Yet in the kitchen, it's easy to become wrapped up in big "projects." Dishes must be done in a single sitting (or at least a full sinkful at a time). All the cleaning has to be done at once. Restocking is often done irrespective of cleaning plans.
A little forethought and diligence can save so much time, stress, and effort! (ahem, talking to myself here)
Mondays are my primary housecleaning day. And it's good to have a day every week to getting major cleaning tasks done (like mopping and heavy vacuuming). Still there are things that need to be done daily (sweeping, dishes). As I sat scrubbing the high chair today (Monday), I reminded myself that I need to do a quick wipe down of that high chair every day. As my three year old has wanted more of my attention, I've had to learning that I can do just have the dishes at a time (or less). Sometimes I leave some dishes, pots, or the flat ware for another opportunity during the day.
All this is heading towards Spring Cleaning. For our household, Spring Cleaning is combined with cleaning and organization ahead of Passover, during which we can't have any food that is leavened, fermented, or capable of leavening something else (yeast, for example) in the house for a week. We can't eat any of it during that time either. This requires time, attention, cleaning, and organization. We aren't purists about cooking from scratch, so we have to look at the ingredients on food packages, which can take some concentration.
The last few years have taught me that purging the kitchen is a perfect precursor to this annual cleaning. It's so much easier to organize and scrub if you've already eaten most of the food you normally keep in the pantry! For us, February and March are not the time to stock up on things. It will just make life more complicated in April.
Streamlining is the friend of every housewife, but try not to put blinders on in the process. Housekeeping is dynamic!
- Stock up after you deep clean, not before. This way you have to move the least amount of stuff to clean.
- Have shopping day after cleaning day--when you know exactly what you need to buy, and have space cleared for all of it!
- Have laundry day after days when you clean or do a lot of cooking so that cleaning rags, towels, and aprons don't have to sit very long before washing!
- Set up your cleaning and cooking routines, not so that you can get them done in one short spurt of concentration, but so that there are plenty of opportunities to put the work aside for a few minutes. I'm actually in a phase of life where longer recipes are actually a good thing, because they have more stopping points.
- Holidays are a great time for cleaning, but not such a great time for shopping. Buy the food you'll need for the holiday, but save restocking for post-holiday sales (also when you won't have a turkey hogging all the space in your freezer!).
- Being a hostess is another opportunity to streamline. Do clean before receiving company, but avoid bulk shopping until after they leave, especially if any of your guests have food allergies. (Buying half a gallon of peanut butter is not a good idea when you are expecting a guest with peanut allergies, for example)
- Do clean right before you go on vacation (who wants to come home to a dirty or smelly house?!)
- Do menu plan before vacation, so that you'll have an action plan based on what's on hand when you get home
- Do not do major cooking or shopping before vacation. You don't want that food to spoil, and you can't respond to power outages if you're out of town!
In other words, when planning your weekly/seasonal tasks, don't just look at your weekly appointments, look at the larger context of your life, and work your cooking and cleaning around it.
Plan for the interruptions, and the interruptions will enrich your day/week/month.
This has been linked to Kitchen Tip Tuesday from Tammy's Recipes, hosted this week at Stacey Makes Cents.