Well, the time has come to send the kids back to school and we have the joys of the school run to look forward to once more.
If your home is anything like mine, it is probably looking a lot less pristine after 150 days of lockdown and, in particular, the kitchen.
The kitchen really is the heart of the home, isn’t it? I’m planning to get ours a major deep clean and tidy up in preparation for all the extra activity it’s about to face – lunch box preparation, after school snacks, family dinners and, of course, in the not too distant future, dare I mention the festive season? Frankly I think we all need something to look forward to at the moment, don’t we?
In this post I’ll outline my list of tasks for sprucing up the kitchen to help you get school-ready – from dealing with a less than inviting fridge to banishing the pong from the kitchen bin. Ieuan starts secondary school on 3 September and Caitlin is back to Year 8 on the 11th so I don’t have too long.
Dust from top to bottom
Get rid of all those summer cobwebs and dust the light fixtures while you’re at it. If you’re brave enough, now’s the time to tackle the top of the fridge – you know that place where you’re ‘stored’ old Christmas hats and gift bags you’ve been planning to reuse for the last 2 years.
Wipe down cabinets, wall tiles and splash back
Time to tackle those bolognese splatters and grease spots that have become a permanent fixture. Some hot water and washing up liquid works fine for this.
If you’re feeling brave you could also tackle vents and cooker hoods removing any layers of dust that might have built up.
Wash and declutter the worktops
Mine tend to be covered with things I don’t have a home for – post, bank statements, used batteries (still not sure what to do with them) and, thanks to our cat Gavin, the odd feline footprint. The husband is far more ruthless than I am in chucking stuff away.
Make sure you use the right cleaning product for your type of countertops – particularly if you have invested in expensive materials like granite. Work section by section so you don’t have to move everything off, unless you’re in the mood for a good declutter.
Clean the fridge
Along with cleaning the kitchen bin, my heart sinks just thinking about this one but if you’re like us there are lots of half-opened jars of some sauce or other lurking in the back, along with last month’s spring onions and something you were going to eat up but didn’t get round to.
Using your fridge and freezer correctly can actually save you money too.
Don’t use a chemical cleaner. A great tip is to spray the inside of the fridge with a solution of distilled vinegar and water. Leave it to soak and then wipe down with a soft damp cloth.
For really dried on gunk, try a paste made of bicarbonate of soda and hot water. Leave to soak in for around 10 minutes and then rinse off with a clean cloth.
Which leads me to …
Tackle the kitchen bin
If you think about how many times a day you use your bin, it’s easy to see why regular cleaning and emptying is important. If yours is on its last legs, it may be time to invest in a new kitchen bin but otherwise, a good wash down is in order, particularly around the rim and the lid. I like to bleach mine but don’t forget that bleach only works with cold water. (A handy tip in these COVID times).
Clean the oven and the microwave
We’ve tried a number of shop-bought oven cleaners over the past years but last time I confess I paid a local company to do it. They used steam and there were no nasty chemicals involved. I’ve used products before which, aside from being risky for kids and pets, absolutely ponged.
To clean my microwave, I just add a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to a bowl of water and run it for two minutes. The steam helps loosen baked-on food splatters and makes wiping out the microwave easier.
Sweep and mop the floor
A drop or two of a multi-purpose concentrated disinfectant like Zoflora can be added to the water to add some fragrance to the room. It will also help to combat the spread of bacteria and viruses.
You could also spray cupboard and door handles with a disinfectant spray just as Dettol. Simply spray and leave to dry.
Update the family notice board
If you have one of these it’s a good time to curate any school artwork and remove old tickets and reminders. Make space for things you will need to hand like new term school timetables and bus schedules.
I photograph the kids’ drawings and preserve them digitally. It’s easy to be completely overrun with craft projects and paintings if you have younger children.
Then you’re almost done. Of course there’s no reason why bored tweens and teens couldn’t give you a hand with some of this to earn their WiFi privileges!
And hopefully this will help the return to school to be a little more organised for you.
What tips would you add?