I’m the primary dish washer in our family. We don’t own a dishwasher and every day, dishes must be washed. I know this. I do wash dishes every day. Yet, my rhythm is off. More often than not, I go to bed leaving dirty dishes languishing in the sink and a sticky high-chair tray quietly weeping in the dark.

Waking up to dirty dishes and a messy kitchen depresses the heck out of me. With that, I find that the emotional obstacle that the situation generates inhibits creativity!

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As part of my endeavor to cultivate my creative spark (and composure in mothering), I want to work on getting the dishes done and the kitchen completely clean before I go to bed each night. I’m presenting this task to myself as a challenge to complete every single evening this month, in an effort to make it a habit. The October Dishwashing Challenge!

I feel like most of my friends and relatives are already better than I am at getting the dishes done every night. But perhaps I just think all of my friends go to bed with perfectly clean kitchens because that’s how they appear when I visit in the afternoon.

I would like to blame the fact that I don’t have a dishwasher—or the baby—for my own lack, but I know there is more to it than that. It’s disorganization. Since I usually end up doing dishes in the morning, I don’t want to do more at night, when I am tired, and the vicious cycle continues. If I do wash the dishes at night, but don’t get them all dried and put away, that too drags me down in the morning. I only have 15.5″ of counter space, so if there are clean dishes sitting there, I have 0″, and it’s still a hindrance to the beginning of my day. Hopefully posting on this challenge will motivate me to stick with it and change my ways! I think it could make a huge difference in my life, freeing up mental space for creativity at the start of my day, when I still have energy.

Dishwashing seems like such a mundane thing, but it’s a necessity that has an impact on how we feel when we prepare meals, how meals are prepared, and how we feel when we go into the kitchen for a drink of water or cup of tea. I love preparing meals for my family and I do feel the kitchen is the heart of my home. I want to ensure that it doesn’t skip a beat!

If you also struggle with the task of washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen at the end of the day, perhaps you would like to participate in this October Dishwashing Challenge. Let me know in the comments below if you will be joining me! Also, if you are already consistent with this, do you have any tips you would like to share?

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susanvanwynen
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gooooo, Heather! And I’ll join the challenge as soon as I get home. I used to be really good about dishes but have gotten out of the habit of doing them right after dinner (and we even have a dishwasher!) and then I go back to work in the evening so then by the time I quit working, I don’t ant to face the kitchen again because it is usually already past time for bed. So I’m in for the challenge you can check up on me when you come visit ! :-) We had more of a routine when the kids were little, one of us would do dishes and the other the kids’ baths. That was a lovely lot of clean—counters and kids. Made for a much more relaxing, or at least productive, evening.

Laurie Twibell
Guest

Susan, I was thinking the same thing! Heather, sweetly talk to your husband about needing help in the evening and then present the options: clean up the kitchen or the children.

I struggle with evening dishes because I am a morning person. What seems like a mountain in the evening, is a small hill in the morning. I can be so tired in the evening that I simply don’t care.

However, just last night, I “heard” my sister-in-law in my head saying, “What do you want to wake up to tomorrow morning?” She has eight children and the only time she’s left a dirty item in the sink was when she was going into labor. If she can do, then I can, too!

I’m up for the challenge! (But I’ll have to tape a note to the bathroom mirror to remind myself.)

Phil
Guest

I have a dishwasher and a seven week old baby. The idea is that in the evening I stack the dishwasher (with her asleep and tied to my chest) then in the morning I empty the dishwasher and between doing breakfast for myself and daughter number one (this may, or may not be while having a baby tied to me). I’m successful, at best, 50% of the time.

I did most of the washing up, by hand, with daughter number one. Usually last thing at night, leaving it to dry overnight so I could put it away in the morning. Again, there were various levels of success.

I admire your ambition for consistency.

Auntie Valorie
Guest

Oh Heather! Bless you for being so honest! I really got into “The Flylady” years ago and was very inspired to have the shiny sink smiling at me in the morning! However, I have such a full life that this is also a huge chore for me. I’m in on the challenge as well!

My tip is to try and wash the dishes as soon you are finished eating. While baby is still in her highchair, quickly wash her dish and spoon before moving on to the next activity. I rarely fill my whole sink with water… that feels more like a heavy project to me. I love those scrubbies where you put your dish soap in the handles. You can do a couple of dishes at a time very quickly under the running tap. Its too overwhelming to do a whole day’s worth of dishes at one time.

Laurie Twibell
Guest

How are you doing on your challenge? I’ve cleaned up my kitchen every evening this month except for one night when I left a few clean pots and pans in the sink to dry overnight. Does that count against me??

Tasha
Guest

Hey Heather,I just read this and wanted to say that I too hate dishes and that it’s my constant battle to get them done. I can always think of a ton of other things that are so much more important at the end of the day and then they pile up on me in my little sink, which then makes it even harder to get the water and soap going to wash them. I feel like I can stay on top of all my other housework while dealing with the twins, but not the dishes. So I’m inspired by your goal and I’m going to make a renewed effort to wash things up after each meal, because at the end of the day I just don’t have the energy! And I’m going to keep saving for my long dreamed of dishwasher while I do!

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