Does Your Kitchen Need “Inside” Help or “Outside” Help? Here’s How to Tell

published Jan 14, 2022
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Apartment Therapy’s January Cure is a free 20-day program all about loving on your home and preparing yourself and your space for the new year. Sign up now to get daily lessons sent straight to your inbox!

If your countertop is spotless and you know exactly where your 8-inch cake pan is, congratulations! Your kitchen is basically pristine and you can relax today.

As for the rest of us, I’m feeling like all of our kitchens could use a little love today. Cleaning and decluttering the kitchen is a huge lift all at once, so for the Cure today, we’re breaking off into two tracks: You should either decide to take the inside track and declutter your storage areas, or take the outside track and work on cleaning and shining the outside surfaces.

If you’re not sure which one will be more high-impact for your weekend, think about the last time you cooked a long, complicated meal in the kitchen. Were you more frustrated while you were cooking, not being able to find the tools you needed for each step? Or were you more disappointed with the cleaning that came afterwards, having to scrape a pile of dishes and wipe splatter off of every surface? Whichever one was mentally tougher to handle is the track you should focus on today.

Let’s dive in!

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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

Day 10: Clean the kitchen and treat yourself to flowers

First, don’t forget to treat yourself to flowers or something special this weekend. We did this last Friday before we cleaned our floors, and we’ll do it again every Friday of the Cure.

Then, get started on cleaning the kitchen by choosing either the “inside” or “outside” track. Neither one should take too long. Maybe an hour or so, unless you have a huge kitchen or tons of storage (which feels like a fair trade off to be honest!).

The “inside” track focuses more on decluttering.

The inside track is about the organization of hidden areas. If you want to choose the inside track, here are a few things you can accomplish during your time today:

  • Clear out the fridge. Get rid of the items that are expired and wipe down the shelves, replacing just the items that are still fresh and usable in an organized fashion.
  • Clear out your cabinets and drawers. Do a purge of the contents, putting items you no longer use in the outbox. Think about getting rid of cookware, servingware, dishes, utensils, small appliances, tools and glassware that are broken, worn out, or go unused.
  • Edit down the odds and ends that we all collect in our kitchen (mugs, I’m looking at you) to a reasonable amount of ones that you truly like. Think of it like getting your hair trimmed.

The outside track is more of a cleaning refresh.

The outside track will really shine up the exterior and surfaces of your space. If you think the outside track suits you best, here are a few spots to hit:

  • Work top to bottom wiping down your kitchen surfaces with a good surface cleaner and a microfiber towel or rag.
  • Start with the upper cabinets and cabinet handles.
  • Wipe down the counters and kitchen sink, making sure you also clean off any small appliances, trays, or crocks as you set them back down.
  • Clean the outside of all big appliances: stove, hood, fridge, dishwasher.
  • Disinfect cabinet knobs and handles.
  • Clean the trash can, inside and out

You should use the track that you believe will make the most impact in your space. And yes, it’s really OK to choose one and ignore the other. Slow and steady wins this race. If you want to take on the opposite track another day, add it to your list of projects for the year.

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More Ways to Participate in the January Cure: