There are some folks who seem to have immaculately clean kitchens at all times. Whether you’re over for a party or you swing by unannounced for a quick cup of coffee, their kitchens are always spotless — with gleaming countertops, floors you could eat off of, and everything in its place. How do these people manage to keep things so neat and tidy? They know to do these five things.
1. They clean continuously.
This isn’t as overwhelming as it sounds — and in the long run, it will actually make your life much easier. Just think about which is less work: Quickly wiping down your counter after cooking a meal or having to give the surface a deep clean because it hasn’t been scrubbed for weeks. The neatest homeowners know that a little bit of daily sprucing up goes a long way.
Make an effort to do the small things every day, like returning items to the pantry, taking out the recycling, sweeping the floors, and cleaning up spills as they happen. Stay on top of things and you’ll eliminate any need for an all-out cleaning day on Sunday.
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2. They keep an empty sink.
Never go to bed angry — or with dishes in the sink. If you’re wiped or just feeling a little lazy, you may be tempted to toss a dirty pan into the sink to soak and call it a night. But don’t! Because before you know it, one pan turns into five and you’re stuck dedicating a half hour to dish duty. The same goes for your dishwasher — either load it up and start a cycle before bed or, if you’ve got clean dishes on your hand, return them to the cabinets before calling it a night.
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3. They streamline their stuff.
Gadgets and gear accumulate quickly in the kitchen, especially if you have a large family or love to cook. And while a complete 16-piece pan set may seem like a good idea in the store, once you get it home, it’s likely to feel more like clutter than helpful equipment. Make your life a little easier (and neater) by streamlining your kitchen stuff (tools, pans, small appliances, etc.) to only what you need or use regularly.
A handy trick? Place a small piece of washi tape on the handle of pans or the cord of a small appliance and, when you use that item, remove the tape. Anything that still has tape on it six months from now can likely be gifted or donated to someone who needs it.
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4. They store things out of sight.
It’s important to store the stuff you do keep properly. You might be tempted to keep it all out on the counter where you can get to it, but if you’re in pursuit of a clean and clutter-free kitchen space, it’s probably not the best solution. Instead, opt for storing everything away in your cabinets or pantry, leaving only a few everyday necessities on your countertop (think: a crock with utensils and your coffee maker). The more you can hide away, the cleaner your kitchen will look on a daily basis. Just don’t shove everything into the first cabinet you open — put things away purposefully!
Related: 5 Things You Should Always Keep Within Arm’s Reach of the Stove
5. When in doubt, they fake it.
Everyone has those weeks when life just gets too busy. If you find yourself scrambling with 20 minutes until company comes over, just do what you need to do to make it look like things are under control. Get dirty dishes into the dishwasher (or stashed in the sink), wipe down the counters, and sweep the floor.
Just don’t do this: This Is the Worst Way to Clean Before Company Comes Over