Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Spring Cleaning Our Kitchens

A hydrangea now graces my dining room table thanks to an impulse buy at the grocery store

Today I'm tackling the Spring Cleaning of my kitchen. I should have started this project on Sunday, but instead I took the kids to see Disney Nature: Bears. I should have started this project on Monday, but I cooked a Cinco de Mayo themed dinner for multiple family members instead! So tonight, with a filthy kitchen from last night's party, I absolutely must start my kitchen overhaul.

I'll be thorough, but I won't stress about it or agonize over it. I can make tonight's project fun by watching cooking shows on my kitchen TV while I work, 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 doing our Spring Cleaning, we're not just housekeeping. We're homemaking. And as the kitchen is the heart of the home, this week's project is the most important spring cleaning project of all!


Jessie Steele Polka Dot Potholder in Blue, on Amazon

While you are in the kitchen for your spring cleaning project, take inventory of your cleaning supplies, dish soap, hand soap, paper towels 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, or broken and needing to be thrown out? Soiled, limp, ugly dishtowels that should be replaced with inexpensive colorful ones from Target or the like?
Stained, burned and encrusted pot holders that you can easily replace for just a few dollars?

Take a quick minute to sort and wrap up all those extra plastic grocery bags we seem to accumulate - even those of us who regularly bring our own reusable shopping bags to stores can still end up with quite a bit of a mess under the kitchen counter. Toss your plastic bags into your car so you can drop them off at your nearest plastic bag recycling bin tomorrow. Mine's at my local neighborhood PCC Market or I'll stop by Target on the way to my nephew's track meet.

Though we are spring cleaning, we shouldn't fall behind on our regular daily tasks. Start a load of laundry if needed, and take a break later from the kitchen to throw things into the dryer.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Spring Cleaning the Kitchen

Dualit 2-Slice Toaster, at Williams-Sonoma

Perhaps if you're a longtime Lovely Living reader, you may remember that in the fall we worked on fall kitchen preparations and it took four days. That will probably happen to me again this week because I'm separating what should have been done on a long Sunday, into four or five weeknight projects. Except I'm going to two films at the Seattle Cinerama science fiction film festival this week, so I may have to stretch my project out a little longer. Or just work faster!

Want to peek at my to-do list?

  • Wash kitchen windows, inside and out
  • Take down kitchen curtains, launder them, and re-hang
  • Wipe down walls; dust baseboards
  • Mop floors thoroughly
  • Have my neighbor help me move the oven and refrigerator to sweep and mop behind and underneath them - I'll go over to his house and help him move his own as well.
  • 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 today.
  • Wipe and dust outsides of all cabinets
  • Remove dishes from all cabinets. Check for wear and tear, throw out any cracked or broken dishes or miscellaneous mismatched 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 my kitchen's two doors
  • Dust the two wood doors in the kitchen
  • Vacuum cat hair off the four cushions in the breakfast nook
  • Set cushions out in the sun for a few hours if possible this week
  • Dust wicker loveseat, chair and ottoman
  • Dust and clean the two bar stools; replace the pads on their feet, which are hairy right now.
  • Reorganize drawers, utensils and kitchen tools.
  • Wipe down counters and try to re-home as many items as possible so I have more counter space clear.
  • De-clutter 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 kept here.
  • Finish by making yourself and any helpers a tasty snack, pouring a delicious beverage, and sitting down to relax with your favorite cooking magazine.

Think we can do all that in the next 3-4 evenings? I think we can!

LOVELY BLOGS: Gluesticks

This crafty, creative blog is by Brandy, a mother of four. She shares her project gallery, kids' projects, recipes, home and garden tips, and holiday and seasonal projects. Recently she's posting about 3 step caramel truffles, a personalized ABC book, colorful DIY cabochon flower rings, and sharing her efforts to make homemade croissants for the first time. Inspiring!



I picked this book up from the library last week, a bit skeptical since I enjoy Pride & Prejudice literary fan fiction but I've read some bad ones lately. I got tired of the same boring explorations of "What if Lizzie had said Yes to Darcy sooner" or "What if Lizzie had met Bingley first instead of Jane" or practically pornographic retellings. "Longbourn" is a wonderful departure from the same overused cliche situations. It follows the storyline of the book from the viewpoint of the servants belowstairs. The main viewpoint is from the housemaid Sarah, but you also hear from housekeeper Mrs. Hill. I'm finding this almost a pageturner - not from suspense, just from wanting to know more of what the servants are going through while helping the Bennets live their lives. I'm reading this as fast as I can because there are 35 other people in Seattle waiting on hold for my copy from the library!

Longbourn, by Jo Baker, on Amazon


Lately I've been picking up these delightful (but a bit pricy) cake-themed teas to tuck into gift baskets for Mother's Day, Easter and Spring. So far Lemon Chiffon has been a big hit (too coconuty for me though). They also make a Blueberry Bundt that's made with rooibos and licorice flavors, and a Caramel Vanilla. Plus, the packaging is gorgeous so it will look nice sitting in someone's tea cupboard or pantry.

Cuppa Cake Tea, at Republic of Tea

LOVELY SHOPS: The Retro Recollection

I adore this vintage retro Etsy shop. They specialize in forties, fifties and sixties vintage dresses and hats. Check out this 1960s era daisy whimsy hat and this stunning turquoise brocade dress and jacket.



15 Mother's Day Brunch Recipes You Can Make in a Muffin Tin (Homemaking Hacks)

My Make-Ahead Menu for a Bright & Colorful Mother's Day Brunch (The Kitchn)

Strawberry Coconut Cream Pastries for Mother's Day (Our Ordinary Life)

7 Tasty Ways to Use Up Green Onion (CHOW)

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