From Dana/Nony: I LOVE this comment Stella left recently on this post. It’s such a great example of how a system, ANY version of a system, makes such a huge difference!
I am proud to say that my dishes and sink are now clean nearly every single day. It’s not a perfect system, I do the dishes in the afternoon and then we cook dinner not long after. This means the kitchen is clean for cooking, it’s just not clean for breakfast and lunch. But it is sooo much better than it was before I took your advice to the dishes every. single. day.
I resisted and resisted at first, but I pushed through. Now it feels so much easier, I don’t feel as resentful and I’ve surprised myself several times doing them much later on those days when I’m sure I’m just going to skip them because the daily routine is all out of whack. I find myself doing them because I don’t want to be doing them the next day when dishes math comes into effect and it takes 3 times as long.
Because we don’t have children I can also give myself a day off from dishes once a week. Friday afternoons I wash the dishes and we have takeout. It’s my night off from cooking. This means I can take Saturday afternoon off from dishes (our most crazy day for not having a routine). We don’t have a dishwasher.
Thank you Dana. A clean kitchen makes so much difference!
Stella from Purfylle.com
That link to Stella’s blog is to her decluttering posts!
I love Stella! I already follow her. So cool when online worlds connect like ts! Thanks Nony for publishing her comment.
lydia purple says
we were just talking with a few moms at churcb about our struggels with keeping the house somewhat tidy… and everywhere it was the same. when the mom. started doing dishes every single night, things started to change for the better. those who struggled, we left with this one piece of advise: start just to clean up your kitchen/ wash the dishes every single night! it’s the best thing i learned from this blog, it saved my sanity and my house!
Kristy K. James says
I’ve never cared much for math – except when it comes to cooking measurements and my checkbook. But dishes math? That’s the worst. Get behind even a little and it seems like it takes ten times longer to catch up.
Doing dishes and cleaning the kitchen makes all the difference in the world. It’s more fun to cook when you have counter space for prepping and pans ready to just pull out of the cupboard. I think it makes a big difference in how healthful our meals are too.
In our household, my husband is the one who stays home and is supposed to do the housework. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out that way. I am a weird, enjoy housework sort of person but I’m not able to keep up with the family being home all day without me. But I’ve found your blog so helpful for understanding what is going on inside my husband’s head! Every time I read him one of your posts he says it’s weird hearing someone explain what it’s like so well.
In trying to get control of the chaos at home, I’ve found the dishes to be key. I started fixing breakfast every morning to make sure the kids and I got something to eat before I left for work. I realized that by going straight to the kitchen when I got up, I’d have time to also load the dishwasher and wipe down surfaces before getting the kids and myself dressed. It has helped so much!
That’s for the ongoing encouragement.
I am so thrilled to have my comment featured! When I first stumbled across A Slob Comes Clean I thought I was doing quite well getting started on my own, but I soon realised that there was a lot you could teach me. I have learnt SO much from you, things I didn’t even know about myself – like leaving cupboard doors open and how much my being stubborn impacts my home. I think you mentioned you were a little stubborn only once over the years, but it made me sit up and take notice of my own stubbornness. I read your blog backwards and you provided me with great tools for getting my home under control. Thanks again for sharing your life with us.
It was great to see your comment featured, Stella. I also tend to do my dishes sometime during the day, & find it helps spur me on. I like your comment on ‘being stubborn’ that gets me in trouble, too!
About 20 years ago I shared a home with two unrelated adults for a season. We had a chore rotation for shared spaces, and a “24 hour dish rule:” we were each responsible for hand washing our own dishes within 24 hours of use. And COULD wash all the dishes If we choose, or could leave the others.
We also cleaned up after whoever cooked dinner, often the guy, who was one of the cold at the retreat center where we all lived and worked!
It was so easy keeping a neat home with two others on board for sharing responsibilities!I
Years ago (when my oldest was little) I read an article on how to keep house. The author said that you should first take care of chores that will multiply themselves like laundry and dishes. If you skip making your bed for 7 days, you still have only one unmade bed. If you skip dishes for 7 days, well….we all know how bad it can be. She said that by focusing just on dishes and laundry the house will be functional.
Minnesota Messie says
This certainly makes sense…BUT what if you’ve (meaning me) been skipping the dishes for…ahem – weeks?? Dirty dishes are covering countertops, stove, in both sinks and even in the utility sink! (Notice that I didn’t post my real name!) We (husband, daughter and myself) just wash dishes as we need to in order to make meals. I work 50+ hours a week and the weekends seem to be taken up with church and family activities including babysitting grandchildren. Do I take a vacation day (or two!) from work and get ALL the dishes caught up, then implement Running the Dishwasher Every Night? Do I have too many dishes?? Help, Nony!!
P.S. Naturally, the rest of my house is a disaster, too : (
Dana White says
Do you have my e-book, 28 Days to Hope for Your Home? It totally talks about this. And yes, you start by getting them all done. Rather than take a vacation day, work on them today for as long as you can and then again until you are “done”. Most likely, it won’t take the full amount of time you envision. But remember the key is to do them again the next day. The day after you “finished” them. And again the next day. Even though there will be so few you won’t see the point. That’s where the real change starts to happen. Here’s the e-book that breaks it down step by step, day by day. https://www.aslobcomesclean.com/28-days-to-hope-for-your-home/
Take Dana’s advice! She knows what to do!!
It’s the doing them even when there are so few that it doesn’t seem worthwhile that is magic.
Oh my gosh, what was I thinking when I said that? I think there was a whole conversation that happened in my head that finished with that sentence. Once you’ve caught up *then* that statement becomes relevant…but to get to that point in the first place it was hard work for me.
I used Dana’s ‘project’ concept she uses for laundry. What was happening for me was I would always start with glassware, then crockery, and I would never make it to the pots and pans. I started to see some progress once I changed my approach so that I wasn’t cleaning newly dirtied glassware until after I’d made it all the way through cleaning everything that had been dirty when I first started. It showed me some of our usage habits too.
I hope Minnesota M that you’ve managed to make some headway since last year in your kitchen, but if you haven’t, don’t lose hope or give up. It took me 40 years before I figured it out.
I still look at my dish pile sometimes and think, ‘Meh, there’s hardly anything there, I could just skip it.’ Then I make myself do them anyway and I’m often surprised at how full the drying rack is and how much of an impact it has on my kitchen, and how much *easier* this still new-to-me method is for keeping my kitchen sane.
Some drastic ideas to get you over the hump
-Skip a family activity or two until you’re caught up
-Get family members to help (maybe the ones who need you to babysit could trade some chores?)
-throw away all the dirty dishes and wash (or get new) just as many as you need for one day
-Allow someone from church to bless you with a dish marathon and get you back to start.
I just have to chime in with my version of Nony’s rule of doing the dishes. I load the dishes throughout the day into the dishwasher and after supper I run the dishwasher and wash the pots. In the morning I unload the dishwasher while making tea and then repeat the process. Sounds good, doesn’t it? The problem is that there are items I don’t want to put in the dishwasher, so they sit beside the sink. And then they may sit there for 2 weeks because my routine is JUST what I described above. When the dirty dish side of the counter gets too full and I finally hand wash them, they then sit on the clean side, waiting to be finally put away. At any one given time, I have a pile of misc. dirty dishes on one side and a pile of clean misc. dishes on the other. And they just blend into the scenery. So, I have found that the ONLY thing that works is setting a timer. If I think the dishes will take 10 minutes, I add on another 5 minutes to complete whatever I would normally ignore. I still have that mentality of “it’s just a few things and I will do them tomorrow.” Then the next day I don’t feel like it, either. So the timer is the one extra step and 5 minutes each day makes a HUGE difference!
Dana White says
Dana White says
That’s a great strategy! I love using a timer for tasks!
I babysit at my daughter’s house two mornings a week, and generally load/ unload the dishwasher, wash pots and pans, clean counters, ….
I sometimes fold towels, or help with a laundry marathon. Her preschoolers are 4, and I try to engage them in pick-up-time sometime before lunch.
Her husbandvis great at house chores, but they both work full time… the teens have a chor list, but usually sleep late, ….
it’s a process!
(& my own home … Oy, vey!!)