Weekend Projects

There’s a Hidden Mess Lurking in Your Kitchen — Here’s How to Tackle It

published Feb 5, 2021
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Credit: Chloe Berk

Apartment Therapy Weekend Projects is a guided program designed to help you get the happy, healthy home you’ve always wanted, one weekend at a time. Sign up now for email updates so you never miss a lesson.

Usually the most rewarding cleaning tasks are those with the biggest visible payoff. Everyone loves streak-free glass and vacuum lines — they act like an immediate pat on the back for a job well done. Even seeing someone else’s inspiring before and after might be enough to get you up off the couch to pursue an “after” of your own.

But there’s another kind of satisfying cleaning job that has less obvious (but nevertheless fulfilling) feedback: dealing with the hidden messes lurking in the most-frequented spaces.

This weekend, you’re going to do one of these tasks. You’re going to ferret out and take care of the messes that accumulate inside your kitchen drawers.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

This Weekend: Clean the inside of your kitchen drawers.

One of the kitchen rules my mom passed on to us kids was to always close drawers right away and to never perform kitchen tasks with the drawers open. But even with this rule fully internalized by me (and now passed on to my own family), my kitchen drawers still manage to catch all kinds of crumbs, dust, and pet hair. It’s the kind of mess that, once you go looking for it, makes you wrinkle your nose and want to take care of it on the spot. Let’s do it.

To clean your drawers and restore them to the spic-and-span state you thought they were in all along, do the following:

  1. Empty each drawer. Remove drawer dividers and anything that’s in the drawers loose. I find it easiest to do this one by one.
  2. Vacuum loose crumbs. Cleaning “dry” first is key to avoiding a trail of wet dirt that’s harder to clean than it needs to be.
  3. Wipe down drawers with a barely damp rag. This erases any lingering spots and smudges and lifts stubborn dirt and crumbs.
  4. Wipe again with a dry rag.
  5. Air dry if necessary to make sure drawer interiors are completely dry before you return anything to them.

If you weren’t a stickler for keeping drawers closed before this task, be forewarned that you might become one after this!

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Remember: This is about improvement, not perfection. Each week you can either choose to work on the assignment we’ve sent you, or tackle another project you’ve been meaning to get to. It’s also completely okay to skip a weekend if you’re busy or not feeling the assignment.