12 Months of Resolutions for a Cleaner, Happier Kitchen

published Jan 2, 2015
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(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

I have this thing. You see, I tend to stress myself out by thinking about everything that needs to happen in my home, or more specifically, my kitchen, all at once. It’s overwhelming to most, so instead, I break it down, month by month. We’ll call them my monthly kitchen resolutions.

Here are twelve kitchen resolutions, one for each month of the year, that will keep your kitchen happy, organized, and clean.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

There are just some tasks that require a little bit more effort in the kitchen. I’m not talking about doing the dishes or sweeping the floors. I’m speaking about the items that require you to be doing nothing else at the same time.

Don’t freak out, you don’t have to do them all at once, instead, follow this quick plan to tackle one a month to keep your kitchen on schedule just like clockwork!


  • Clean up Storage Containers: Although it always needs major straightening, I overhaul my Tupperware and food storage containers every winter, as there’s an influx of spare containers from friends’ gifts of cookies and my hodgepodge of current items.


  • Clean out the Baking Cabinet: You might not have a full-out baking cabinet; you might just have a shelf instead, but it’s time to sort through all those random bags of flour and weird sugars you just had to have, and rescue the stray candy canes from the back. If you won’t use them in three months, ditch them now, because there’s nothing sadder than finding last year’s candy canes (which you were obviously going to break up and sprinkle on top of frosted brownies) the year after.


  • Clean the Oven! Before the temperatures heat up, now’s the time to get to scrubbing your oven. It’s easier than you think once you’re “in the cleaning groove,” and you’ll thank yourself later for the little extra elbow grease!


  • Add a Dose of Fresh Personality: With spring in the air, it’s time to push a little more personality back into the workhorse of the home. Take a good look at the artwork, mirrors, lighting, and trinkets you keep in this space. Buy something new, get rid of something old, add curtains, go thrift store shopping for an old rug. Be critical and make it a space you truly love!


  • Do a Pantry Overhaul Have you been wanting new clear containers for bulk grains? What about OCD labels for everything? Do you just need to rotate your cans of green beans or add a little shelf paper? Analyze how you’re using the space and how it could be better!


  • Clean Your Vents: If you stop to think about the dusty air or the amount of Cheerios that are trapped inside those things, you’ll never set foot in your space again. Okay, that’s dramatic, but let’s face it — we all just thought about how you see dust in the sunlight and it feels a little less than sanitary. Dust them out and freshen things up!


  • Clean Out Lower Cabinets: No one likes to clean out lower cabinets. I’m sorry, if you do, please let us know because I’d like to meet you and give you a high five and then a pair of knee pads. Make sure these hard-to-reach spots are pulling double duty on storage while still being the easiest to access for your household needs.


  • Pull Out and Clean Behind the Appliances: There’s some seriously icky stuff living under and behind your appliances. Missing that one favorite spatula? Can’t find the fry you know you dropped? Worried about the dust on your refrigerator coils? Well now is the time!


  • Purge Your Glassware: If your house is like mine, post-summer you have a weird accumulation of insulated beverage containers — some with lids and some without, some with straws and some without. Random jelly jars and canning jars make their way in, so take a moment before the holidays to sort back through and donate what isn’t working for you anymore.


  • Baseboards and Toothbrushes: Before the holiday season is truly upon us, take this small fleeting moment to deep-clean your baseboards and floors. No, you don’t really have to use a toothbrush, but if your mother-in-law would and you’re inviting her over for a holiday meal, I wouldn’t rule out the option!


  • Face your Fridge: With an influx of food about to happen, now is the time to be truly ruthless in your condiment clean-out and your freezer fiasco. If you haven’t used it in three months or if it’s near expiration, either make a plan to use it within a week or toss it out. It’ll save you the frustration later when you find yourself balancing an avocado on top of your ketchup and hoping it doesn’t fall when you open the door later.


  • Enjoy Your Space! Although it goes against the idea of having something to do every month, I’d much rather take a month off from all cleaning responsibilities (well, major ones anyway) and just enjoy my space. Bake up a storm and know that you’ll get back around to that stray chocolate chip under the stove when the time comes!

Do you feel there’s something else that should be added to this list? What items do you freak out about and have to tackle all at once (usually 20 minutes before you have to make dinner)? Let us know below!