A few weeks ago I guessed that Michele would have us clean the oven sooner or later. I checked the weather forecast and found a cool morning to set the self-clean cycle on the oven. (My northern friends are incredibly jealous that we're already having afternoons that are too warm to run the self-cleaning cycle on an oven without turning on the air conditioning.)
After letting the self-clean cycle run, I used a razor blade to scrape off all the gunk on the glass window and a bit of steel wool to scrub the racks.
The toaster oven and the microwave simply needed a bit of elbow grease.
The biggest improvement in the kitchen came when I cleared off the countertops. This part of the counter is several inches higher than the rest and divides the kitchen from the dining area. It often becomes a catch-all area, collecting all sorts of junk.
I love the way that clearing out just a bit of random clutter makes my whole kitchen look better. I haven't been able to keep this area completely clean, but I have been able to keep it from becoming a jumbled mess. And when that area of the kitchen looks clean, then I notice the things left out on other counters that could be put away. Before I know it, the whole room is sparkling and I'm smiling.