How To Simplify Life In The Kitchen: 7 Easy Hacks (dishes included!)

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Right now, my life and home are more chaotic than ever.  This Simplify Life Challenge couldn’t have come fast enough ….. I went to bed with dishes in the sink, the whole house is a disaster, I need to buy groceries, and I have so much to get done before my head hits the pillow tonight.

Real life, honey!  Sound familiar?

How To Simplify Life In The Kitchen: 7 Easy Hacks (dishes included!)

When my life gets in this situation (which seems to happen every year about now), it’s time for an intervention – a challenge to keep myself accountable and I plan to drag you along for the ride in case you need a little intervention too.  These challenges work because we can both complete the tasks without getting overwhelmed.  Piece by piece, it gets done.

No matter what month of the year it is, follow along with this first week and the three weeks that will follow as a way to get our homes in order (slowly and without stress) over the next month.

You up for the challenge, Sistahs?  Let’s get with it then …..

Simplify Life Week One

This week, we’re gonna focus on the heart of the home – our kitchen and dining room.  I’m starting here because it’s where so much living actually happens for families.  Whether we like it or not, we need to spend time in the kitchen to feed our people and nobody wants to cook in a messy kitchen! Can’t. Do. It.

Don’t believe my house is a hot mess?  Here’s are shots of the kitchen and dining:

Ultimate Simplify Life Challenge for busy wives in March!

Typically I have a system in place that helps me simplify life in the kitchen but I’ve gotten out of the habit.  I’ll talk about that awesome life hack in a minute.

But first, I need you to stop reading this, set your phone timer to twenty minutes and then remove all the junk (that doesn’t belong) from your kitchen and dining room.  Find a box or bag to put the misplaced items in – don’t waste your time putting away these things yet.  When you finish that, clean up until the timer buzzes.

Ready. Set. GO!  I’ll see you in twenty.

Whew!  Now look around at what you accomplished in that short time frame.  My two rooms look amazingly better.  Take a look:

Ultimate Simplify Life Challenge for busy wives in March!

Ultimate Simplify Life Challenge for busy wives in March!

Ultimate Simplify Life Challenge for busy wives in March!

Simply Life Homework

Your missions for the rest of the week, should you choose to accept, are the following:

  1. Clean up food and dishes immediately after dinner every night.  If I get comfortable on the couch after eating without cleaning the kitchen, it is torture to get back in there and do what needs to be done.
  2. Run the dishwasher immediately after “dinner clean up” each night.  If you don’t have a dishwasher, handwash all dishes before bed.
  3. Put away clean dishes FIRST thing every morning.  Dishes are put away for all to use and life is good.
  4. Load dishwasher with dirty dishes throughout the day.  This keeps dirty dishes out of the sink all day long and gets them all ready for when you are going to turn on the dishwasher after dinner every night.
  5. Find or make a Spring decoration for the kitchen and the dining room.  It’s amazing how much a vase of Spring flowers in the kitchen windowsill or a bright centerpiece on the dining room table will lift your mood and delight your family (whether they admit it or not).
  6. Put away all the misplaced items that you put in that box during clean-up time.  Take this opportunity to purge all that you can and then use this week to put the rest away.
  7. Pick one area that needs an overhaul and organize it this week.  Whether it’s the Tupperware area, the pantry, or the junk drawer (yes, we all have one of those), give it a good clean and pat yourself on the back afterward!

Simplify Life Challenge

This simple dishwasher system keeps the dishes under control.  If you have kids at home, I suggest making these their chores.  My oldest’s job was to load dishes at night, and my youngest knew that she always had to put up clean dishes in the morning.

Ultimate Simplify Life Challenge for busy wives in March!

Ultimate Simplify Life Challenge for busy wives in March!

It just takes intention – let’s simplify life together!

Let’s connect on Facebook or Instagram.  I’ll be asking how you are doing on your Simplify Life Challenge & sharing photos of how I’m doing over here — so look for me!  Oh yeah, when you finish your challenge each day this week, you have my permission to eat a cupcake!

Are you in for the Simplify Life Challenge for March?

How To Simplify Life In The Kitchen: 7 Easy Hacks (dishes included!)


Feel welcome to go through this Wife challenge at your own pace and any month of the year.  The next post in the progression of taking a month to get our homes in order and lose the chaos is How to Declutter Clothes & Chaos in Your Laundry Room this week!

More you might enjoy:

How to Snag the Perfect Family Getaway!

5 Reasons for Last Minute Travel at the King & Prince

Ultimate Cool Movies List the whole family can enjoy together!

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Published on HuffPost, Okefenokee Living Magazine, and more, Shan is a Family Travel Journalist with a passion for helping women lose the overwhelm of planning family-friendly trips in the south. She shares travel reviews & insider secrets that Women REALLY want to know about Georgia, Florida, & the Carolinas vacations.

☕️ It’s THE REAL DEAL around here ☕️



  1. Harmony, Momma To Go
    March 2, 2017 / 7:13 am

    I am such a minimalist by nature so I’m a little crazy w getting rid of stuff!!!

  2. Bonnie
    March 2, 2017 / 7:29 am

    Great challenge! We don’t have a dishwasher so I just wash dishes as soon as a meal is over…it really makes things simpler I think than waiting til the end of thebday

  3. Wendy Sprous | Moments For "Me"
    March 2, 2017 / 10:20 am

    I love the challenge. We don’t have a dishwasher and the kids are all old enough to get their own food needs throughout the day, so trying to keep up with the dishes is a major battle in my house. I probably should work on a goal of getting our old dishwasher replace with one that works. I will be sharing this post with my Friendly Meal Planning Facebook group. I’m sure some of them would love to get their kitchen tidied up.

    • Shan
      March 3, 2017 / 7:44 am

      Thanks so very much, Wendy!

  4. JeeYoung
    March 2, 2017 / 10:57 am

    Love this challenge! I find decluttering and simplifying such a cathartic challenge for me!

  5. Carina
    March 2, 2017 / 11:18 am

    I love that you posted pictures of the before. 🙂 So much fun to see the transformation! These are the healthy habits I’m working on building in my life so it’s nice to know other people are right there with me. 🙂

    • Shan
      March 3, 2017 / 7:45 am

      Yay, Carina! Yes, we are all in this together. I love to share when I don’t have it all together. Even though I wrote a book about ‘How to Have a Happy Healthy Home,’ I don’t want ppl to think all is perfect all the time!!!

  6. Ayanna
    March 2, 2017 / 12:22 pm

    This is so good! I recently started to load the dishwasher with dirty dishes throughout the day and it makes such a difference. I love flowers in my kitchen and having them helps me to keep my counter clean so I can focus on them and not the junk. So Trader Joe’s here I come.

  7. Allison
    March 2, 2017 / 12:47 pm

    These are great tips and I’m looking forward to hearing more! It’s amazing how little things like filling the dishwasher right after dinner can make life so much easier.

  8. Gloryanna
    March 2, 2017 / 2:55 pm

    Dishes is a big one for me. Putting them in the washer throughout the day helps me a lot and makes it esier to keep things tiday! Nice list by the way!

    • Shan
      March 3, 2017 / 7:46 am

      Thank you so much, Gloryanna

  9. Tendai
    March 2, 2017 / 8:40 pm

    OMG, can’t believe I didn’t think about some of these things e.g putting dishes in the dishwasher during the day. I’m gonna use this tip. Great tips!

    • Shan
      March 3, 2017 / 7:47 am

      Don’t feel bad, Tendai. I always say that the best ideas are always right in front of me. Sometimes it takes me a long time to figure them out. Took me a long time, but when I do, they are live changing. 😉

  10. Angela Kim
    March 2, 2017 / 8:47 pm

    These are great tips! I find that doing things daily helps a lot too. If I postpone anything one day, everything piles up and becomes unmanageable!

  11. Sherene
    March 2, 2017 / 9:38 pm

    Good challenge! I do some of it already but not all. ?

  12. Jasmine Hewitt
    March 2, 2017 / 10:09 pm

    great challenge-i def notice a difference in productivity if i go ahead and get all chores done immediately

  13. AMANDA
    March 2, 2017 / 10:14 pm

    Great challenge! I’m all about a simplified life!

  14. Vicki @ Babies to Bookworms
    March 3, 2017 / 12:54 am

    These are great tips. I found such a difference when I just got into the routine of filling the dishwasher and running it every night.

  15. Beth
    March 3, 2017 / 6:58 am

    Can always use a declutter challenge! It piles up so fast!

  16. Kelly
    March 3, 2017 / 7:18 am

    Loading the dishwasher throughout the day makes a HUGE difference! I’m going to try some of these other great suggestions too!

  17. Mamaguru
    March 3, 2017 / 8:49 am

    I think that tip about unloading the dishwasher first thing is brilliant. If you don’t, you end up with double the work, because the kids can’t put their dirty dishes in it. (Or they do and they get all the clean ones dirty!)

  18. Andi
    March 3, 2017 / 8:58 am

    Love love love this! Our kitchen island always ends up with junk and it feels so good when it’s cleared off. Definitely doing this!

  19. Amanda
    March 3, 2017 / 11:34 am

    I don’t have a dishwasher, so this will truly be a challenge! It is good to have a goal.

  20. Melissa
    March 3, 2017 / 12:28 pm

    I love these tips and the challenge. They really make cleaning seem more manageable!

  21. Kenya
    March 3, 2017 / 4:29 pm

    I know how you feel girl! My kids have toys EVERYWHERE! I’m always stepping on their toys? My kitchen out of everything has to stay clean! My daughter cleans it everyday after dinner! Back when I only had one child it was easy to keep the house cleans but now with THREE it seems impossible ?

  22. Susan Evans
    March 3, 2017 / 4:45 pm

    I already do all those things except for the flowers. I like the flower idea.

  23. Camille
    March 4, 2017 / 9:24 am

    Great list! It really is amazing how good I feel if I take the time to clean up and stay organized – it’s a sense of relief!

  24. Tabitha Shakespeare
    March 4, 2017 / 12:03 pm

    Yes to the dishes rule! It’s such an obnoxious habit but it’s so worth it when you can avoid the piling!

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  26. Jobie Medina
    March 10, 2017 / 11:28 am

    Great pics of before and after. Nice to see. I hate clutter but I like going through stuff on a regular basis. Great article!

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  28. Annie
    March 30, 2017 / 7:18 am

    Great tips! We don’t always clean up after dinner but I know when we do I wake up feeling less frazzled.

    • Shan
      March 30, 2017 / 10:01 am

      Yes! Annie – makes such a difference in my morning attitude! haha

  29. Andrea
    March 30, 2017 / 7:19 am

    Well I’m halfway done with the getting rid of stuff 🙂

    • Shan
      March 30, 2017 / 10:01 am

      WooHoo! Andrea. WTG!

  30. justine
    March 30, 2017 / 8:56 am

    i CANNOT STAND a dirty kitchen — yet it’s the grossest room in the house lol its because its the social hub for everyone and everything. kids play at the table or do their homework and we eat, so we’re always in the kitchen. i love these tips. i don’t have a dishwasher, but i do make my oldest help with putting dishes away!

    • Shan
      March 30, 2017 / 10:00 am

      I’m with ya Justine!

  31. Amy
    March 30, 2017 / 9:40 am

    I’m forwarding this to my husband so we can do it together!!!!

    • Shan
      March 30, 2017 / 10:00 am

      GREAT idea, Amy! 😉

  32. candy
    March 30, 2017 / 9:54 am

    You made me laugh because I have been exactly in your position and it is driving me crazy. I only set my timer for 15 minutes just think what I could have done in 5 more minutes.

    • Shan
      March 30, 2017 / 9:59 am

      Yes!!! Candy – it piles up quick but wow it feels great to get it together.

  33. Dara
    March 30, 2017 / 12:44 pm

    I love these ideas. I’ve started putting away my dried dishes every morning and it’s so helpful to not have them left on the drying mat forever!

    • Shan
      March 30, 2017 / 3:10 pm

      Awesome, Dara. Every little bit helps and these small hacks become good habits very quickly that don’t even use any brain space or anxiety! 😉

  34. jehava
    March 30, 2017 / 2:22 pm

    Really great advice! I am totally taking on these tips to simplify and they are all so helpful!

    • Shan
      March 30, 2017 / 3:09 pm

      Thank you so much, Jehava! I appreciate the kind words.

  35. Catherine Short
    March 30, 2017 / 2:27 pm

    If I’m really on top of my game I’ll unload the dishwasher at night too. I love starting the day with an empty dishwasher.

    • Shan
      March 30, 2017 / 3:08 pm

      YES! That’s what it’s all about Catherine, isn’t it. That awesome feeling of starting the day with a clean kitchen.

  36. Kiley
    March 30, 2017 / 4:42 pm

    These are great ideas. We also run the dishwasher every evening and it makes such a difference to wake up with no dishes in the sink~

  37. Lisa Benavidez
    March 30, 2017 / 6:50 pm

    Thank you!! I totally need some kitchen help!!!

    • Shan
      March 30, 2017 / 8:51 pm

      So glad it was helpful, Lisa!

  38. Ayana
    March 30, 2017 / 7:35 pm

    I hate doing dishes soooooo muchhhhh. I am guilty of leaving them in hopes my husband will get fed up and do them. Can you guess how often that works??

    • Shan
      March 30, 2017 / 8:51 pm

      You made me laugh out loud, Ayana! 🙂 Thanks for making my day!

  39. Anna
    March 30, 2017 / 11:16 pm

    I am In love with your kitchen it’s beautiful. Love those chairs as well, such a great pictures.

  40. Maya
    March 31, 2017 / 1:59 am

    Love these ideas! can’t wait till my kiddo is old enough to actually help!

  41. Yvette
    March 31, 2017 / 4:43 am

    Great tips! Love minimalist spaces. So much nicer, and brings my anxiety down! Cannot stand clutter!

    • Shan
      March 31, 2017 / 5:27 am

      Me too, Yvette! I can’t’ handle cluttered rooms! I was minimal before it was cool. hahaha 🙂

  42. April K
    March 31, 2017 / 6:38 am

    1-4 are lifesavers! I’ll even run the dishwasher throughout the day if needed.

  43. Danielle
    March 31, 2017 / 6:47 am

    I’ve been trying to keep the kitchen clean to and it is always so. hard. I too *try* to clean up dishes right away so Im not left with dirty dishes in the sink.

  44. Brittany
    March 31, 2017 / 1:06 pm

    This challenge actually sounds like fun! I really need to declutter my kitchen!

  45. Patricia
    April 1, 2017 / 11:38 am

    These are great tips! I need to get the clutter out!!

  46. Rachel
    April 1, 2017 / 10:34 pm

    There are a few things that I make sure are done every night — and one of them is that the kitchen is totally cleaned up. 🙂 It’s just one of the things that keeps me sane.

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