5 Cleaning and Organizing Habits You Should Have by the Time You’re 30

published Oct 2, 2019
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

What is it about turning 30 that feels extra momentous? The start of a fresh decade is the perfect time to take stock of your home routines and instill some new rhythms in your life — especially in the kitchen. Not only will better cleaning and organizing habits keep your kitchen clutter-free, but they’ll also streamline your cooking process and, as a bonus, encourage you to be in the kitchen more!

Whether you’re about to turn 30 or you’ve rounded the bend already, here are some kitchen habits you should have already adopted. If you haven’t, it’s not too late!

Credit: Lauren Volo

1. Washing your dishes as soon as you use them.

No one likes to wake up in the morning to a sink full of dishes. Say “hello” to a new phase of adulting and make a habit of washing your dishes after every meal. Load the dishwasher throughout the day and hand-wash whatever can’t go in there (or just do the hand-washing part if you don’t have a dishwasher!). Run the dishwasher before you go to bed and make sure the sink is emptied and wiped down.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

2. Putting your dishes away every morning

Another common offender: A rack (or dishwasher) full of dry dishes. Get in the habit of emptying the dish rack and the dishwasher (again, if you have one) every morning. Yes, you have time: Just do it while your coffee brews. If something isn’t dry yet, we’ll make an exception and let you leave it out or you can always just dry it with a dish towel. (Don’t put things away while they’re wet, as that’s an open invitation for mold!)

Credit: Joe Lingeman

3. Putting your groceries away immediately.

The same principle applies here: A cluttered kitchen is no fun to be in, so why leave groceries on the counter after you bring them home? It’s not enough to just put the cold stuff away, either. Find a home for everything — including shelf-stable items.

4. Keeping clutter off your counters.

No matter how hard we try, it seems the kitchen becomes a magnet for receipts, mail, and other random knick-knacks that belong in a different room. To prevent counter clutter from building up, keep a bin or basket in a separate area of the house (like your entryway, mud room, office, or even the stairs) for random items like these, then go through them once a week, tossing what you don’t need and organizing what you do. 

Then, when it comes to the kitchen stuff — the small appliances, tools, gadgets, and stuff that actually belongs in the kitchen — think about what actually needs to be on the counter versus what can be put away so that it’s out of sight.

Related: 8 Things You Should Never Store on Your Countertops

5. Rotating seasonal items quarterly.

If they’re just taking up space in your cabinets and drawers, why keep the turkey baster and lemonade pitcher front and center year-round? To reduce crowding in your kitchen, think about cycling through seasonal items by storing things you won’t use in the next few months elsewhere, in a labeled bin. Just like that, you have more space!

We’re sure there are more! What else should be on this list?