Nightly 'Closing Duties' Is The Easiest Way To Keep Your Kitchen Clean And Functional

When you wake up on a groggy Wednesday morning, the last thing you want to see is an empty coffee pot, messy countertops, and a sink full of dirty dishes. If walking into your kitchen in the morning feels less like entering a quiet cafe and more like stumbling across a bar room after New Year's Eve, you might find yourself asking, "Who closed last night!?" That's the key — you could and should be closing up your kitchen every night! Recently, the internet has been raving about the idea of a kitchen closing shift, a simple nightly routine that will set you up for success every morning and ensure that your household stays organized, happy, and healthy. 

The hashtag #closethekitchen now has over 7.8 million views on TikTok alone, and people are coming up with some very creative takes on the trend. Much like closing up shop at a bar or restaurant, keeping a checklist of closing duties at home helps the kitchen stay sanitary and ready to "open" every morning, but closing up the kitchen doesn't have to feel like work. Learn more about the items you should be crossing off your list off your nightly to-do list and how you can make the habit fun for your whole family. 

Understanding your evening essentials

Following a nightly closing duty routine is a great way to ensure you start the next day feeling refreshed and ready to go, but it's also important for your health. It's no surprise that kitchens are quite germ-ridden because they're hubs of family activity. Some of the germiest places in your kitchen include fridge handles, countertops, the kitchen sink, cutting boards, and dish sponges. Washing the dishes and sanitizing hard surfaces every night can prevent foodborne illnesses and lessen your risk of catching a cold or flu virus. 

What tasks should be on the closing shift to-do list? Anything that tends to get messy during the day. In general, you'll want to start from the messiest area first and aim for a cleaning level somewhere between a standard tidy and a deep clean. The routine for your closing duties might start with washing the dishes in the sink and running them through the dishwasher if you have one. Next, clean, sanitize, and rinse the kitchen sink and wipe down all of the countertops. Wipe down the handles on the faucet, refrigerator, oven, and microwave, and finish off your routine by sweeping the floor and changing out the trash, if needed. When you're done with your closing duties, you may also want to prepare one or two things to make your morning even smoother, such as setting up the coffee pot or washing the fruit you'll need for breakfast.

Tackling your closing to-do list

If you aren't sure where to start, it's a great idea to write up an actual list of closing duties and check off items as you work through them. Include a few weekly items too, such as replacing the kitchen sponge on Sunday or cleaning the microwave on Monday. Enlist the help of your "coworkers" to get everyone on board. Everybody has a job to do, and nobody goes home (to bed) until the kitchen is closed! Dessert makes an enticing payment for everyone, but there are dozens of ways to make your closing shift fun. 

TikTok user @alyshondra explained a very unique idea to help you get in the cleaning mood every night. In a video posted to their page, they write, "Put on your noise-canceling headphones for your kitchen shutdown. Find a bardcore playlist on Spotify. I prefer Stantough. Light a wood wick candle — the leather and embers one from Target is perfect. Channel that inner hardworking tavern wench. I swear this is the best kitchen shutdown I've had in so long." For even more whimsical fun, Alyshondra recommends tossing on an apron and thinking of a creative "tavern" name for your kitchen. If you get caught up in the medieval tavern magic and happen to forget an item or two from your to-do list, that's okay. Surely the opening shift will take care of it.