50 Tiny Things You Can Do for Your Kitchen in Less than an Hour

updated Nov 1, 2019
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

Good morning! It’s an especially good morning because most of us got back that wonderful extra hour that spring stole from us. While we get to “fall back,” lots of you might want to use those extra 60 minutes to catch up on sleep. Or, well, to clean and organize your kitchen!

If you have a circadian rhythm that doesn’t subscribe to things like “time changes,” or if you have kids that don’t either, you might as well put that extra hour to use another way. 

Here are 50 small things you can do for your kitchen, just in time for its busiest season. Each one can be done in less than 60 minutes so you’ll still get a bit of bonus time today.

  1. Run a lemon through the garbage disposal. It’ll freshen the drain right up with a pleasant citrus scent. If you want, take the opportunity to thoroughly clean your garbage disposal
  2. Empty out the drain pan under the water dispenser of your fridge. Or at least sop up the extra water. To go the extra mile, clean it and clean underneath it. 
  3. Clean your stand mixer. Dust it, wipe it down, and run a toothpick in the nooks and crannies. 
  4. Replace the burnt-out lightbulbs in your under-cabinet lights. You’ll need to see what you’re doing when it’s time to roll out that pie dough for Thanksgiving!
  5. Take inventory of what’s in your freezer. By knowing what you have, you can avoid buying doubles and can plan to use things up, so you have more space for holiday food. 
  6. Polish your stainless appliances, including the small ones. Don’t give all your love to just the fridge and dishwasher. Hit your toaster. The little patches of stainless steel on your stovetop and microwave want to shine, too. 
  7. Seal your granite. Sealing granite protects your countertop from the damage caused by absorbing oils, spills, and stains. 
  8. Clean underneath and behind your oven. Read more about your home’s “square graveyards” here
  9. Clean your refrigerator’s condenser coils. It will make your fridge more efficient and may even save on energy costs. 
  10. Declutter your mug collection. And make every day a “favorite mug day.” 
  11. Go through your teas. If you don’t like Good Earth now, you’re not going to wake up wanting it five weeks from now.
  12. Clean out your refrigerator. This might seem like a huge task, but you really can do it in about half an hour. 
  13. Go through your leftovers. With any luck, you’ll find some you can eat before they go bad. 
  14. Match food storage containers with lids. Check out this $13 way to organize your lids for good. 
  15. Take inventory of your spices. Avoid the last-minute dash to the store for allspice by noticing now that you’re down to the dregs. 
  16. Wipe all the lids of your condiments. And while you’re at it, clean out your condiment collection
  17. Scrub your sink. We’re partial to Bar Keeper’s Friend
  18. Oil your cutting boards. Keep these kitchen beauties in their best (and safest) condition. 
  19. Clean your faucet with a detail scrub brush. Get those seams and that pesky hard water-stained rim where the faucet meets the countertop. 
  20. Organize your under-sink area. Make it easier to reach under your sink for the sink stopper, disinfectant, or heavy-duty scrubber. 
  21. Clean your microwave. Choose from one of these four easy ways to do it. 
  22. Throw out five expired items from your pantry. Make a little bit of room in there by tossing stuff that’s only taking up real estate. 
  23. Sweep the floor. Even if you vacuum regularly, sweeping allows you to get the dirt and debris that hangs out in your kick space. 
  24. Wet mop your kitchen floor. Vacuuming is great and spray mops are so very convenient, but nothing gets a kitchen floor really clean like a good old-fashioned wet mop can. 
  25. Wipe down your cabinet doors. Cabinet doors don’t usually get much cleaning attention. Crossing this off your list will make your whole kitchen feel clean. Murphy’s Oil Soap seems to do the job best. 
  26. Empty your drawers and vacuum or wipe out any crumbs. You’d be surprised how many crumbs and stray hairs find their way into your drawers. 
  27. Wash out your trash can. It contains your kitchen’s dirtiest things and definitely needs a good cleaning, inside and out. I prefer to take care of this job outside, with a hose. 
  28. Clear off your countertops. Clutter on your countertops makes the whole kitchen feel like a mess. Take stock of what really needs to be out and put everything else away. 
  29. Clean out your junk drawer. Check this out for inspiration. 
  30. Refill your salt cellar and pepper grinder. Won’t it be nice to not run out when you’re in the middle of making dinner? 
  31. Clean your stovetop. Whether it’s a glass stovetop or a gas range, a clean stovetop will make you feel great next time you go to cook.  
  32. Wash your oven knobs. Take them off, if you can, and soak them in a bowl with sudsy dish soap. Or clean them with a rag and all-purpose cleaner. 
  33. Clear out takeout condiments, paper goods, and menus. Will you really remember to use that tiny paper pack of red chili pepper the next time you order pizza? 
  34. Sanitize your pets’ food bowls. You should be doing this regularly, but give these bowls an extra deep clean today with soap and hot, hot water. Bacteria can make your furry friends sick! 
  35. Clean any scuzzy-looking backsplash grout. Try using a small piece of Magic Eraser to wipe grubby grout clean. 
  36. Wash your range hood filter. You can complete the task with hot water, baking soda, dish soap, and a scrub brush. 
  37. Change your refrigerator’s water filter. If you have an in-fridge water dispenser, change the filter if it’s due. It’s easy to forget, but a dirty filter can not only fail to filter your water, but it can also introduce fungus and germs into the water you drink. 
  38. Run a cleaning tablet through your dishwasher. These Affresh dishwasher tablets are a bestseller on Amazon. 
  39. Clean papers and magnets off the front of the fridge. After a while you don’t even see them anymore, but you’ll definitely notice a difference when you clear them off. 
  40. Get your cast iron pan in the best shape of its life. Get your prized skillet in top form for browning meat and caramelizing onions. Check out this step-by-step guide. 
  41. Label your fridge. You know where everything goes. Labels will help point everyone else in the right direction, so your fridge stays organized. 
  42. Refill your soap dispensers. Fill hand soap and dish soap, so you don’t have to interrupt your dishwashing session when either one runs out. 
  43. Buy a bigger dish drying mat. They’re surprisingly hard to find, but come in so handy, especially when you have extra dishes generated by all that special holiday cooking. This one will fit your wine glasses and the large Dutch oven, as well as your dish rack.  
  44. Clean your dish drying rack. Speaking of dish racks, when was the last time you gave it a good scrub-down? 
  45. Set all the clocks to the same time. It’s the little things, right? Take the time-change occasion to set all your kitchen clocks to the same time. (Don’t forget your microwave.)
  46. Go through your dishes and toss anything that’s cracked. Get rid of anything that’s super chipped, while you’re at it.
  47. Run vinegar through your coffee maker. A machine that has water running through it once (or more!) a day needs a refresh.
  48. Clean out your bag of bags. Every kitchen has one. And you simply don’t need that many! Ideally, we’re talking about reusable totes here, so pick out your favorites and find new homes for the rest. (Homeless shelters often LOVE getting tote bag donations!)
  49. Wipe down the chairs around your kitchen table. When was the last time you did that?
  50. Line the top of your fridge and cabinets with newspaper or wax paper. Here’s why.

What are you doing with your bonus hour today?