Sunday, January 1, 2012

My #1 housework pet peeve

There are a lot of things that bug me if they aren't done right. I guess my pickiness is a sign that I really am taking on the task of keeping this house together and making it mine. I feel a responsibility for every towel that gets hung (or not hung) and every dish that gets washed (or not washed).

But occasionally I do get help. John does a heck of a lot. And sometimes other friends come over and do a chore here and there while they're visiting. This is wonderful. I'm ever so grateful.

And yet ... they do say, if you want something done right, do it yourself. And when something is not done by me, it's hard for me to relax about it. It might not be done right!

There is one thing, one thing that drives me nuts above any other.

It's more annoying than having my good towels used to clean up spills or dry off the dog, and then having them thrown in the dirty clothes hamper where they will soak all the other clothes and make them mold.

It's more frustrating than when I walk into the kitchen and immediately have to move all the knives, scissors, and pot handles out of the "Marko Reach Zone" -- about 12 inches from the edge, currently, but always extending.

It's more damaging than finding someone has used steel wool on all my teflon pans.

It's worse than when I go to do laundry and the hamper is almost empty ... only to find later, after I've done half a load, that all the important laundry was on the floor somewhere.

It gets under my skin worse than when I am done with the shower and reach out for the towel -- only to find it's hung on the hook on the door, where I can't reach it. (And no, I do NOT want to get out and drip all over the bath mat. Wet bath mats are yucky.)

It wastes more of my time than those 10 minute "blitz" cleanups that happen right before company comes, where stuff is collected from all the visible surfaces and stashed somewhere where I will never see it again.

You want to know what it is?

It's dumb because it is exactly what every other human being in the world likes to do when they walk into a messy kitchen. I must be some kind of freak.

I hate, hate, hate it when all the dishes are piled in the sink.

I know it seems natural. You want to clean off the counter, so you put stuff in the sink. And hey, it'll get a soak in there!

No, no, no. Let me explain why this is the worst thing ever.

1. Some things that are on the counter are not actually dirty, or not very dirty. There's the knife I use to cut cheese -- I use it all day. Just for cheese. But if every hour I go back into the kitchen to cut more cheese (and I do), and every time my cheese knife is swimming in cold grody water ... then I have to get out a new knife every time. Thus resulting in eight knives getting dirty when only one had to.

2. Conversely, some things are extremely dirty. If you put a water glass that just needed a quick scrub, a knife that was only used for cheese, and a bread plate that just needed rinsing, in a sink along with the pan where I browned the hamburger ... the sink will fill up with greasy water and cover every single dish with a nasty greasy film. Now every single dish will need a serious scrub and not a quick touch-up. The same goes for germy things, like the plate I used to cut raw chicken on. Now I don't just have one salmonella-contaminated plate. Now I have a whole sinkful.

3. Some things should not be soaked. And yet they're always in there: wooden spoons and cutting boards that will warp, can openers and cheese graters that will rust, and brillo pads that will dissolve and make the whole sink rusty and nasty.

4. I use that sink to wash dishes in ... but I can't just whip in and wash a couple of things if the whole dang thing is full of dishes. I prefer to keep the sink mostly empty and have room to wash. I also don't like trying to fill up a water pitcher over a towering heap of dishes. I need to have my sink open so I can actually use it!

4. (And this is the REAL reason.) Once the sink is full of cold, nasty, greasy, germy, scummy water ... it will need to be drained. By me. By reaching my hand into that cold, nasty, greasy, germy, scummy water and pulling the plug. Trust me: the more dishes are in that sink, the more scummy water, and the longer they've been there ... the less likely I am to actually brave the nastiness and actually wash them.

So, if you're ever in my kitchen and want to straighten up, but will not be actually washing the dishes ... pile 'em by the sink. PLEASE.

Does anyone else hate this, or is it just me? What are your housework pet peeves?


'Akaterina said...

Dishes are a big thing for me to. I can understand if the dishwasher if full/running and you need a place to place the dishes - so place them on the lovely counter next to the sink. But what really burns my cookies is when the dishwasher is EMPTY and yet people (ahem, my hubby, bless his heart) stack dishes IN the sink. The less virtuous side of me comes out and I usually quip "Well, thank goodness I emptied that dishwasher so you could leave your dishes in the sink!" (On better days, I just keep my mouth shut and clean up.)

Dishes and the laundry. We have THREE laundry baskets: one in the kids' room, one in ours, and one in the bathroom. So there is no excuse for laundry on the floor.

Some day I will have a house fairy who will go around cleaning these things up. Till then, it is a great way to practice restraint of the tongue and patience. :)

Fidelio said...

Lol!!! This was funny...I hate when people put dishes in the sink. It's a dirty spot to begin with, and then people go putting dishes in there. Also, annoying when the dishes are left on the counter, but on the CLEAN DISH side of the sink, instead of the dirty side nearer the dishwasher (and away from the drainboard, hello??)...yeah.

Perfect description of a sink, btw. Gives me the willies. I also hate pulling the plug in the tub if the water was allowed to get cold after I pulled Vincent out. Gross. Cold filmy bubble water all over my hand.

Sarah Faith said...

You sound exactly like my husband. Personally I want the counter space clear so I tend to pile up the sink. He's the opposite. I've heard him muttering about this a lot especially when I just don't get around to the dishes even if I think I'm going to, and so I don't take care to leave them the way he likes it left. :) I have to show him this link, he'll be nodding along the whole time. :)

Sheila said...

In fairness, we don't have a dishwasher. But there's a spot to the left of the sink where I think dirty dishes should be piled. Given the size of our kitchen, we overrun that area in about 24 hours, but it's still better than having them in the sink.

'Akaterina, in my opinion, if everyone just picked up their own mess, we wouldn't NEED a house fairy. Except to pick up after the little kids .... ;)

Dave Hodges said...

Wonderful post. I have to do kitchen work myself. I cannot trust a single other member of my family with the task. And as long as I am the one doing it, keep the #$@!& dishes out of the sink.

The Sojourner said...

My mom likes to pile dishes in an empty/dry sink to get them off the counter. I hated this because then when my sister and I went to do the dishes we'd have to take all the dishes OUT before we could put the plug in, fill the sink with water, and start washing.

I admit I do that sometimes because my apartment has so little counter space. I can forgive myself for that one. But the thing that drives me insane (and yet not enough for me to stop doing it, obviously) is when I leave a dish in the hot soapy water "to soak" (like, I've done all the other dishes and this is the last and nastiest) and then I go do something else and don't get back to the dishes until the next day, by which time the water is, as you mentioned, cold and gross. I need to stop doing that to myself.

Conquistadora said...

Dave does the same friggin' thing. I keep telling him not to, but he has been trained from an early age that dirty things belong in the sink. Now I can't fill my Brita filter. :(

kathy said...

Gah! Me too! Granted, my "dirty dish side" is also the best food prep location, so I understand my husband's gripes about being squeezed out by the dirty dishes (though, it would help if others in the house saw fit to put their dishwash-able dishes in the dishwasher).

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