I'll start off with the room I think is the most important room in a home - it's the room that keeps us healthy and happy, and probably unhealthy and overweight too, but we spend so much time going backwards and forwards in - the kitchen. An untidy kitchen is easy to achieve, with pots, pans, clean crockery, dirty mugs all living in the kitchen, this is the room that often gets messy first when you move into a new house. So it's important to keep a kitchen organised and functional. Here's our kitchen to-do list and how-to's:
If you have space on top of your kitchen cabinets, do not be tempted to pile random unused items there - get rid of anything you've not used within the past year. The space on top of kitchen cupboards is notorious for gathering dust and getting rather mucky. Instead buy some pretty storage boxes or baskets (preferably with a lid) in which you can store things you don't use often. An example of this could be pudding basins which mainly get used in winter, or special shaped cake tins that you only need once a year.
Now I know that children's artwork don't strictly fall into the kitchen category, but once again the fridge seems to be the place where most of the children's artwork ends up in family homes. A good tip from the Organized Life book by Stephanie Denton (I love this book!), is to let kids help you choose the favourite artwork of the month, the rest gets discarded. Then take a photo of your child holding their artwork of the month and eventually you will end up with a photo album of your children growing up with their art. I also think that if you have the space, you could save each artwork of the month until the end of the school year. At the end, once again select your and your child's favourite and discard the rest. Once again, eventually you can make a portfolio of your child's artwork - one from each year. This would make a great keepsake.
Photo from teh brilliant I shot the chef blog
Image from Flickr
A big part of spring cleaning a kitchen of course is probably the bit of housework everyone hates the most... cleaning the oven. As always, it's tempting to buy a chemical oven cleaner from the supermarket, but DON'T! Commercial oven cleaner contain some of the most toxic chemicals of all household cleaners. The majority of these oven cleaners contain lye (sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide). Lye is extremely toxic, corrosive and gives off choking fumes. It burns the skin, the eyes and can attack internal organs if inhaled. The newer, 'better' and 'more efficient' oven cleaners are in aerosol sprays which are even worse because small droplets containing lye can drift and land on the skin, in the eyes and are easily inhaled which could damage the sensitive tissues of the lungs. Have I convinced you yet to give up on commercial oven cleaners?
Sort out those hidden corners
While we're scrubbing away the oven, now is the time to forward any non built-in appliances and reveal what's behind it. You'll be amazed how many crumbs, cereal, peas and other unimaginables fall down behind kitchen appliances. Check every corner in your kitchen and make sure nothing is left behind for those pesky mice, cockroaches and ants to live on. This is your kitchen, claim it back! Okay, there you, I've calmed down now.