cleaning up

Several years ago, I wrote a post about chores I don’t mind doing. Top of this list was ironing, which is possibly my chore of choice. I also realised that I don’t tend to like chores that involve water, and if you look at the other things on that list, apart from sweeping, I also seem to prefer chores that aren’t related to actual cleaning.

Maintenance, tidying, creating – those are things I’m ok with. Washing and cleaning and having to deal with mess and dirt? No, thanks. Doing the dishes is my least favourite chore. Getting a dishwasher might be a good solution, but even doing laundry – just putting everything in the washing machine – is a chore I’ll put off or avoid if I can, so I’m not sure a dishwasher will help much.

It might come as a surprise then, that I actually don’t mind washing my car. This is something that perplexes me because it involves dirt and water, and usually my car gets dirty again pretty quickly (or it seems that way), and I wonder what’s the point of cleaning it anyway?

So, actually, I do put this off quite a lot, generally because I’m hoping it will rain at a time that I’m out driving (it hardly ever does). But when I’m actually cleaning my car, I really don’t mind it at all. It’s almost relaxing. I would even happily help a friend clean their car (not that anyone’s asked, and not that I’ve ever offered).

I think doing chores for others generally makes it less annoying. Even doing the dishes at my parents’ place is more bearable than doing dishes at my own place. I think this is probably because it feels less like a chore, and more like … it’s just a nice thing to do (?)

I read something a while ago (probably a TED article or someone’s blog post) that said if you like cooking but hate washing up afterwards, you should try to reframe how you look at it. So, rather than thinking that it’s a pain to have to wash all these pots and bowls and utensils, you try to see it as something that allows you to do the cooking in the first place.

Actually, I’m not sure I’m remembering that advice correctly… But it kind of makes sense (?)

So I don’t hate doing dishes as much as I used to, but I’ll still put it off if I can. Sometimes I try to see it the way a couple of my friends see it: I have two friends who really like washing dishes because they say it’s really satisfying to see everything clean again. They never leave dishes in the sink for the next day.

Another tactic that I try now and then is thinking of my future self. Sometimes the voice in my head says, “it’s been a long week – just leave the dishes for the week-end”. More often than not, I listen to this voice, but sometimes I argue back and say, “yes, but if I do the dishes now, my future self has more time to enjoy the week-end”.

Sometimes I’m pretty good at arguing with myself.

Sometimes it just doesn’t work, and I really can’t be stuffed doing dishes.

And putting the dishes away? Well, a colleague of mine figures that she (and her partner) will just use the same dishes and cutlery in the next few days, so there’s not much point putting them away just to take them out again. I quite agree with her on this. Besides, it’s easier access from the drying rack than from the cupboards.

But don’t worry – I do sometimes put things away.  I can’t really get myself to wash dishes more regularly if there are always things all over the drying rack. At least this part of the process is less painful than the actual washing of the dishes…


3 thoughts on “cleaning up

  1. The thing that drives me on the dishes front is the pleasure of walking into the kitchen the next time and seeing everything tidy and ready to use. It inspires me to cook rather than being faced with evidence of things that are over (eaten, gone, etc.). I also do my dishes *before* I eat if at all possible because I KNOW I will dread them after.

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