The Ultimate 1-Hour Kitchen Cleanse

Even though kitchens are one of the most dreaded places to clean, you really can whip them into shape in just 60 minutes. All it takes is a clear plan, and the understanding that while this isn’t going to be an extensive, deep cleaning, it will completely reset your space.

The best way to approach a kitchen cleanse is by designating a set amount of time for each step of your cleaning and organizing process. And while you can certainly choose to change up the order in which you tackle each step, we’re partial to the following setup.

Minutes 1-15

One of the biggest sources of kitchen clutter is expired foods and condiments that take up unnecessary space in the fridge, in cabinets or on your counter tops. Similarly, holding onto almost empty boxes or jars is a huge waste of space — case in point: when I did this cleanse, I found four separate jars of salsa and five bottles of hot sauce that each had about two drops left (what can I say, I like my food spicy). So this is the perfect opportunity to purge!

Now, I’m not in any way suggesting you toss perfectly good food that you know you’ll use. Instead, you should spend these 15 minutes throwing out only expired foods or packages that are so close to empty you know you will never actually use them again. And if you find non-perishables getting close to their expiration date that you don’t like or won’t use, set them aside to donate.

Minutes 15-30

Now that you’ve got your food clutter all situated, it’s time to move on to your dishes. And if you’re anything like me, this is one area of your kitchen you tend to ignore while organizing.

Most dishes already have their own designated spot, so it just becomes second nature to put them right back after they’ve been used or cleaned. But now’s the perfect time to go through everything and tidy up your cupboards and get rid of those cracked or broken pieces.

Start with your glasses and mugs and recycle any that are cracked or damaged. If you come across pieces you don’t use any more, but that are still in good shape, set them aside to donate.

Then move on to your plates, bowls and utensils, and follow the same steps. If you have serveware, go through those pieces as well. When you’re all finished, you should be left with just the essentials, organized to your liking.

Minutes 30-45

Now it’s time to move onto your utility items, think: pots and pans, slow cookers, blenders, coffee makers, even all those cooking gadgets you impulsively bought on Black Friday.

First things first, if you’ve never used an item and you’ve owned it for six months (or a year if it’s something you only use seasonally) donate it. Now. That cake ball machine will continue to gather dust and take up precious space unless you take action. 

Once you’re left with the items you actually use, go through and purge the ones that are no longer in good shape, or that you’ve been meaning to replace. Holding onto your old non-stick pan that’s completely lost its coating is doing you no good. Say goodbye to those pieces now and you’ll feel so much better! After you’re done, return everything to its proper place and marvel at all your extra storage space.

Minutes 45-60

Whew, you’ve made it to the final 15 minutes, and you’ll be done with this cleanse in no time! For this last step, all you need to do is give all of your surfaces a quick rubdown — this is not a deep clean, just a little refresh to make everything sparkle (and smell like cleaning supplies, natch).