This is what I do to keep my kitchen clean. When I don't do these things, it doesn't stay clean. I've only been doing this for a week or so, but it's really becoming a routine.
I like to light a candle while I'm in the kitchen. It smells good and makes it a more pleasant place to do my work. I also like to listen to the radio or a CD. Usually I forget to turn this on until I am already done.
Each night I unload the dishwasher and put dishes away. I keep all the cupboards open while putting stuff away instead of opening and closing them 100 times. I throw all of the trash away (empty boxes, bags, bank receipts, etc). If there are papers that need dealt with, I move them to the desk in the bedroom. If there are catalogs/magazines to be read, they go under the chair in our bedroom. All toys get taken back to the living room and magnets put back on the fridge.
All pop cans and metal cans get taken out to the garage for recycling.
I scrape all of the leftover food into one bowl or pan (preferably something that is already dirty, so I'm not making another dish). I also dump all the drinks out of cups into the sink. I load the dishwasher, fill it with soap and start it. Then I fill the sink with hot soapy water. I put whatever dishes are left (usually some misc. and pans that don't fit in the dishwasher) into soak and wash off all the counters.
Then I go and straighten up the living room. This gives the dishes time to soak so I won't need as much elbow grease when I get back. When the living room is straightened, I go back and take the food garbage outside to get rid of it. Then I wash the dishes and put them into the drainer.
In the morning I have all the dishes to put away, but I also have a nice clean kitchen to fix breakfast in and pans to cook it in!
This is how my kitchen looks tonight...