Before you start scrubbing, there's some things you should know.
Spring Cleaning
Credit: heshphoto/Getty Images

‘Tis the season for a fresh, clean slate, and what better room in your house to get the party started than the kitchen, right? Before you find yourself in a full blown tizzy because you’re stressing over all the tasks that are required to do a thorough, deep clean of your entire kitchen, might I offer that you...don’t. Seriously, once you get started (get some music or your favorite podcast going), it can be quite a cathartic activity. In order to make sure that your cleaning efforts are maximized as much as possible, let’s run through some basic do’s and don’ts when it comes time to give your sacred space of cooking and eating a good ol’ scrub.

DO Go from Top to Bottom

If there’s any lesson that you don’t want to learn the hard way, it’s that you should always clean from top to bottom. Dust the top of your cabinets, window sills, and refrigerator. Wipe away crumbs from the counter (and any containers that might be sitting on those counters) and scrub off any gunk on the walls. Don’t worry about dirtying the floor during all of this, because that’s the last step. Once you’ve covered all the surfaces above ground, then and only then are you good to hit the floor.

DO Throw Away Items That You No Longer Use

In the same way that a deep dive through your closet means asking yourself the tough introspective questions like “does this crop top suit me in my adult life?” or “have I been able to fit into these jeans since high school?” (or is that just me?), you should be asking yourself the same things about the items in your kitchen. Remember, you can’t organize a space until you’ve purged it. If your pantry is full of canned items that you haven’t touched (and likely never will), then go ahead and donate them (if they’re not expired). The same goes for pots and pans. Have you been avoiding that one nonstick because it lost its nice surface ages ago? Toss it. Are you the proud owner of two identical 10-inch cast-irons? Maybe you only need one. Keep what you use, toss (or donate) what you don’t. End of story.

DO Grab a Buddy

You know what makes long, laborious tasks seem way more manageable? A helper! Sure, it may not be the most exciting thing for your friends or family members to do with their free time, but if you offer to return the favor to their living space or cook them a beautiful meal when the kitchen is back to it’s prime condition, they can’t say no to an offer like that. And if your kitchen is in serious need of a face lift and you’re not sure that your friends or family are up to the challenge, hire a professional. It might be a minor blow to the wallet, but investing in a clean space is not a bad way to spend your money.

DON'T Avoid Tasks That Require Extra Time

Okay, I know this is a hard one, but I promise you that it’s nothing more than a little tough love. Sure, it’s understandable to not be excited about cleaning the oven, rearranging the spice cabinet, going through the shelves on the fridge, or giving the burners a good scrub. However, if not now, when?! Plan to accomplish as much as you can (if you’ve got a day to dedicate to cleaning, then you should), and stay focused and determined to get your entire to-do list done.

DON'T Overlook the Small Things

Yes, the big tasks are the ones that require the most motivation, but it’s important to keep in mind that it’s the little things that will take your kitchen from looking clean to immaculately polished and pristine (we’re going for the latter, people!). That means showing some TLC to wall switches, baseboards, smaller appliances, pet bowls on the floor, cabinet door knobs–basically, assume anything that can be scuffed up from your day-to-day life in the kitchen, is scuffed up. Give it a quick wipe down, why don’t you?

DON'T Transfer Items to Long Term “Storage”

When it comes to seasonal items, it’s okay to tuck these sorts of decorations or special occasion items into the corner of your attic or garage. However, if you come across items in your kitchen that you’re not exactly sure what to do with, don’t simply tuck them away to a hidden place and deal with them another time. They’re only going to continue to take up valuable space in their weird state of limbo. Either trash it or find a place for it in your kitchen. Like a bandaid, you just need to rip it right off. Don’t drag out the process of getting rid of something by holding onto it for years.

By Sara Tane and Sara Tane