Getting Organized, Step 7: clean as you go

In the original article 8 habits organized people they talk about chefs and how they clean up immediately. This is good advice for private kitchens as well, and if it's just because you don't have that many bowls and pans, so need to wash them out before reusing them. 

My cute little pizzaiolo
They failed to mention that an organized gastronomy concepts also contains a "mise-en-place" - it is French and translates as "put-in-place" and is the part that often takes up more time than the actual cooking. Still it's worth doing it in order to prevent ransacking the herbs & spice rack on a quest for some nutmeg mid-cooking, and later noticing that you ran out of milk, too. Now how are you gonna make that sauce? 

PS: It is also a good idea to read the recipe and go shopping before ;-) Especially for people like me who are intrigued by food pictures on the internet and need to convert cups and ounces into grams and liters before doing anything at all.

In the kitchen I find it pretty easy to clean as you go because in a matter of hours I will need an empty work surface and clean tableware again, and rather than hoping someone else will miraculously take care of it, I'd get it over with. Don't want to end up like this lady here:

Back to the "mise-en-place". We do it with clothes, too. I used to laugh at people who put out their things the night before. How on earth was I supposed to know what I was going to feel like wearing the next morning? I became forced to start doing the clothing mise-en-place as soon as I started working at the airport, and little Colin and I had to leave the house around 6:45am at the latest. No time for standing in front of the closet!

Kindergarten gear - ready for the next morning
Nothing to wear!!!
The other day Colin was fooling around in the shower spraying beyond the cubicle glass wall - wetting the carefully laid out clean and formerly dry clothes. I scolded him and pointed out that I could really imagine nicer activities than doing laundry all the time, and would he please respect that and appreciate having his "mise-en-place" ready for him every day.

He seemed to think about it and then said with a smirk "Mommy, you know, your mise-en-place is now a mise-en-nass!!!" Nass is German and means wet. Pretty clever wordplay for a 5 year old. 

In a house with several floors there is always stuff that needs to be taken up- or downstairs. Dirty laundry, clean laundry, supplies, mail, things to be recycled. I usually try to grab something before I hit the stairs. Another thing you learn in the restaurant business: never walk with empty hands! 

We used to have a "half wall" that was the ideal interim storage for those things. It's just that when they sit there long enough, tenants can't see them anymore. That's why the wall had to go. Kidding. The wall was actually knocked down in order to make way for a staircase leading to the extended attic we built almost 10 years ago. There is only a small remainder of the wall, more like a pillar, and it still serves its purpose. And because the space is restricted, things need to be carried down on a regular basis.

You can still try and put the larger items where you would think the next person carries them downstairs:
Ever the optimist, huh?


  1. I always clean the kitchen as I go. I'd invariably leave an ingredient out of the dish if I didn't. Clothes? I have older kids, I do the laundry, leave everyone their own pile on the top of the dryer and it's up to them to get it up to their rooms. AHA, I just found one positive in having older kids!


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