Saturday, February 26, 2011

Kitchen Speed Cleaning: Parents' Version

I was reading this article about "How to speed clean your kitchen" on Yahoo.

It made me laugh.

Not because of what it said, but rather thinking about it from the context of a parent with young children.

I think that the author's proposals are reasonable, but I disagree with the time estimates if you have small children (and a pet).

The author suggests that the every day duties below would take 4.5 minutes.

Every Day Kitchen Duties:
• Wipe down the sink after doing the dishes or loading the dishwasher (30 seconds).
• Wipe down the stove top (one minute).
• Wipe down the counters (one minute).
• Sweep, Swiffer, or vacuum the floor (two minutes).

***Below, I have edited the times--with commentary and explanations--for the Parents' Version***

Every Day Kitchen Duties:

• Wipe down the sink after doing the dishes or loading the dishwasher (30 MINUTES).

*Please set aside a good 2 hours to get dinner dishes done/dishwater prior to cleaning the sink.*

-One child yells for help going potty the moment you start to clean.

-Before you get back to the sink, the dog barks, whines, and scratches to go out.

-You walk back to the sink only to hear the dog while to come back inside.

-Start to clean the sink, and the dog has to go out again.

-One wipe at the sink and there's a scream of "He took my toy!", which wakes up the baby.

-Rock baby back to sleep and resolve toy dispute, only to have another child call out to go to the potty.

• Wipe down the stove top (ONE HOUR).

-Start to wipe the stove, only to hear a request for vitamins and bath time.

-Allow 30 minutes to scrub the stove, because of all the stuff that splattered while you were cooking, owing to small children running wildly and bumping into you because the kitchen is their favorite place to play and having to hold a screaming baby, thereby tremendously decreasing your manual dexterity. Not to mention that about 2.5 hours have passed since you did dishes and wiped the sink, allowing plenty of time for that mess to really bake on good.

• Wipe down the counters (ONE HOUR).

- Take one look at the mess of school papers, bills, toys, coupons, silly bands (that have re-accumulated in only 1 day since you last cleaned), and spend the next 5-10 minutes having a panic attack about how messy and insurmountable the countertops look, how the whole house is a disaster, nothing will ever get clean, and it's only a matter of days before swarms of bacteria overwhelm the whole house.

- Recover from panic attack only to have small children call out that they need help with jammies, are tired, and ready for bedtime stories. Finish their nightly routine.

- Allow 29 minutes to pick up, sort, organize, and put away all of the "trash" that's accumlated on the countertops.

- 1 minute to actually clean the countertops once you can get to them.

• Sweep, Swiffer, or vacuum the floor (TWO HOURS).

- Small children call out that they need water, again waking up the baby with their screams.

- Rock the baby back to bed.

- 5 minutes after the baby is asleep, go back upstairs to comfort the toddler who screams that he's scared and doesn't want to sleep alone. Promise to stay with him for just a few minutes.

- Fall asleep on the toddler's bedroom floor for 1 hour due to sheer exhaustion.

- Sweep the floor (a good 20, not 2 minutes due to all of the accumulated debris)

- By now it's about midnight. Realize that you haven't packed lunches, there is an inch of papers to sign for school, and you have to make 20 personalized cupcakes with rolled fondant for school the next day.


Of course, you'll have to re-do all of the above steps after you make the cupcakes.


Pick your battles, fight the mess when you can, and let antibiotics take care of the bacteria.



  1. Amen. Love aunt-e

  2. LOL! I hear ya. My mother came to help out since I had the baby and cleaned the whole house this past weekend. I think she would be mortified to walk in here today. You would think its been a while since I cleaned the floors...LOL! Between spills and dog fur it never seems to ever look good. So I can totally relate to what you are saying. Rosi

  3. Sooo true! Plus the pet lies right in the pile as your sweeping, scattering it to the far corners and requiring more sweeping.