Is there anything better than a clean kitchen? When all the dishes are washed an put away, the floors are swept, and the clutter cleared, you achieve a sense of calm – no matter how short-lived it might be.
The kitchen usually needs more cleaning than any other room in the home – not only is it the hub for most families, but the activities taking place there tend to make the biggest messes. And while you might not want to tackle the sinkful of dishes or the greasy grimy oven (and are you even sure how to clean the oven correctly?) it’s actually a very important task. Not only is a clean kitchen more sanitary, but it actually helps with your finances.
The Clutter-Money Connection
When you go to make a meal, how much time do you spend looking for tools and ingredients? And after dinner is over, do you have to search for storage for the leftovers? If you added up all the time you spend looking for things every day, how many minutes would you estimate you waste?
According to time management experts, on average, Americans spend about 55 minutes every day looking for lost items. That’s nearly an entire hour that could be spent exercising, reading, napping – you get the picture. But even worse than the lost time is the effect that disorganization has on your finances. Financial disorganization (i.e., lost bills that lead to extra fees, money wasted buying items you already own, renting storage space for unnecessary items, etc.) drains the average income by 15-20 percent. Case in point? The average library collects nearly $200,000 in fines for overdue books every year. Even if you just spend a few dollars on a fine because you couldn’t find the book, that’s a few dollars that you don’t have to spend.
In terms of the kitchen specifically, a cluttered mess leads to costs in several ways. For starters, nearly 25 percent of the food they buy. When you can’t see what you have, food spoils – and you have to purchase more. Cluttered drawers and cabinets make it hard to find items, which you then have to repurchase. And piles of paperwork on the counters mean you could miss important notices. Lose that camp registration form? You lose the early bird registration discount.
Save Your Appliances
Although there are many reasons that kitchen appliances fail, one of the major ones is a lack of maintenance. Consider your refrigerator: When the coils or vents get clogged with dust and debris, the fridge has to work harder to keep your food cool. Working harder usually means working hotter, which will cause problems over time. Yet many of those issues can be avoided by vacuuming the oils every so often, which ensures your fridge keeps running efficiently.
The same goes for other appliances too. A dirty oven, for instance, is more susceptible to fire. If you don’t clean your coffeemaker regularly, mineral deposits can build up, effecting the taste of your coffee and the life of the appliance. Bottom line? Most appliance maintenance tasks are simple and take only a few minutes, and not only make your kitchen cleaner, but save you money on repairs and replacements. You might grumble about dealing with the dust under the fridge, but just think about the hundreds of dollars a repair might cost – or the thousands it costs for a new model.
A Clean Kitchen is a Healthy Kitchen
Keeping a clean kitchen is also a health and safety issue. The kitchen is second only to the bathroom as the most dangerous room in any home, and when it’s a big mess, the risks only increase. Not cleaning up spills can lead to slippery areas that increase the likelihood of a fall. Clutter everywhere reduces work area, making an accident with a knife or electricity more likely. And when food isn’t properly stored – or you accidentally eat some questionable leftovers – food poisoning becomes a very likely, and unpleasant, possibility.
The accidents are very costly. In fact, the costs of unintentional injuries amount to about $220 billion per year, most of which are preventable. A simple kitchen accident because you didn’t clean up a mess could amount to thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost wages, not to mention the pain and suffering that goes with it.
It’s much easier, then, to simply clean up and keep everything clean and well-organized. Your kitchen might not be perfect, but taking a few moments to clean up after yourself and put things away can mean some extra dollars in your pocket – or at least, avoiding unnecessary expenses.