Have you forgotten what the bottom of your sink looks like? Have you taken to using plastic forks because you can’t find your cutlery? Do you hold your breath when you open your (smelly) fridge? Do you avoid opening your kitchen cabinets for fear of a Tupperware avalanche?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be in need of an apartment kitchen intervention. The good news is that there’s hope for any apartment kitchen, no matter how messy it may be. The bad news is that you’ll have roll up your sleeves and get a little dirty to put things right. So go on: grab some gloves and consult this list for some handy kitchen rehab tips.
One Step at a Time
Overwhelmed? Don’t be. Tackle one area at a time, my friend, and soon you’ll be on your way to kitchen rehabilitation and a better apartment life.
Start with your refrigerator and freezer. If your foods and beverages are all jumbled together, it can be hard to locate the right ingredient when you want it… or locate the source of that unusual smell. Empty your fridge of everything expired, give the shelves a good scrub, assign each food group a section in the fridge, then rearrange your food so everything is visible. While you’re at it, follow these useful tidbits:
- Don’t store eggs or dairy on the fridge door, where temperatures are prone to fluctuation.
- Store proteins at the bottom of the refrigerator separated from other foods to prevent contamination from dripping.
- Put an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator to prevent bad smells from spreading.
Next, tackle the piles of stuff in your cabinets and drawers. If your kitchen cupboards are the bane of your existence, they’re probably not very organized. Take some time to rearrange them so that the things you use most (glasses, plates, everyday cooking spices) are within arm’s reach. Next, spring for some silverware organizers, a lazy Susan, some storage bins… whatever you need to keep things separated and in their place. If you find that your pots and pans are taking up too much space in your cupboards, get creative by putting up a pegboard to help hang them on your wall.
Last, get out a broom, a mop, and a bucket, and get the job done right. Whether you use soap and water or the industrial-strength solution, get every single corner of your kitchen floor clean. When you’re through, prevent more mess by keeping a small broom or brush and dustpan in the pantry. If most of your spills and splashing occur at the sink, consider putting a rug down that you can simply throw in the washing machine when it gets too dirty.
Tips for a Bright Kitchen Future
Congratulations! You’ve made it through the kitchen cleaning process! But as any messy renter knows, it’s easy to fall back into old habits if you’re not careful. Now that your culinary quarters are sparkling, use these tips so your kitchen can stay clean.
Stay organized. Now that you know where everything is, make sure it stays there! Make labels for your shelves, if you have to. Putting things back where you found them right away will make a big difference in the long run.
Clean as you go. It’s tempting to let spills, spatters, and spatulas go uncleaned while you cook. Don’t give in to that temptation! Keep a wet washcloth or towel nearby as you cook so you can clean up any mess right then and there.
Empty your dishwasher right away. It’s so easy to let dishes pile up in the sink when they have no place else to go. Once the dishwasher is finished running, empty it at the first chance you get. That way you won’t be tempted to stack your dirty plates in the sink again.
Decorate! Some renters find that a good-looking kitchen doesn’t just improve apartment life; it actually gives them an incentive to keep the kitchen looking nice! Give the walls a coat of paint, put some art on the walls, or just add some colorful tea towels to give the place a little spruce.