Project 2: Now Add The Kitchen (Minus the Dishes)

Posted on Sun 08/18/13 in Getting Organized Series

Keeping things clean is not easy when you’re an absent-minded “set-it-down-er” but after 3 weeks of keeping up with small changes to the living room, it’s time to build another habit to the repertoire—- The Kitchen, where IMHO we are most severely judged…

For us, keeping up on dishes daily is out of the equation since, frankly, this is me we’re talking about here, and because we don’t as of yet have a dishwasher. Now, If you have a dishwasher – I really like the advice from Nony at A Slob Comes Clean, and when we get a dishwasher, I have already committed this advice of hers to memory. In the meantime, since loading the dishwasher every night is not an option, DF and I decided to give ourselves the leeway to be realistic and know that we just won’t get dishes washed after every meal. Our game plan: the rest of the kitchen has to follow the same guidelines as the new rules that we’re using for the living room, minus the dishes – which will get done on weekends.

The rest of the kitchen has to follow the same guidelines as the new rules that we’re using for the living room.

My mother calls me her little hurricane. I’m not going to sit here and deny this, so let me jump straight to the point of this post:
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Accountability – The New Rules for the Kitchen

The kitchen is always a disaster. I love to cook, but I’m a messy person. Here are the new rules:

  1. Kitchen wipe-down: everyone goes to the kitchen after dinner (to put their dishes away-see item #2 below). Sonny Boy can sweep the kitchen floor and DF & I can barter over the other 2 tasks. One putting away dinner leftovers and prepping lunches; the other clearing the stove, closing up containers and wiping down counters.
  1. Everyone carries their dishes in the kitchen. Yes, I am embarrassed to admit that this has to be added to the habit-building repertoire.

That’s It! Those are the only rules!!! Remember people, I am just trying to make a dent in the structure of our lives some small changes for this family.

But what a difference implementing these 2 little rules has made for us! Note: getting everybody on board was easy -because for DF, all I had to do was give him a bartering option. Additional Note: It doesn’t matter that Sonny Boy is a terrible sweeper; the take-away is that he’s out there with us participating.


Reader Tips

What are the habits that you’ve developed within your family for the kitchen? How do you keep those habits simple, so that they are followed? Please share your ideas for kitchen maintenance!

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# J wrote on Tue 09/10/13 at 08.33 PM:

I was just reading The Power of Habit — a really good book about the neuroscience behind changing your habits! You’re right, start with little things, and build a cue (finishing dinner), and a reward (movie? game night? dessert treat?) into the routine.
Our routine is that one child clears all the plates and dishes from the table. One parent gets the kids bathed and dressed in pajamas upstairs, and the other does the cleanup downstairs. It’s taken some “communication” over time to agree on what “cleanup” actually means: leftovers put away, dishes in the dishwasher, hand washing done, counters wiped down, and floor vacuumed (most nights).
Another book I really really like (can you tell I’m a reader) is the Dad’s Own Housekeeping Book. It’s simple, straightforward, and focused on “Good Enough” Housekeeping, rather than Good Housekeeping.

# Grandma C. wrote on Tue 09/08/15 at 03.46 PM:

I found many years ago that it was only getting into the habit when cooking to wash up your prep dishes as you go along. A pan/pot (all ready used) put in the sink with soap and hot water can sit there and all you do is drop your used stuff into it (They almost soak themselves clean.) and while waiting a minute or two for something on the stove wash a few of the soaking items & put in a drainer or on a towel laid on the counter to drip dry. By the time your dinner is over most of your prep dishes are ready to be put away. No need to waste your weekend with the dishes! Try it. It does work!

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