Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spring Cleaning: Kitchen

Seasonal Striped Dishcloths, at Williams-Sonoma

Today I'm tackling the Spring Cleaning of my kitchen. I'll be thorough, but I won't stress about it or agonize. I can make today fun by watching a movie on my kitchen TV, playing fun music, drinking delicious iced tea, and switching to my favorite white wine later in the evening as I work.

Keep in mind that in our spring cleaning, we're not housekeeping. We're homemaking. And as the kitchen is the heart of the home, today's is the most important spring cleaning project of all!


  • While in the kitchen doing your spring cleaning project, take inventory of your cleaning supplies, dish soap, hand soap, and dish towels. What do you need to add to your shopping list?

  • Look around your kitchen. Do you see anything broken that needs to be repaired, broken that needs to be thrown out? Soiled, limp, ugly dishtowels that should be replaced with inexpensive colorful ones from Target or the like?

  • Are your family members sleeping on clean sheets tonight? Start a load of laundry and take a break later from the kitchen to throw things into the dryer.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Spring Cleaning the Kitchen

Colorful Cuisinart Appliances, at Sur la Table

You may remember that in the fall we worked on fall kitchen preparations and it took four days. That's because I did those days mostly on weeknights. This time I'll get it all done in one long Spring Cleaning day.

Want to peek at my to-do list?

  • Wash windows, inside and out

  • Take down curtains, launder them, and re-hang

  • Wipe down walls; dust baseboards

  • Mop floors thoroughly

  • Have roommate help me move the oven and refrigerator to sweep and mop behind and underneath them

  • Thoroughly clean appliances inside and out - refrigerator, oven, microwave, toaster oven, dishwasher, and rice cooker. If you keep up with weekly fridge and freezer maintenance, the fridge shouldn't be overwhelming.

  • Wipe and dust outsides of all cabinets

  • Remove dishes from all cabinets. Check for wear and tear, throw out any cracked or broken dishes you don't enjoy using, and try to de-clutter. Wipe down cupboards and replace dishes in an organized fashion.

  • Shine floor heat vents with Brasso; do the same with the four door handles on the kitchen's two doors

  • Dust the two wood doors in the kitchen

  • Vacuum cat hair off the four cushions in the breakfast nook

  • Dust wicker loveseat, chair and ottoman

  • Dust and clean the two barstools

  • Reorganize drawers, utensils and kitchen tools.

  • Wipe down counters and try to rehome as many items as possible so you have more counter space clear.

  • Declutter front of refrigerator, prioritizing just a few favorite photos and drawings, preferably recent ones.

  • Organize kitchen calendar, desk, whiteboard, telephone, phonebooks, emergency phone number list, and any other organizational and office tools you might keep here.

  • Clean and sort anything else you have located in the kitchen.

  • Finish by making yourself and any helpers a tasty snack, pouring a delicious beverage, and sitting down to relax with your favorite cooking magazine.

LOVELY BLOGS: A Cake Bakes in Brooklyn

This delightful blog's tagline is: "Join me on my delicious journey revisiting American home cooking in the era before convenience foods became popular (1919 to 1955), as I bake and cook from old cookbooks and recipe cards of home cooks purchased at estate sales in Akron, Ohio, and other exotic locations."

I so love this concept! The blog loads painfully slowly for me as the pictures are too big and the posts are picture-heavy, but overall it's well worth the wait. Pictures make a blog so much more interesting and appealing, anyway! I love the scanned-in recipe cards in the original owners' handwriting.

LOVELY FASHION: White House Black Market's Spring Dresses

At an average of $158 per dress, I probably won't be buying more than one of these this season. I have a nice $200 birthday check from my father and stepmother, so I think I might spend it on a new high quality spring dress. I prefer to wear dresses, and I go to a lot of dressy occasions (when I'm not working at home in my ratty pajamas). I want a dress that will last me a good couple springtimes, and I love the prints on these dresses. I won't just buy something to buy it though - the dress I choose will have to look fantastic on my body type, or I'll move on to try something else.

Spring Dresses, at White House Black Market

LOVELY FOOD: Easter Cookies

I love baking, but I have to admit that my sugar cookies don't turn out this gorgeous. I'm tempted to buy some of these to send to my far away niece and nephews for Easter. For the local nephews, we'll spend time together baking up our own cookies instead. They won't look nearly this nice, but we'll have fun trying!

Iced Easter Sugar Cookies, at Williams-Sonoma

LOVELY KITCHEN: Chantal Teakettles

About a year ago, I had to throw out an old, ugly teakettle that had sprung a leak. Since I paid maybe $25 for it many years ago, it wasn't worth repairing. I never got around to replacing it - since then, I've been boiling water for tea in the microwave, or using a pan on the stove. Simple, but inelegant when I'm having a dinner party. My kitchen spring cleaning today reminded me it's time to invest in a new, solid, beautiful teakettle. I'm thinking about one of these from Chantal. I just can't decide between the girly pink one, the cheerful spring yellow that doesn't really go with my kitchen, the traditional classic red kettle, or the shiny French-style copper kettle. Decisions, decisions!

LOVELY MOVIES: The Three Musketeers

I can't resist a costume flick, whether it's a drama, a comedy or a mixture of both. I wouldn't be surprised if many of you Lovely Living readers really, really like Orlando Bloom and possibly also drool over Matthew Macfadyen. I'm also glad to hear that Milla Jovovich is in this - I enjoy watching her. The film won't be released until October, unfortunately!

The 3 Musketeers Trailer, at Apple


Cute Dolls for Easter (Doll Shopaholic)

Easter Baskets for Food Lovers (Epicurious)

Easter Egg Hunt Ideas (Martha Stewart)

Food to Eat Over the Kitchen Sink (CHOW)

Masters of Disguise Among Meatless Burgers (NY Times)

Secrets of the Bean Pot (NY Times)

10 Clever Cleaning Tricks (Martha Stewart)

Why Spouses Make Dieting Difficult (Boston Globe)

Wild Rice Recipes (CHOW)

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