll cross that bridge when we get there).
This week I want to cover the KITCHEN. The heartbeat of our home is really our kitchen. So keeping it clean and organized is a reflection of what our family is all about. Hopefully if that is a similar representation of your home, some of these tips will prove helpful to you.
THE KITCHEN - For me, making sure the primary elements of my kitchen are clean and organized are really substantial for me. I tend not to be able to relax knowing there is a sink full of dishes, dishes on the counter, old food in the fridge or a pantry that is out of sorts. So a couple of things I try to focus in on specifically around the fall, just to make sure I'm totally prepared for holiday festivities and year end transitions.
Dishes - For me, there is something about all white dishes. It's just clean, symmetric and for me it's aesthetically pleasing to open a cabinet and everything is fresh and white. Now, granted I do have some plastic tumblers and some individual pieces that come from my mom and they are quite colorful. So it's important to make sure that those items are not intermingling with my actual dishware. I also like to make sure any storage containers have matching lids and still in overall good condition. I've tried to get rid of any plastic containers, but somehow a random to go container finds it way into the cabinet. Containers that are stained get tossed and/or replaced. Plates that find their way home (my son is notorious for eating at a friends house and bringing home to-go plates). Those get collected, returned or donated. This phase of the clean up is all about reconciliation. Reconciling missed-matches and removing things that are out of place.
Next are my drawers - I love fall and holiday baking. So I have a bunch of rolling pins, cake accessories, cookie cutters and speciality items that can easily take over. I'm notorious for collecting new items in those post and pre season sales and not always the best at making sure there are no duplicates. So before the season kicks off, I make sure I don't have too much of one thing. I also make sure nothing is damaged, we still like it, or needs to be retired (because we don't like it or we used it to death). I'm also looking at utensils. I get rid of old, bent (yep. cheaper forks tend to have a shorter lifespan) forks. I try to at least have a matching set of 6. That's utensils, plates, glasses and mugs. Our family is a family of 6 and dinners with friends is usually 6. So 6 is a good number for me. I'm also emptying utensil organizers to make sure they aren't full of crumbs or twist-ties. I just clean them out period. The final drawer clean is the legendary junk drawer (insert maniacal music here). This is when I pull in my husband. This drawer is all his domain. My husband and our kids. This is where extra screws, nails, Allan Wrenches and tons of dipping sauces from fast food restaurants live. This part of the cleaning is called secrets revealed.
OK, the Pantry is next - So you should know I plan to spend time digging deep into each one of these and the Pantry is a fun topic for me. I try to organize my pantry frequently. But for Fall I know what I plan to load it up with, so I show it extra attention. You know those plastic grocery bags, and the reusable shopping bags? I probably have 500. No lie. As much as I tell my family to recycle the plastic ones or use the reusable bags, we always get more plastic bags. So I end up going through all the reusable bags that don't get much usage....to look for hidden plastic bags lol. I also look at canned goods and dry goods. While they have an extended shelf life, I tend to have boxes of pasta that don't have enough for a serving. Dried beans that are a single serving because I made a big pot of something but didn't need the entire bag or because I used different types of beans...blah. Snack bags are another pain point. Chips, pretzels, cookies. Everyone brings home their favorites but leaves the extras behind to get stale. We tend to have old crackers on a shelf that I can't see because I'm not quite 5ft tall. We have to get rid of the stale food and make sure the good stuff is in it's proper place. This part of the cleaning is out with the old and in with the new. We'll talk about storage bins and containers and organizational tools later. But for now, this is all about the declutter first and foremost.
Finally miscellaneous - Cleaning supplies, paper products and miscellaneous kitchen items. Things like dish liquid, pods, scrubbers, parchment paper, foil, freezer bags...all that stuff. I make sure I'm not low on that stuff for baking marathons...parchment is a must have in my kitchen. My dishwasher gets a lot of work, so pods and drying liquid are a must. Oh...and I make sure we have enough trash bags, paper towels and Mrs. Myers cleaning supplies. I do subscribe to Grove Collaborative to keep me on task with alot of this but I've also purchased individual products when I'm in a pinch and can't wait for my grove delivery. I subscribe to Grove and anyone who does gets a link to share with friends...feel free to the use the link attached for a nice discount on your first purchase!! If you want to get your products bit faster and you are a Prime user, check out the links to my favorite Mrs. Meyers cleaning products. Think about what's important in your kitchen for your family? Maybe your kids, you or your spouse packs a lunch so you need a section for lunch boxes, snacks and sandwich bags or containers. Or maybe there is a section in the pantry to organize juice boxes or apple sauce? This section is called whatever is left!
A well stocked kitchen any time of the year is essential but using my 4th qtr schedule definitely provides me with some sanity. For me personally. an organized space really calms me. When I know the kitchen is clean, no food or messiness is on the table or crumbs on the floor. It helps me feel like I've accomplished something at the end of the day. And cleaning satisfies me!! I don't know, like maybe I can scrub away the cares of the day or something.
When I open a cabinet or go in my pantry and things are all in their designated place...as a mom and a wife (and as a project manager), I feel like I've laid the foundation for a productive day. AAAANNND I'm extremely controlling and a little bit OCD...so for me, order helps me relax. Deeply relax lol.
But you don't have to be as intense as I am to appreciate a clean kitchen. Once your done, that well deserved glass of whatever will be most appropriate as you settle into a comfy spot to enjoy your massive accomplishment.
I'm gonna stop just short of guaranteeing that after this, you will definitely feel less anxious, offload some stress, or just feel so exhausted you shower and head right to bed if you don't fall asleep right after. But I won't guarantee...but if you don't, I definitely want to know.
So, stick around we're going deep during the 4th quarter guys. Stay tuned for so much to come out of what I'll call the 4th Qtr Refresh Series!! This is Part I.
I'm looking forward to hearing if you tried any of these tips and how you felt afterwards. I wish you rest, peace and total organization. Remember, I believe we can have both a career and life that we design...and it can start in our kitchen (and include some good rest aftewards).
Talk to you soon. Happy Fall.