My Dinner Clean-up Routine

Let’s be real, friends: it does NOT happen on its own. Honestly, I love having a clean kitchen, but I don’t love putting in the work to get it there. So, routine! Not that it makes me like it more, but it gets it done (which is the goal) and gets it done more quickly (which kinda makes me dislike it less). There are necessities in here, naturally, but there are also a couple things I wrap into this routine that simply won’t get done otherwise.

I start off with the dishes being removed from the table and put in the dishwasher as much as possible. Between me and my husband, that just kinda happens as part of dinner. Then I just move anything I haven’t already washed during dinner prep over to the sink. Aaaaaaand here we go:

  • Wipe off stove. I’m the worst about my stove. I love cooking at it, I just hate cleaning it. So I committed to doing it every single night. Kinda like when I was a kid and was afraid of the toilet flushing, so my dad locked me in the bathroom and made me flush it ten times. I was TERRIFIED and super annoyed, but I got over my long-held, deeply-rooted belief that the Beast from Beauty and the Beast was going to come roaring out of the flushing toilet, teeth-bared, ready to kill me. I was an imaginative kid, okay?
  • Wash and PUT AWAY dishes. This makes a gigantic difference in the morning when I get to the kitchen. I will absolutely go out of my way in the evenings to not walk into a pile of dishes first thing in the morning. It’s just so stressful and feels icky when that happens. When I prep ahead and wash-as-I-cook, this is a relatively small task anyway. And putting the clean dishes away makes all the difference in the world the next day. It’s all about the prep.
  • Scrub high chair. Something I only do once a day (I’ll sweep crumbs out of the seat and wipe off the tray as needed after other meals, but I only go to town with the rough side of the sponge once a day), but something that definitely does need to be done that often. Maybe Baby Girl will be a cleaner eater? …maybe?
  • Wash sink. Our sink gets a real workout everyday, and dude. It gets grimy. I just squirt a little soap in there, swish it around, and I’ve got a sparkling clean sink to use the next day. Or for Kyle to pile more dirty dishes into throughout the night as he snacks his way to bedtime. Honestly, I feed the man four square meals a day, but you’d never guess it.
  • Take out trash, compost, and recycling. No, I don’t do all three of these every night. Only as needed. But I try to not let them get too full before taking them out. Mostly because I don’t take them out…Kyle does, and he hates when they get too full. It’s also nice to come into the kitchen the next day and have not-too-full bins to work with.
  • Toss the dirty dishtowels in the laundry bin. My laundry room is off of our kitchen, so I keep a basket out there specifically for this. Once I’ve cooked, cleaned up, and dried the dishes, the towels have done their duty and usually need a long soak in a hot bath.
  • Sweep. So tempting to skip. So so extremely tempting. But I only do it once a day, and it really does make me feel better walking in there in the morning when I’ve swept the night before. And it makes me feel a lot better when I don’t have to sweep up a week’s worth of crumbs off the floor all in one go. Because gross.

Doesn’t seem like a lot, and when I get going it’s not. Sometimes before I get going it can seem like an unsurmountable task!

What’s your dinner clean-up look like? Anything important I’ve left off? Share below!


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