Before we decorated for Christmas right after Thanksgiving, we decided to clean our apartment thoroughly. It hadn’t had a deep clean in a while, and sometimes it can start to feel that tidying up equates to just putting things wherever they fit – shoving stuff in the closet, throwing things in the guest room, and so on. And in the end, that isn’t actually cleaning. So, before taking out all of our seasonal stuff, it was time for a real cleaning.
I know that a lot of people have guests at some point during the holiday season – whether they end up staying over or are just there for a party or gathering. I also know a lot of people travel over the holidays, and I personally hate leaving my space messy when I’m away, and it’s so nice coming back to a sparkling clean apartment. I decided to put together a holiday cleaning guide, room by room.
We started with the kitchen, working through it section by section. Take a look at my personal best practices for cleaning the kitchen for lasting and satisfying results.
The fridge – the first thing I cleaned was the fridge, because I felt like it was going to create a mess within itself pulling out all of the food that was in it. To be honest, it’d been awhile since our fridge was thoroughly cleaned, so I knew this was going to be a tall task. First, I went through the condiments and everything on the shelves on the door. After I reorganized those, I took everything off of the main shelves and put it all on the counter, creating a pile of things to be thrown out, methodically checking the expiration dates on everything. Then, I cleaned out the cheese, veggie, and meat drawers, throwing out old goods and putting anything to be kept on the counter. Once the fridge was mostly empty, I used Lysol Wipes to wipe down the shelves, then dried them with paper towel. Then, I placed the items to be kept back in the fridge, organizing them how I wanted to by shelf. It felt SO good to have the fridge look so clean and now I have been making a huge effort to keep it that way. All we really keep in our freezer is frozen meat and ice, so I didn’t need to clean that.
The cabinets – the cabinets were another item that I felt like was going to take quite a bit of time to clean up. Some of the cabinets had gotten disorganized and messy from us just nonchalantly putting things in there as they were used and cleaned. Not paying a ton of attention to whether they were being put away neatly. Namely, this applied to the tupperware and pots and pans cabinets. My boyfriend straightened out the pots and pans, stacking them by size and function. I took over the tupperware cabinet, moving the less-frequently used items to the top shelves and neatly stacking the items on the lower shelves. These were easier than I expected to clean up and I felt so much better knowing they were neat and tidy.
The pantry – so we don’t really have a pantry, just a lazy Susan cabinet where we keep most of our dry food goods. To be honest, I didn’t really need to clean this because it is kept pretty tidy. I use these organizer bins (they’re meant for in the fridge but are great for in cabinets or pantries, too!) for things in boxes, bags, and for spices. They keep things from floating around on the shelves and make it much easier to have one designated spot for each category of foods. That way, all of my spices aren’t miscellaneously peppered in with everything else, and when I need to use one I know exactly where to find them. Other than that, I just checked inventory of what we had and needed and checked the dates on a few things that needed to be tossed.
The sink – for the sink and the cabinet underneath it, this took a bit of work. First, I wiped down the sink with my wipes and got any gross little pieces of food stuck in the drain out of it to be thrown out. Next, I put my sponges either in the garbage or in the dishwasher to be cleaned – depending on how old and used they were. I always keep a stock of new sponges because I hate using old ones (I love the Scrub Daddy sponges). Under our sink we also keep a stock of plastic bags, which I went through to fold up and organize because they have a tendency to start taking over the cabinet (I also love these holders for extras, which are great in a closet or cabinet!). Finally, I went through my cleaning products and threw out anything that was empty or old, making note of anything that needed to be restocked.
Counters – am I the only one that feels like my counters always get dirty the moment after I clean them? The struggle is real. During this cleaning session, I took everything off the counters and wiped them down with Method All-Purpose Cleaning Spray (it smells so good!). So many crumbs and so much dust gets stuck behind things like my knife block – yuck! I also wiped down the microwave during this, since it sits on our counter (using the same spray!). Once my counters were sparkly clean, I put everything back where it belonged. I like using baskets to organize things like snacks that we frequently reach for. I love this stackable basket – we have one similar where we keep mail, gum, and other random things that don’t usually need to be immediately put away. It’d also be great for fresh fruit! I like baskets because it keeps things from just floating around – everything should have a home! Once everything was away, the counters were done and looked shiny and clean. Love that feeling!
Kitchen linens – this was the last part of the kitchen that I was concerned with. I went through and took our dish towels and threw them in the laundry, throwing out a few that were particularly ratty. I also put our reusable drying mats in the wash because they can get gross and smelly if they’re not washed regularly. I restocked our paper towel and napkin holder, making sure they were full. Finally, I put out a festive tea towel over our oven handle for the holiday season!
I love having a clean kitchen (even though the second I cook anything it gets messy and needs to be cleaned again!). I also love leaving candles out on my counter, for the holiday season I put out a Woodwick one and love the crackling sound it makes as it burns.
Later in the week, I will share a cleaning guide for other rooms in the house with my favorite cleaning products as well as the best organization products and tips.