Hate Cleaning the Kitchen? This One Little Thing Will Make It More Tolerable.

updated May 1, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Julia Steele)

Many of us don’t like cleaning the kitchen. Maybe it’s because cleaning is a straight-up chore, exacerbated by the fact that you’re mostly likely doing it at the end of the day when you’re exhausted and just want to chill. Or, if you’re someone who works from home or stays home with your children, it’s something you do several times a day and it still needs to be done at the end of the day. It sucks.

I often have trouble motivating to clean — especially because it seems like this huge, daunting task when I’m faced with a big pile of dishes and counters covered with food spills from making dinner and piles of food around the kitchen table too. But I’ve learned one trick that makes it more tolerable: I like to race against the clock.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Typically, I set a timer for five or 10 minutes. (It depends on the size of the mess I’m looking at!)

It doesn’t feel like much of a commitment because it’s barely any time — not even enough time to watch a an episode of The Good Place, but enough time to get something accomplished. I figure: I’ll do what I can in 10 minutes and then move on to something more fun. I set my phone and get to work.

And you know what? Seeing that countdown gets my adrenaline going the way competing in a sport does. I can actually feel the blood pumping, and I get kind of competitive about getting everything done before the timer goes off. There’s a gracefulness in sweeping the pans off the stove and into the sink, and a rhythm in scrubbing pots and rinsing one and moving on to the next. You find ways to be cleverly efficient by closing the dishwasher with one foot while you put something away in the cabinet. Somehow, the challenge of doing everything quickly makes the whole exercise feel almost balletic, instead of like a chore.

Often, everything is done with just seconds to spare. And it’s done well, too. I’m not cutting corners just to finish. Turns out, nightly cleanup honestly doesn’t take that long, if I can just get started!

As for bigger projects, like if guests are coming or I need to tackle the fridge shelves, I’m usually inspired to reset the timer for another 10 minutes when I hear the alarm, because I want to win at cleaning the kitchen — and I can certainly beat the clock the next time!