Have you ever considered that a dirty kitchen could be making you spend more money? Well, I’m here to tell you it’s true, it happens. Just ask the folks featured on the hoarding shows!
Want to know how to save money just by keeping your kitchen tidy? Read on.
Dirty Dishes Cause Debt
Piles of dirty dishes are disgusting. They can get gross and smelly, and most people want to avoid dealing with them. And what are you tempted to do when the dishes have piled up? Eat out, right?
Eating out is a huge expense. In 2009 when Matt and I committed to becoming debt free, we looked closely at how much we were spending. Eating out was costing us around $6,000 per year!!! Ouch. We realized we had to eliminate some of the excuses we were using to go to restaurants.
If dishes are washed and the sink is empty, you’ll feel more like you have time and space to cook.
Get those dirty dishes out of the sink!
The key is to have a system for clearing dishes before they get piled too high. Consider implementing one of the following systems in your kitchen:
- Fill one side of the sink with sudsy water and throw dirty dishes in while cooking. Finish washing after the meal.
- Solicit a prep cook/dishwasher to help you while you cook. Kids love to be kitchen assistants and can wash a few dishes during meal prep so the job isn’t so overwhelming after the meal.
- Utilize your dishwasher if you have one. Make an announcement to family members that the sink is off limits for dirty dishes. (Because as you know, an empty sink always tempts someone to dump a mound of dirty dishes and then vanish.) Always unload the dishwasher before beginning a new cooking project so you have the dishes you need for cooking, and an empty washer ready to be re-filled.
- Assign family members to dish duty on a rotating schedule so nobody is stuck with this task all the time.
- Offer an incentive to the first family member to volunteer for dish duty.
Cluttered countertops discourage kitchen work
I know this sounds obvious, but I’m always amazed at how much stuff people keep out on countertops.
I’ll break it down for you; when your kitchen looks inviting, you’ll naturally want to spend more time in it. And what’s more inviting than clean, cleared countertops? (Well, a pan of fresh-from-the-oven brownies sitting on the countertop might be more inviting, but let’s not get sidetracked.)
Get those countertops cleared!
Remove as many things from countertops as possible. Keep in mind that countertop clutter can affect efficiency in the kitchen.
Of course, start with those pesky dirty dishes. Get them washed or at least loaded into the dishwasher. Once dishes are out of the way, take a look at your kitchen as if you have never seen it before. This will allow you to really SEE what is on your countertops. Do you like what you see? If not, take notice of items that are causing the clutter.
Keep in mind that toasters, coffee makers, and other small appliances can be stashed in other places, especially if you’re not using them everyday. Having well-organized cupboards will allow you to move things off countertops and into a place where they are easily accessible, but aren’t in plain sight. Use that precious countertop space wisely!
Starting DIY projects is easier when countertops are open.
I have to address this point, because most DIY projects are going to save you money. But where will you do all those projects if your kitchen is a nightmare to work in? Most of my DIY projects have to be done in the kitchen where I can easily measure, pour, and have an occasional spill — all on a large flat surface. So I’ll reiterate…get those countertops cleared! You’re more likely to delve into new DIY projects that can potentially save hundreds of dollars in your budget over the long run.
A dirty refrigerator means money down the drain
The refrigerator is a major source of wasted money in some households. If you can stay on top of eating food before it spoils and keeping the fridge organized, you’ll keep more money in your pocket.
Cure Refrigerator Blindness!
When your refrigerator is cluttered, packed, and unorganized, it leads to a disorder I like to call “Refrigerator Blindness.” I accuse Matt of having this horrible disorder. I tell him it prevents him from seeing all the things that need to be eaten up. He’ll open the fridge, overlook about 75% of its contents, close the fridge, and announce “there’s nothing to eat.”
To help cure loved ones from this unfortunate disorder, move leftovers to the front of the fridge. I keep a roll of painter’s tape and a permanent marker by the fridge so I can label things I think will go unnoticed. This encourages family members to use things up before spoiling occurs.
Cluttered fridge + spoiled food = wasted $
Make sure everything has its place in the refrigerator. This decreases the likelihood of random items being hidden in the back and forgotten about. Forgotten items inevitably spoil. And as the above equation indicates, your hard-earned money is wasted every time something spoils in the fridge.
To avoid having food rotting in all the far-reaching corners of your fridge, do a refrigerator clean out once a week. We do this every week before garbage is collected so questionable items can be discarded. It allows us to keep up on cleaning the fridge, and the rotten food ends up curb-side instead of stinking up the kitchen for several days.
What have we learned here?
If you’re trying to save money, live a more sustainable lifestyle, and be a DIY rockstar…you gotta keep that kitchen clean! Wash those dishes, clean off those countertops, and take charge of the mess in your fridge.
Having a clean, uncluttered kitchen will encourage more home-cooked meals and DIY projects, resulting in lots of saved money!
Are you already doing these things? Share your tips for keeping a clutter-free, clean kitchen with the community!