Manage Your House

Contain Chaos in Your Kitchen, Control Stress Everywhere Else!

Preventing your kitchen from falling into messiness, and staying on top of meal planning and laundry, are easier than you think. Here, the FlyLady outlines simple steps to a cleaner home.

Cartoon cleaning supplies to keep the kitchen clean
Cartoon cleaning supplies

When the kitchen is clean, the rest of the house stays clean, too. In other words, as the kitchen goes, so goes the house. A dirty kitchen infects all the other rooms of your home. Strive to keep the kitchen tidy. Here’s how:

  1. Empty the dishwasher first thing upon entering the kitchen. This way, you have a place for dirty dishes.
  2. Keep the sink spotless and shining. If the sink is clean, you are less likely to put a dirty dish in it.
  3. Use a clean dishcloth and dishrag every day.
  4. Get in the habit of drying your sink after every use with the clean dish cloth.
  5. Fill the sink with hot, soapy water when you start to cook. (This helps to clean as you go.) If you don’t, the dishes pile up! Swish them well and put them in the dishwasher. When you’re through cooking, all you have to do is load the dishwasher with the dishes from dinner.
  6. Deal with trash and recyclables in the kitchen as you finish your cooking.
  7. Shut the cabinet doors.
  8. Keep a can of Comet, a bottle of Windex, and cleaning towels handy (for the little spritz that keeps things shiny).
  9. Make table-clearing everyone’s job. Have each person take his or her own plate from the table to the kitchen. They should rake their scraps into the compost bin and put their plate into the dishwasher. This is something children can do!

[Free Download: 10 Ways to Get Organized This Weekend]

Menu Planning

It is tough, but give this a try. List every meal you’re going to cook for a month on a calendar, and you will have a journal of what to fix. From this journal, you can make menu cards and a grocery list.

Once you have the right food in your house, you are more apt to cook it. Knowing what is planned for the day keeps you on track. If we have to wonder about what to cook, we will probably go out.

Keep a master grocery list and a highlighter on your refrigerator. You can compile it by categories, alphabetically, or by the way your grocery store is laid out — whatever works for you! When you run low on something, highlight it on your list, then take the list to the grocery store on your shopping day.

Another tip: Clean out the refrigerator the day before you go grocery shopping. This gives you a neat place to put your food.

[Free Meal Planning Guide for ADHD Families]

The Laundry

Give your laundry the attention it deserves. If you don’t, you will pay later. It will pile up and get out of hand. Here are some tips:

Sort. If we have to sort the dirty clothes, it may take longer to put a load in the washer. We might decide not to do it at all. Try this: Have three baskets in the closet or wherever you keep dirty clothes — one for whites, one for colors, and one for delicate clothes that you don’t want to wash with other things. As you undress, place the dirty clothes in the proper basket, and hang up the items that can be worn again.

Wash. Do a load only if you have time to wash, dry, fold, and put away.

Dry. Take the clothes out of the dryer the minute you hear the buzzer. This saves you from ironing.

Fold. Fold the clothes as soon as you get them from the dryer.

Put the clothes away. No one likes to live out of a laundry basket. Have a place for everything, even if you have to label the drawers until you get used to putting clothes in the right place.

[Perfect Is Pointless: 16 Organization Rules You Can Follow]