I am not typically at all anal about housework (I know…that’s what they all say, but you can ask anyone who lives here if you don’t believe me).  My husband gets annoyed with me because I will start cooking a meal before the dishes are done.  Hey, what can I say? Food=energy to do the damn dishes.  However, when it comes to actually doing the dishes, I am very anal about the process. 

  1. In order for me to begin the task, the sink must be completely empty and wiped out shiny clean.  (Finding a sink of soaking dishes is one of my pet peeves…even when I’m the culprit. I really should know how much I hate that!) 
  2. Any excessively dirty dishes must scraped, and rinsed before they are added to the to-be-washed pile.  Sometimes this involves a thorough cleaning (as with oily items). 
  3. All the dishes must be stacked in a neat and orderly fashion. 
  4. Then, and only then, can the sink be stopped up and soap added and the water run. 
  5. Then, of course the dishes have to be washed in a certain order: 
    • I have an above the sink drying rack*, so it’s important that all glass (heavy) items be washed first. 
    • Then comes all the plastic stuff (light weight so it doesn’t matter so much if it topples off the shelf). 
    • Then the big pots and pans which probably have to be hand dried because they won’t fit on the shelf (although sometimes I defy that rule and stack away). 
    • At the very end of the washing sequence comes the silverware.  I slide the whole stack into the sink at once.  My son tells me that this is a bad idea…I will surely get cut on one of the sharp knives.  Sometimes I heed his warning and separate out the sharp knives before the slide-in but mostly I just ignore him. I’ve never cut myself on a sharp knife (while it was in the sink).  Maybe I would be more careful if I owned knives that were sharp enough to actually cut!  (I know…Martha Stewart would have some “sharp” words to say about that!) 
  6. After the dishes are all washed, then it’s essential that all the counters be thoroughly wiped…and frankly I don’t understand why nobody else around here seems to care about that step of the process.  They are so disgusting!

Now, I’m sure there are those of you out there who are questioning my sanity at handwashing dishes, especially if you know that I used to have a dishwasher.  Well, there were a couple of reasons that I forfeited the dishwasher: 

  • One: it seemed like I always needed something that was in the not-full dishwasher and so I’d have to wash it by hand anyway. 
  • Two:  it seemed like there were way to many things that I used that either couldn’t go in the dishwasher or just took up a foolish amount of space in there. 
  • Three:  I didn’t want my kids to end up going to live on their own and not having a clue how to wash a damn dish…I just think that would be kind of embarassing for them.  (Obviously, I get NO thanks for this act of kindness!)

So there’s my confession about my one anal behavior.  Maybe I shouldn’t call it anal.  Maybe I should call it meditative.  After all, I’m pretty sure I started acting like that about dishes right around the time I read “The Miracle of Mindfulness” by Thich Nhat Hanh.  The first chapter has this to say: “While washing the dishes one should only be washing the dishes, which means that while washing the dishes one should be completely aware of the fact that one is washing the dishes.”  (So, if my sister thinks I’m really anal about the washing of dishes, she only has herself to blame, since she’s the one who gave me the book 😉 )

* Here’s a picture of the above the sink drying rack for your yawning viewing pleasure.  I thought it up after reading about some country (I think Sweden) that does something like that.  I think the subject of the book had something to do with an ergonomic kitchen.  (Not sure…it’s been a long time).

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