I do dishes every single day. It’s not much. There’s usually a bowl and spoon from the yogurt, fruit and granola I had for breakfast. a rectangular glass dish with its plastic lid that held whatever leftovers I packed for my workday lunch, and whatever dishes I dirtied in preparing and serving dinner. Plus my thermos. It hardly seems worth it.
That kind of thinking, though, is what caused me to fall into the dreadful habit of not doing dishes every day. It wasn’t like when I was feeding a family of four, when the day’s dishes were substantial enough to justify a sink-ful of hot soapy water and line on the chore chart. It certainly wasn’t like mealtime in the large household where I grew up, when dishes had to be done after every single meal.
It was only me. Me who, living alone, liked to adhere to the “one-pan, one-plate” rule for meal preparation. Hardly any mess at all. That attitude led me, for many shameful years, to stack my dishes by the sink and let them wait. Until there were enough to warrant running the water and taking the time. “Small families with dishwashers do the same thing,” I told myself, “Nobody runs a whole dishwasher cycle with only a half-dozen dishes!”
Two days worth of dishes were still not much. Not enough to worry about. Three? Four? There came a tipping point, in this scenario, when the stack of dishes changed from being “Not enough to bother with,” to “Overwhelming.” So, often, the first thing I had to tackle on my day off was a big mound of dishes. One week’s worth.
By that time, food had hardened onto plates. Every aspect was more difficult. What should have been a simple chore was now a big job. Definitely now necessitating lots of sudsy hot water, and an hour standing at the sink. In that mind set, it was now – finally – worth my time and energy.
This is the manner I tended to look at most aspects of housework. The dust would continue to accumulate; the bed needed to be made every day. No job was ever just finished; it was only done for the moment. And that did not satisfy me. I’m not sure what caused the shift in perspective, but now I never go to bed with dishes in the sink. And now, even knowing that they’ll need to be done again tomorrow, it gives me great satisfaction to have the dishes done.