The 1-Second Kitchen Cleaning Trick Your Future Self Will Thank You For (Do It Now!)

published Apr 21, 2024
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Credit: Carina Romano

Your evening meal is over, your family is fed and happy, and each night, just like clockwork, that time of day inevitably rolls around — the time to “put your kitchen to bed,” aka closing the kitchen for the night. “At home, putting the kitchen to bed is your way of tidying things up for future you in the morning,”  explains Jean Prominski, a professional home organizer and owner of Seattle Sparkle. “It’s a simple way to wake up with a sense of accomplishment rather than waking up to a mess to clean up.” But there’s one important step you might be skipping.

While cleaning the kitchen after a meal at the very end of the day might seem like a pile of daunting cleaning tasks at first — you’re tired, the kitchen is a mess, and bedtime is rapidly approaching — taking steps to tidy up the kitchen before bed guarantees the start of your next day runs more smoothly. “Priming your day in this way will have a ripple effect throughout the rest of your day, making it easier to get things done because you’ve started your day on such a positive note,” says Prominski. 

As you’re running through your list of kitchen closure duties (putting away leftover food, running the dishwasher, wiping down the countertops, taking out the trash, etc.) it’s essential to remember this one oft-forgotten step: Always replace the bag in the kitchen trash can before you take the garbage out. 

Chances are, you know the frustration of throwing away food scraps or a sticky mess in a can with no liner. “No one likes having a handful of trash ready to throw out but needing to put it down to replace the bag,” Prominski says. After replacing the trash can liner, take the time to inventory all the other kitchen items that might need replenishing. “This is a good opportunity to restock paper towels, snacks, and items that have been purchased in bulk where the backstock is stored elsewhere,” she says. These simple steps of replacing the trash can liner and re-upping on items that are low ensure processes run as they should the next day with fewer hold-ups.

Taking even just a few minutes (or seconds!) in the evening to replace that trash bag and backstock items can help your next morning start on the right foot. “Many people have challenges getting out of the house on time, and the fewer steps that need to be done in the morning will make mornings more calm,” explains Prominski. And a calm morning is a welcome reward for the labor of taking a few simple steps to prepare and stock up the night before. Pretty soon, it’ll become second nature — and you’ll be thanking yourself for adding this tiny step to your routine.