Beat the Buzzer: The Ultimate Clean Kitchen Playlist

True Confession: As much as we love a clean kitchen, scrubbing pots and pans, sweeping up grains of rice, and breaking out the cleaner to scrub down appliances aren’t exactly our favorite things to do. Enter Beat the Buzzer! Here’s how we transform this nightly chore from dreadful to dance party.

Beat the Buzzer: What is it?

The origins of Beat the Buzzer probably began in the mid-1980s when my mom needed a way to motivate all five children to quickly clean the kitchen. My resourceful mother used an old kitchen timer, and we had a certain amount of time (usually about 8-12 minutes) to “beat the buzzer”. If we had friends over, they pitched in, too, making it a full-group effort.

It was only years later that I realized that we pretty much always beat the buzzer, because my mom wisely added an extra 5 minutes if it looked like we weren’t going to make it on time. You’d better believe that tactic still works today- and it’s just as easy to do on my smartphone clock as it was on the kitchen timer. Also, there’s no need to stop at the kitchen- we’ve used Beat the Buzzer for every task from unpacking our suitcases to folding laundry.

Many nights we didn’t have background music, but nothing puts that extra pep in your step like the rhythmic beats of some classic songs. You can use some of the songs for built-in mini goals. Can you load the dishwasher by the end of this song? Can you find the damp cloth to wipe down the refrigerator by the chorus?

This list is just a starting point. Feel free to modify everything and use your own songs. Make your own memories with the family! The important thing is, in just a matter of time, your whole family can celebrate a job well-done. (And bask in the glow of your spotless kitchen!)

beat the buzzer

What to Play When You’re Getting Psyched to Clean the Kitchen

Especially after you’ve had a long, satisfying meal, it’s hard to think about cleaning. But now is the time to play one of the following anthems to get you in the mood to clean. And feel free to grab a serving spoon for your microphone, or whisk for the air guitar.Beat It, Michael Jackson: The stage is set, and what better way to “beat the buzzer” than to literally spell out your evening goal. You want to beat it- beat your time, beat that horrific pile of dirty dishes in the sink. You know what to do!Rock Around the Clock, Bill Haley and His Comets: You’ve got a deadline, we get it! So what better way to get in the Beat-the-Buzzer mindset than to rock around the clock!Eye of the Tiger, Survivor: Is there any song that gets you ready for the big kitchen cleaning challenge ahead quite like Eye of the Tiger? Are you ready to do what it takes to keep those dreams of sparkling dishes and well-swept floors alive? Do you have what it takes to “rise up to the challenge of our rival” (aka the dirty kitchen)?  We know you do! So work it!

beat the buzzer

Finding Your Rhythm

It’s hard not let those stacks of dishes intimidate you. Maybe your 7-year-old thought this was the perfect night to bake sugar cookies. So you have frosting caked onto your countertops. Maybe you need to mop up some spaghetti sauce from the white grout of your tiles after pasta night? Here are some songs for you!Get this Party Started, Pink. (clean version) You’ve warmed up, you’re ready, so take that kitchen-cleaning party up to the next level! Rinse those dishes and put them in the dishwasher. Scrub away that extra grime. You’ve got this!Shake it Off, Taylor Swift. Cleaning the kitchen isn’t a perfect process for most of us, so shake it off! Sweep away those cracker crumbs, break out your favorite cleaner, wipe down those appliances, mop up the floor, and keep on going.I Like to Move It, Reel 2 Real (Madagascar movie version with Sacha Baron Cohen) Nothing gets your little guys moving like this classic. A few songs into the kitchen cleaning, you might find some little Houdinis who conveniently have to go to the bathroom urgently. Or perhaps somebody will be “just too tired” after a few minutes of cleaning to possibly get any work done. So keep on moving and grooving, my friends! (This song is also a great way to encourage your family to head to the car ASAP.)

beat the buzzer

The Clean Kitchen Afterparty

Here are a couple of bonus songs to help reward your favorite kitchen cleaners as you transition into a family dance party. Be sure these don’t pop up prematurely! If you’re having a slow night, repeat a favorite, or add a few more songs to the list, because you don’t want these songs to taunt you when you’ve still got a sink full of dirty dishes! But when the time is right, enjoy a job well done!

I Feel Good, James Brown. Because coming back to a sparkling-clean kitchen is amazing! You’ve completed your goal. Congrats!

Everybody Dance Now, C&C Music Factory. You’ve cleaned up, your house is happy, so let the family dance party begin! This is a great transition song into your ultimate dance party playlist. Everybody dance now!

What would you add to this list? Or do you have any kitchen-cleaning strategies? Let us know in the comments below, or chat with your friends and family on your favorite family app!

Calendar Apps for Family

The 10 Best Calendar Apps for Families

Time management is key for a good work-life balance. Check out the top ten calendar apps to organize your personal ...
Winterize Your House - Tips and Tricks

How to Winterize a House: Your Cold-Weather Game Plan

Check out 6 easy tips to winterize a house so you can stay safe and prevent serious damage to your ...
simple pandemic proof living with the Yellis family

Simple, Pandemic-Proof Living with the Yellis Family

Prior to the pandemic, the Yellis family embraced simple living. They’ve discovered simplicity prepared them to weather the storm with ...
How A Toy-Free Kids Room Works

Toy-Free Room: Bring Imagination Back Into The Kids Room

A toy-free children's room may be a healthy solution for your home. Check out these suggestions for how you can ...