Keeping House Series #1: Why We Do Dishes & Clean Every Single Evening

We’ve just wrapped up an incredibly busy 2 weeks of Christmas holidays. The out-of-routine busyness of the days are the perfect recipe for disaster.

You see, much like children, my wife and I both thrive on knowing what is coming. We’re both teachers, so we have our set schedules and it definitely helps us to anticipate and plan for any out-of-schedule activities that may occur. In order to keep our Kingsley happy, we want him to have structures in place, but still be flexible in his ability to deal with changes.

One way that we keep our sanity, especially when things get busy, is by taking time to keep the house clean.

Yes, we take busy days and jam-pack a little bit more in, by making sure that things are tidied and put away, counters are sanitized and the sink is empty. There are lots of reasons for this.

  1. It keeps me from losing my mind. Clutter … I just can’t. In the moment of playing or creating, then sure, no problem. But after the fact, it’s got to be tidied in some way.

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  2. We want Kingsley to see us cleaning up after ourselves. That means after supper, we do the dishes that don’t go in the dishwasher, load the dishwasher (he usually “helps” with this), package up leftovers, prep lunches for the next day, clean up clutter on the main level, wipe down all of the surfaces and make sure that things are both clean and tidy. By involving him in it, even at 16 months by having him around while we do it and talk about it, we’re making it a part of his normal life. It’s becoming expected, and it will help us later when we want him pitching in more. Really, it takes about 30 minutes at most, because we do it every day and there aren’t mountains to move. After it’s clean and tidy, we move upstairs so he can have some “naked time” to air out his little diapered bum, have his bath and some play time with his upstairs collection of toys.

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  3. We hate our counters. In fact, the kitchen in general drives us crazy. The counters are tiled, and they’re a dark tile. The grout lines beg for our well-water to stain them, and they collect dirt and grime. If we don’t stay on top of them, we’ll lose all control of cleanliness. We could try hiding it with clutter, but then … see #1. As with our first home, where we had disgusting floors for about 3 years (until we could afford clean, new, nice floors), the only way to control the feelings of anger towards the ugly design of our kitchen is to clean the hell out of it. DAILY!

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    Ew. They show well in photos, if you’re into the look, but we aren’t, and they’re much worse in real life. The edges of the counters are constantly sticky and collect floating dog hair. Moral of the story: we are more or less forced to clean these several times a day.

  4. We have dogs. They have no self control if we’re not in the room. That means that food left out will be eaten in seconds, dishes may be broken, and toys strewn across the room will be inspected. By inspected, I mean they will be ripped to shreds.

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  5. We live in the country, with only one other home on the road, so we’re a hot spot for mice during the winter months. If we leave garbage in the bin, food on the counter and dirty dishes in the sink, we’re basically creating a Facebook Event for all of the rodents in the area.
  6. We care about it. It’s important to us that our home is clean. It’s not just a place to seek shelter, it’s where we seek calm, peaceful sanctuary from our busy days. Clutter does not exactly invite peaceful behaviour, mindsets and attitudes. It feeds anxiety and stress. No thanks.

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  7. When we go to bed at night, there’s nothing on our minds that desperately needs to be done. It’s all neat and tidy, and the following day is ready.

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  8.  When we wake up in the morning, there is nothing out to distract us. We know where our charging computers are, because they always charge on top of the fridge. We know that the lunches are waiting in the fridge and we know where our lunch kits are.

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    Our bags are packed and waiting in the closet. It’s a streamlined system. When we leave in the morning, there isn’t any mess, because we don’t have much time to make a mess in the morning. That means, when we get home from work, there isn’t a mess. We walk into a peaceful home, ready for us to make memories in.

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