Why You Should Shut Down Your Kitchen Every Night (and How to Do It!)

updated Feb 3, 2020
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If the simple task of making your bed in the morning is as life-changing for you as experts promise it is, I’d like to suggest that you also start shutting down your kitchen.

In a now-famous University of Texas commencement speech given by retired U.S. Navy Admiral Seal William H. McCraven, he said: 

“If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”

The practice of shutting down the kitchen has a similar result on your cooking life and the overall state of your home. Walking into a disheveled kitchen in the morning won’t do anything to uplift your mood, and, if you’re anything like me, may actually make you feel irritated and dragged down. 

On the other hand, being greeted by a sharply in-order kitchen as you stumble to the coffee pot could feel like one of the first nudges in the right direction of your day. It’s not only ready for you to prepare a nourishing breakfast, but it also communicates that you’re ahead of the game, ready to go. Today is a fresh start and nothing from yesterday is going to hold you back. 

This may seem like a lot for the state of a kitchen to convey, but can we or can we not use all the help we can to feel and stay uplifted? I say yes! And I say yes to doing everything I can to make my kitchen make me feel this way. So I shut it down every night, which merely means I get it in its best form to function at its optimum the next day.

Shutting down the kitchen entails a level of cleaning that’s somewhere between post-meal clean-up and a thorough kitchen deep-clean. Here’s my procedure: 

  • Follow your usual after-dinner cleaning routine, including washing all the dishes and wiping the table. 
  • Start the dishwasher or set it to start in a few hours. 
  • Clear off any clutter that’s still on your counter. 
  • Spray the counters with a cleaning spray and wipe them down. 
  • Buff dry and polish with a microfiber cloth. 
  • Wipe your stovetop. 
  • Scrub your sink with a non-abrasive scrubbing cleanser.
  • Spray a disinfectant on your sink and/or counters as necessary. 
  • Replace used dish rags with fresh ones. 
  • See if your hand or dish towels also need to be replaced. 
  • Vacuum or sweep the floor and include a quick once-over with a spray mop every two to three days. 

This sounds like a lot, but I’m willing to bet that you already do most of this. And from to start to finish, it’ll only take you a few minutes. You can even reward yourself with a glass of wine (or cup of tea!) when you’re done. (Just clean the glass when you’re done!) Morning You will be so grateful for Last Night You!