After-Dinner Clean Up

Do you clean up your kitchen after dinner? If you didn’t grow up doing that, you might find it hard to do now. If you aren’t doing it, you know what? It is likely your daughters won’t either when they have their families, and so it will go generation after generation.

It’s a great feeling to go to bed with a clean kitchen and wake up without a pile of dishes cluttering the sink, demanding attention when you want to make breakfast to start your day.

Moms who are learning to schedule put kitchen clean up right after dinner in their schedule. What about you? Are you doing that? If not, what’s stopping you from starting today?

Trusting in Jesus,

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).

41 thoughts on “After-Dinner Clean Up”

  1. Regardless of what everyone else in my family thinks, I like to clean up the kitchen as soon as dinner is over in the evening. I can’t do whatever I’m doing in the evening with the knowledge that the kitchen is messy! And yes, coming downstairs to make breakfast in a messy kitchen is not a good feeling!

    Hannah, 25yo daughter at home

  2. My kitchen gets cleaned after every meal. I can’t imagine leaving anything. If you do it that way, it doesn’t take long at all. If you leave it, it will pile up and be overwhelming.

  3. Another habit that I was taught to do, is make my bed in the morning. A nice neat cozy bed is a welcome sight at the end of the day. We always clean the kitchen after diner and prepare our coffee for the next morning.

  4. My mother taught my sister and I to clean the kitchen as we cooked dinner. By the time dinner is over, all I have to do is transfer the food to other containers, wipe down the counters and stove one last time, load up the dishwasher, and wash the stray pot or pan that won’t fit. The thought of doing the dinner dishes, etc., after I have already fixed the meal is very disheartening and my mother gave us a huge blessing by teaching us to clean as we go.

  5. Starting the day with an empty sink and clean kitchen is a game changer for the day to go smoother. Also, the dishwasher gets emptied first thing every morning so dishes do not pile up in the sink throughout the day. I try to clean up and wash dishes as much as I can while cooking. There is a schedule on the refrigerator reminding everyone who is on kitchen clean up each night and who is to unload the dishwasher each morning. By sharing these chores, each family member only is responsible for these tasks about 2-3 times a week.

  6. I clean up as soon as the children have eaten to keep the kitchen in a tidy order, so that when my husband comes home from work and we eat our dinner together, the bulk of the pans and plates is done, and we can enjoy more evening together.
    I really appreciate starting each morning with a clean and tidy kitchen.

  7. I may have hit the teen daughter jackpot when it comes to kitchen clean up. She suggests I leave it to her ALONE! Now wanting to do it alone could have something to do with the airbuds in her ears but hey, I’m OK with that!

  8. Oh goodness!! Clean up after dinner was mandatory. Mama washed, I dried, and my brother and dad cleared the table, swept, and put food away. We also had a huge garden, so most of what we grew was canned which meant washing and sterilizing jars. I am 47 now, but I was in high school before my family bought a dishwasher. That was such a good day if for no other reason, it washed/dried/sterilized the jars at the same time, and Mama and I did not have to do it. Now my kids are in charge of clean up, and it is lovely waking up the next morning to a clean kitchen.

  9. It has made a world of difference doing this in our home, too! It’s great for the children to see each other all pitching in. One of my children said the other day, “It’s fun and I really enjoy it” – who would have thought a little training and expectation could bring joy like that!

    Sometimes we’ve even been able to fit in a family walk in the evening after clean-up, which has been such a good time of up-building.

    Thanks, Teri!

  10. I would be simply unable to go to sleep with the thought of a dirty/messy kitchen!

    I usually clean up as soon as I finish eating. The only exception would be whenever I use the dishwasher, which I run later at night (electricity here is cheaper from 8pm to 5am), and I unload first thing in the morning.

    I also totally agree with you when you say that if cleaning up after dinner isn’t a habit you have picked up from your family, you are highly unlikely to have your daughters do that once they start their own families. Thankfully, my mom and grandma taught me very well 🙂

    Many blessings,


    1. We can be grateful for mothers who taught us that. I have discovered that many do not have that heritage and struggle to learn the routine of cleaning up right after a meal.

  11. I enjoyed cleaning up and am jumping from the table to clean up as soon as dinner is over. There is no sense in putting it off. Although the clean dishes might be left to dry overnight in the drainer, they are put away first thing in the morning.

    1. Yes, if you leave them to dry overnight, you save that amount of time, which is especially helpful with fewer workers. In our family, when we work together, by the time the dishes are washed, they are generally dried as well since we have six adults pitching in together.

  12. Yes! We clean it up every day after each meal we have at home. My Mom taught me that and even though I was annoyed by it as a teenager, I appreciate it now that I have my own home. My husband didn’t grow up doing this, but he is getting used to it (after 6 yrs of marriage). He cleans it up himself some days while I bathe the children. He appreciates waking up every day to a clean kitchen – less chaos at 5 AM when he has to go to work.

    1. I enjoyed your perspective of not liking the cleanup plan when you were growing up but now being grateful that those habits were instilled in you.

  13. Definitely getting the dishes done before going to bed has always been the norm around our house.

    After dinner everyone pitches in to get the food put up and dishes to the sink. There is sometimes great conversation while this is going on. Then we have two teams that switch off washing and drying every night. It is nice as a mom to have a break every other night from dish duty.

    So thankful our kids never complain about pitching in and getting things done.

  14. My Mother taught all of us to clean up as you go. This way it is not such a big task at the end. I taught this to my 3 children. We do sit around the dinner table and talk for a bit after dinner, but then we all get up and clean up. I love this special time of laughing and joking around while getting the job done!

    1. Yes, we do that, too. Talk for a while and then clean up. Often I get up early from the table discussion and start washing dishes since my back is usually ready for a break. The sink faces the dining table so I can still hear and participate in the talk and finish my part sooner. Then I can lie down for a back rest a bit earlier.

  15. It is always a blessing seeing the Maxwell family working together as a team and best friends! Cleaning the kitchen has always been one of the biggest household jobs in our large family of 12. At one time the only dishwasher we had was named Trey or Lee, our two oldest sons. I look back at two dining tables full of children and often extended family and realize what a blessing it is to have children cheerfully serving their family in kitchen clean up. Now it is often the youngest daughter(11) and Mom cooking & cleaning as the older children ages 16-32 have married, work outside the home, work on farm chores, and are usually completing their busy schedules. I so appreciate your blog and sharing your life with those of us who often need the encouragement to press on. Praying for sweet Anna Marie, Christopher, and those precious little ones. It has been such a beautiful testimony to see and hear of Anna Marie’s faith in the Lord Jesus. May each continue to draw their strength from the endless fountain of His love, mercy, and grace.

    1. Nice you have a daughter to help you in the kitchen, Christie, with your others unable. I have taken over more of the meal preparation work these days since the girls are working so much. I don’t have a younger girl to help me, but I sure enjoy listening to audio books, Scripture, or something educational while I am in the kitchen.

  16. Unfortunately, I am one of the women who has a messy kitchen. No matter how hard I try, I am always behind. I did not grow up in an organized, clean home. However, my husband did. But he never had to do anything. After eating, they all scattered and his mom would do all the cleaning. I would love for my children to enjoy mealtime and linger after eating, just to talk and be together. It is sad. I have tried for years but after 16 years of marriage and 6 kids later, I can’t make it happen. Exhaustion and frustration has taken its toll and I have given up. I wish it wasn’t such a struggle for me.

    1. That would be tough for a family your size. Maybe a pair of head phones and listening to Scripture, sermons, audio books, or other educational material would make that time a little more pleasant and therefore easier for you – until that 3 year old gets older and is your kitchen buddy. Even now, I expect she loves to be with mama in the kitchen.

  17. I’ve been trying to instill this habit into myself and my children. So it’s very encouraging to come here and see you posting about it!!!

  18. I love to listen to sermons and music on my phone while cooking and cleaning. And yes, my daughter loves to help “cook” and wash dishes. She just doesn’t like to stop stirring or scrubbing when it is time to be done!! 😉

  19. I have a kitchen buddy of the day. The Buddy helps prepare the meal and with clean up after. For breakfast, lunch and snacks each person is responsible for cleaning their own mess and dishes. My blessings are 11 and 9.

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