Make your kitchen optimally work: Do these 7 things

Our kitchens arguably are the most important room to have running well {…some may say, no, it’s the bedroom}. But regardless of where you go with that, I believe {and have seen} how kitchens can make or break the rest of the home. Below are seven minimal cost / maximum result ways to help make yours perform at its best. {Zone plan followers: more for you at the end!}

1. Clear surfaces:  Clutter free counters + table – walking into your kitchen and seeing… or actually, NOT seeing clutter… this truly can do wonders.

TIP: Take in small steps. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, follow along with the Zone plan I’m doing- see bottom of post.

2. Scenic behind-the-scenes: What’s INSIDE your kitchen cabinets, drawers, fridge and pantry should be set up to work for – not against – you.

TIPS: Create “centers” within your kitchen and make sure each item has a home within its center. Then, have fun making the for your eyes only parts of the room aesthetically pleasing. {For inspiration, spend some time flipping (or clicking) through your favorite home magazines or web sites.}  For more detailed kitchen de-cluttering, click here.

3. Cleanliness is a virtue: Having – and keeping – a clean kitchen is absolutely doable. The key: #6; the key to doing it faster: #1.

TIPS: Clean {or at least rinse} dishes / pots / spills ASAP. Also, get other family members on board by putting away their own dishes –  along with anything else they get out, for that matter!

4. Well-Stocked: Having a pantry, fridge + freezer filled with what you need is a BIG stress-reliever. And make sure to have certain go-to meal / menu favorites {and ingredients} on hand.

TIPS: Keep an on-going grocery list and add to it right away when running low on something. Simple, yet when you really do this consistently, you’ll rarely run out of – and have to R U N out for that – something. Also, plan out your meals weekly.

5. Control Center: Your place for managing your home: make this full-time job in-itself run as smoothly as possible.

TIP: Design a {well-organized!} place that keeps you – and your home – running smoothly. The kitchen is great for this because of its central location. What to keep here? schedules/calendar, grocery list, address books/contact lists, school-related papers, menus, bills, primary files… it’s really what works best for you – make it your own.

6.  Rituals: or “habits”: the key to a well-maintained kitchen – and home.

TIP:  At the end of the day, we do a “walk-through” {making sure everything is back in its place}. Without a doubt, waking up to a clean kitchen {vs. facing dirty dishes, clutter} & home makes the day start and stay in a better place.

7.  Ambiance: big in turning a house into a home.

TIP: Don’t just save it up for special occasions: dim the lights, light candles, bring in flowers, turn on the music {adjust according to mood} – or turn it OFF – silence is at times my favorite thing! The list is endless: from the scent in the cleaner you use in your kitchen to what you wear when you’re in your kitchen. I won’t get carried away but this is a favorite topic of mine – I could go on and on…

If you have something else to add, I’d love to hear! If this sounds impossibly overwhelming, join along with me as we take the de-cluttering and cleaning step by step:

Zone Cleaning Plan

For those doing Marla {aka, “FlyLady”} Cilley’s Zone Plan with me, we are on Zone #2: The Kitchen.


“We break our home into five areas. Each week we focus on that one are. We do our de-cluttering first, and, eventually, we will do our detailed cleaning,” says Marla.  {Just 15 minutes a day in that week’s zone +building in habits little-by-little.}

For more info, click on the following:  THE PLAN {PART 1} + {PART 2} ; also here’s what happened with ZONE 1

To make it happen, take it SLOW!

“For now we are just de-cluttering! We have a tendency to jump in with both feet and get paralyzed by the mountain of clutter we have pulled out. We are taking BabySteps while we are establishing new habits. Eventually all your clutter will be gone and you’ll have a way to keep it clutter free for life.” – Marla.


This is what I’ve been doing this week:


  • Fridge/freezer: Bought these wonderful bins which corrals certain items that used to be hard to get to / put back. LOVE the difference! {I’ve posted a pic on FB: check it out: it’s under:  Angela Harris Design.}.
  • Kitchen desk: Thinking of how we can better use that space. Making my own kitchen command center – #5 above. Will share soon what I end up doing with it.


  • Clean out fridge /freezer
  • Wiped down cabinet fronts
  • Wash trash can {bleach then hosed off outside}
  • Plan to do in next day or so: deep clean oven, steam mop, clean baseboards + light fixtures


I’ll wrap up with one more Marla quote for anyone asking the question that I’ll sometimes ask myself, “Why bother?!”…

“I know this sounds like too much to do, but after you get the worst part done, keeping the kitchen clean is not very hard, and besides, having a clean, functional kitchen blesses your family with fine meals, interesting conversation, and training for when they have families of their own. What a wonderful legacy to leave them.”

– Marla Cilley, Sink Reflections


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