Clean Kitchen Counters

Kitchen counters attract a lot of junk, so get rid of each mess before it accumulates to become an overwhelming task.

The family kitchen is the center for many discussions, meetings, and meals. This area attracts frequent traffic throughout the day and as a result, may become a depository for various types of litter, debris, and miscellaneous items like mail, schoolbooks, or newspapers. The cumulative mess can become another job for someone to tackle before a meal can be prepared or served.

To keep your kitchen counter neat and clean, get in the habit of following a few basic tips like these:

1. Each person should handle their own dishes. Tell every family member to place dirty dishes after eating in the dishwasher, and show them how to load the items properly. If you don't have a dishwasher, have them set soiled tableware in the kitchen sink or the adjacent counter and arrange a schedule so that someone washes and dries dishes after each meal or at least once a day. That will keep them from stacking up and encroaching on the surrounding counter space. The dishwasher of the day should take up the serving dishes and cooking pans to keep them from collecting on the counter as well.

2. Designate another place for the daily newspaper and mail. A foyer table or an alcove desk makes a helpful out-of-the-way place for items like these where they can be quickly found when needed and stay free of kitchen counter moisture and crumbs. Remind family members who bring in the mail or paper to leave them in the new area from now on.

3. Put away unused appliances. If you have coffee only on Saturday mornings, wash it after each use and set it in a cupboard for the rest of the week. This will free up counter space that can make your kitchen look neater and larger. Do the same with other appliances that you seldom use, such as the crock pot, toaster, or blender. If you must leave them on the counter due to limited cupboard space, buy or make attractive but simple covers for them to keep them from getting dusty and to blend in more with a unified decor theme.

4. Wipe up spills and crumbs immediately. Train the kids to clean up after themselves when fixing a snack or helping with dinner. Toaster crumbs, milk spills, or jelly-coated knives should be cleaned up promptly, not left for someone else to take care of. They should not leave school papers or homework assignments on the counter, either, but keep them secure in a book bag or on a desk in their rooms.

5. Put away all food items. Don't leave butter dishes, salt and pepper shakers, a loaf of bread, a package of cookies, or other foodstuffs sitting out. Not only can this detract from preserving their wholesome and fresh qualities, they make for unsightly additions to the counter space. Find places for items like these in cupboards, a bread storage box, or in the refrigerator, and remind everyone to put things away after using them.

A clean, neat kitchen counter creates a sense of order that will help everyone feel better about the house and their schedules. You can also use this vital space as a means of teaching children how to look after themselves and contribute to an organized household.

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