Cleaning the kitchen is a chore — literally. Actually, it's a bunch of little annoying chores that add up to one big annoying chore! Most of these little tasks are totally thankless (see: emptying the trash, cleaning grout), while others give you a lot of satisfaction for not so much effort.
These are the five kitchen cleanups that will make you the happiest.
1. Clearing the counters.
Empty counter space can be very soothing. When you walk into a kitchen and every surface is covered with clutter, it's stressful. While it's basically impossible to have totally clear countertops (hello, microwave and drying rack!), try to cut back on what you keep out. Put away any small appliances you don't really need to have out and stuff that's sitting out to dry. Relocate the fruit bowl to the dining table. Cut back to just one crock full of utensils. Find a new home for your pile of papers. Then walk into your kitchen and say ahhhhh.
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2. Wiping down the stovetop.
Most people regularly wipe down the countertops after they're done cooking, but it's easy to forget the stovetop — I get it, sometimes it's still hot when you're cleaning up from dinner, and other times it's sort of hidden under your drying cookware. But if your stovetop is clean, your whole kitchen feels cleaner. And it's easiest to clean right after you're done using it, before any old spills have baked in place.
For a deeper clean: How To Clean a Glass Electric Stovetop
3. Putting away the dishes.
I find putting away dishes pretty tedious, but this is a chore that tends to be willfully ignored until the sink is full of dirty dishes waiting to get cleaned. So this is more of an indirect contributor to your happiness. If you empty the dishwasher and the dish rack, then there's room for the dirty dishes to get clean. It doesn't take that long. Just do it and you'll be glad you did.
4. Sweeping the floors.
This is another task that's easy to forget at the end of dinner cleanup that makes a huge difference. It's always surprising how many little bits of food end up on the floor while you cook. And sweeping takes, what, five minutes? You get the satisfaction of gathering up that pile of dirt. And the whole kitchen looks brighter afterwards.
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5. Clearing the junk drawer.
Can this count as a guilty pleasure? Does anyone else love to dump the whole thing out, poke through all random doodads, and sort everything back into little compartments? Cleaning out the junk drawer is great because it honestly only takes about 15 minutes and you feel so accomplished afterwards. Plus, you always discover some little treasure — a ticket stub or a lost earring or a whole dollar — that makes you happy.
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What little kitchen cleaning tasks make you the happiest?