Why My Mom Wouldn’t Go to Bed With Dirty Dishes in the Sink

Growing up, I never really understood My Mom Wouldn’t Go to Bed With Dirty Dishes in the Sink. My thinking was, it would take the same amount of time to do them at night as it would the next morning. And she wouldn’t be as tired as she was after a late night.

But she always said, “I want to go to bed with a clean kitchen.”

Now I Understand Why My Mom Wouldn't Go To Bed with Dirty Dishes in the sink


Why My Mom wouldn’t go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink

Now, many years, two kids and my own home later, it all makes sense. Some nights, I’m so tired, the last thing I want to do is wash the dirty dishes in the sink. So I don’t. I watch TV, look at my phone and go to bed. Of course when I wake up in the morning to see a messy kitchen, I really wish that I had cleaned up the night before.

Yes, one part of it is cleanliness, but another part is the psychology behind the mess and the clutter. It’s something I discovered a while back. When things were always in a rotating mess (as I liked to call it,) I used to say, “I am just not a good housekeeper.” And maybe that was true. But what I didn’t realize was that having a mess around me was affecting my happiness and productivity.

How can something like a messy or cluttered house vs a clean and organized house affect you so much? I started thinking about it when I was reading The Happiness Project. Author Gretchen Rubin talked about how she was devoting one month to getting her home and life un-cluttered. After reading that, it just struck a chord with me. I realized, whether or not I was a good housekeeper didn’t really matter. What did matter was if the mess affected me or not, affected my over happiness or not. And I realize, that it did.

I was trying to be that mom that didn’t care if the sink was full of dishes, the living room was full of toys and the dining table was cluttered. It was more important that we were having fun and doing things for ourselves. All of that is true, but being in a constant state of disorganization and then doing a big massive clean on a weekly basis was really taking its toll.

Now I understand why mom mom wouldn't go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink

Now don’t get me wrong, my house is not spotless.  Everything is not clean, dusted and in its place, I’ll never be able to do that. What I am doing  now is taking that extra 15 or 20 minutes after a meal to make sure the counter and table are clear and the dirty dishes in the sink are washed. I am also taking some time each night after the kids go to bed, to pick up stuff from the floor, put some laundry in the washer and tidy up the living room.

(Implementing some ideas from The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up was really helpful!)

It honestly makes me happier to see things tidy before I go to bed. And it’s nice to wake up to a clean place in the morning. I feel better and more productive when I sit at my laptop to work and there isn’t a ton of stuff everywhere. It helps me focus on the task at hand.

It also makes me understand now why My Mom Wouldn’t Go to Bed With Dirty Dishes in the Sink. After all, I am my mother’s daughter. 

Was there something that your mom used to do that you didn’t understand as a child but makes total sense as an adult?

What are your thoughts on the correlation with tidiness and happiness?

Now I understand why mom mom wouldn't go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink

161 thoughts on “Why My Mom Wouldn’t Go to Bed With Dirty Dishes in the Sink

  1. I can really relate to this post! My mom NEVER left dishes in the sink…EVER! And there were days where I’d tell her to just leave it, but she never did. And now that I have my own home, I’m the same way. And you’re right – it’s part cleanliness and part psychological. Seeing my kitchen somewhat clean and organized every night makes me happy, and seeing it that way in the morning, makes me even happier.

    1. I guess it makes sense that we can understand now that we are older. And it’s small things like that, that can add to our sanity and happiness.

      1. My mom cooked but my dad would wash the dishes and I would dry. He liked doing it because he had severe arthritis and the hot water made his hands feel better. Still, every night was quality time with my dad while we did the dishes. ❤️

  2. Having three small kids I’ve realized that I will never be ‘done’ the laundry….ever. So now I do one load a day from start to finish. Just one. Wash dry fold and put away. So much easier than having a ‘laundry day’ because one load is so much more manageable than 7!

    1. Laundry is one of the worst ones! I like your plan of finishing one whole load. I always start a couple and then some stuff ends up staying in the dryer for days.

      1. haha this is totally me…. I’m in a constant swirl of laundry clean piles dirty piles stuff in the dryer…I really need to get it under control maybe one load a day is the answer to my prayers!!!

    2. I had 3 children also. I did laundry once a week. I’d keep at it til it was done. When my kids were old enough they would put their own away. One day and didn’t have to think about it for a week. Now I would throw a load of towels in mid week, but there was no ironing or special things to do with towels. We were fortunate to have enough clothes to go a whole week. What a nice feeling to start the week knowing everything was clean and put away. Dirty clothes were in basket during the week, but no worry. They’d get done on laundry day.

  3. I love Shannon’s idea of doing one load of laundry a day. That is a great idea. Yes, I am also a member of the “clean sink club”. (There IS such an actual thing – ever heard of Fly Lady?) So anyways, I try to always clean up the dishes from cooking as I am waiting for dinner to cook. Then, after dinner, we all put our dishes in the sink. The only time that doesn’t work is if the dishwasher has not been run and it is too full to put them all in. Then, I have to leave a few or hand wash them. My daughter balks at why I would ever hand wash them when I can just wait for the dishwasher, but I want them DONE! And, ideally, put away.

    I like your idea of spending a little time in the evening tidying up, too. That is a great idea.

      1. Omg. 5 kids 2 adults. Christmas with 25 and had to handwash. We cooked and cleaned and the men ate and sat.

          1. Did it all the time, there is a process. Fill the sink with hot soapy water. Put glasses, cups and cutlery in it they soak while you put the food away. Then go and wash the items that were soaking, now fill the sink with plates. Start washing them, next is pots. If you have a lot of dishes you may want to get fresh water. If you stop and think about it our Mothers worked hard everyday and preparing meals for large gatherings was just what they did. And they very rarely left the dishes – know why? Because they knew it started over again the next day, if you left today’s stuff undone you would have to do it tomorrow leaving some of that days stuff undone. This is how you get buried in dirty laundry, dirty dishes, dirty bathrooms, unmade beds and on and on and on. You never find your way out.

    1. Loving me some FLY Lady! Somehow, I haven’t managed to get out of FLY Baby stage, but some things have become better habits. And I have eliminated a lot of clutter!

        1. I tried that once. Company showed up with a dish to add to dinner that still needed to cook in the oven. It was so embarrassing having to take out the dirty dishes in front of everyone.

  4. So true!!! And did your mother vacuum the house while everyone was already packed in the car waiting to go on a trip? My mother did. And now I get it. How easy to vacuum when no one is around. And what a treat to come home to after a long vacation!!

    1. Oh, my goodness! My mother did that. I always thought it was odd, but now you’ve provided an explanation!

      1. I am almost 70 and my husband still talks to people about me vacuuming myself out the door as we were leaving for vacation!!! I am finding more people, WOMEN, who do the same! Glad to know I am not the only one. LOL

    2. I wanted to leave on vacation immediately after I got home on a Friday, so I had my junior high kids get off the school bus at home instead of going to my Mom’s as usual. They were to be packed and ready when I got home. One simple assignment.
      Well, I walked in to find the bathroom door off the hinges. One boy had occupied the room longer than the other thought “fair,” so he just removed the door!
      My reaction?
      “Are you packed? Let’s GO!”
      I really *needed* that vacation much more than I needed the door back in place, or the floor vacuumed.
      But, when things are going right – of course clean before leaving.

    3. Haha. I can sooo relate to that, my mother would spotlessly clean the house before leaving on a trip . And I never understood why… Well as an adult with 3 kids and a home of my own, I now spotlessly clean my ho.e before leaving for a trip… My husband thinks I’m crazy.. I told him you can thank my mom.

        1. When I used to travel for work and have to be gone for a week at a time, my husband would clean the house before I came home on Friday so I could relax and have a stress free homecoming. We’ve been married 23 years.?

    4. I clean before we go away and it drives the kids crazy while they are waiting out in the car. I am getting better at making them help. No one should needs to do everything single handedly. Train them to help. Super painful in the beginning, but oh so helpful as they grow up. Talk about a way to show your kids how proud you are of them. They simply glow with pride!

    5. My mom was the same way!!! I used to ask if she was cleaning for the robbers who would come while we were on vacation– now my husband asks the same question!!! So nice coming home to a clean house!!

  5. I totally get it and CANNOT leave dishes in the sink. I spend 10 minutes at night tidying our daughter’s toys. Make me feel organized – even if I’m not!

    For the same reason I make my bed in the morning. It may just be fluffing a pillow and throwing the duvet over, but I like coming back to a tidy, inviting bed.

    Astra, I love coming home to a clean house after a vacation too! Doesn’t always happen but I love it when we do.

    1. I totally agree that that 10 or 15 minutes each night can make such a big difference. And the bed thing too! Even in the room is untidy, a bed that’s made gives the illusion that its not!

  6. I am not a mom or a house lady but I can relate to the psychological part related to cleanliness and feeling relaxed and Happy….May be its part of human nature & some people just never want to accept it…. very well put and I enjoyed reading the comments too….
    good luck guys I hope we transfer cleanliness and happiness to the next generations too.. as your moms did… 🙂

  7. Sweet girl, don’t beat yourself up. I don’t actually know you, but I have been following you and your dear little children for almost a year and you are one fabulous Mom. And you and your family have dinner with your parents at least once a week, so you are good for them as well. Can you be everything to everyone?? Sure you can but something will fall by the wayside. I grew up in a Children’s Home from age 5 to age 17. 65 children ranging from newborns to late teens. The Home was always spotless. White sheets and pillow cases, washed every three days and hung outside on clotheslines rain, snow or sun so smelled like outside. And they ironed the linens too. We all did chores for our allowances. So at 17, I left and went to live on my own – my sweet 350 square feet of “Bachelor Girl” apartment was tiny and tidy all the time, but years later I realize it had absolutely no charm except for how clean it was. After I married, we had a one bedroom huge open concept living room dining room kitchen and the best bathroom in the world in 1964 as we had a old fashioned claw foot tub for me and a walk in shower for him. Then the first child came along and tidy went out the window. Children come with so much stuff! And we both found that playing with our daughter was so much more fun than washing the dishes! And soon she had a baby sister, more clothes, more toys, and a bigger place, a townhouse in a neighborhood with good schools. We learned that we had to get some control, no toys in the living room, we put both of them in what should of been the master bedroom – it was huge and had built in storage behind doors that could be closed, we pared down their clothes and toys on a regular basis, teaching them that there were children in our city that didn’t have 80 dollies and 100 tee shirts, pants, dresses etc. It taught them to give back and they are both moms with 5 grandchildren between them and I’ve been at their homes and I see our teaching being passed to the Grands! Cut yourself some slack – once they are grown and moved out, which will come before you know it, you will have tons of time to have a spotless home. And they will remember the meals you made, the time you took to hug them and kiss them goodnight than how clean your house was. As long as Children’s Services aren’t coming to take them because of the bedlam, you are A-OK. Cheers – I always enjoy your posts. xoxoxoxoxox to you and all who dwell in what I bet is the best kept house in your neighborhood.

  8. I do not go to sleep unless my sink in empty, floor is clean, and everyone is asleep. I can’t leave the house unless my bed is made. If I do leave the house without my bed being made, I always have an unorganized day.

  9. That’s absolutely true. Also my mom used to clean up the house down to the last inch before leaving home for the weekend or the vacation, I never understood that, with all the packing and leaving on time on the mind, why would she bother herself with the cleaning but now with a house of my own, I am just my mom 🙂
    Its psychologically so comforting to come back to a clean home

    1. I think your mom was right Amna! I just left for vacation this morning and tried to tidy up as much as possible too 🙂 It’s funny how it all changes when we become adults.

  10. My mom always says something like this, “you will understand it when you become a mother”. same goes to going to bed after making sure the kitchen is clean. 🙂 for me, i will wake up, not being stress of the untidy kitchen, while at the same time, able to prepare for breakfast easily 🙂

  11. Well, my house is not perfect or spotless but then I will always try to make everything as tidy as possible. It definitely make me happy…. And it is easier to tidy once everyone out of the house or asleep… 😉

  12. I always love to mop the floor at night after everyone was in bed. It felt so good to come downstairs and the house was tidy, and the floor mopped ( we had a big area with linoleum) The one time of the day when everything was in order.

  13. I always change the bedding before I go on holiday. I just live that feeling my own bed and clean sheets.

  14. I feel that no matter who you are going to bed with a sink full of dishes does nothing but put you in an overload, stressed, anxiety, overwhelmed with chaos mood the next morning! I grew up always going to bed with a clean house. My mother cleaned the kitchen and 30 minutes before bed it was our task to clean up our toys and tidy our mess. We do this now with our two children, ages 4 and 1. (They also make their beds, open their curtains in the mornings) “It is all about the matience!” My mother would say. Boy was she right! I did not really understand those lessons learned until I got married and bought our own home. I feel that a lot is expected out of moms in the world of clean up, and I don’t feel as if it should be. Little adjustments we can make in our lives really do make the difference. Like the never going to bed with dishes in the sink, doing a load of laundry a day, declutter for 15 mins a day, and expecting more from our children in the clean up world. I am currently in the process of decluttering our lives. Learning how to live for what we have and not for what we want. It’s been a hard transition! But, the less we have the less we have to clean and the more time we can spend doing fun things. Great read! Thanks for writing this article! (And yes fly lady is the bomb! Clean sink group here!)

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Ashley. We are in the process of doing the same thing. Taking those 15 minutes here or 20 minutes there can really go a long way!

    2. Love FlyLady! Clean sink, 15 minutes at a time, less is more, a load of laundry a day – keeps our house tidy!!!

  15. Having a clean house is awesome. One can have visitors at any given time and not feel embarrassed about a mess especially if a doctor has to do an emergency call.

  16. I get it, but i have gone the complete opposite…. i used to clean my house twice a week… sweep, mop, wash my windows inside, shine everything up…. dust etc…. the dishes were never done unless i had none left in the cab. and wash… my husband took that chore over because i let it go until i had piles to do…. now it’s the house… it’s cluttered up, dusty and my windows are dirty….. I don’t know if it’s lazy, or a mental thing…. seems like the healthier i get mentally the worse my house gets…. ( i went through a very long bout of depression) I am still working on the depression,… and the house…. i want to live clutter free and clean…. i just get overwhelmed. I digress…. my mom still dusts daily… and sweeps…. i get the kitchen floor daily sweeping as an adult… but as a kid doing it i thought what the heck for? lol

  17. So true!! ( And yes I have read Flylady!!) But it is so nice to give yourself the gift of a fresh start every morning. I always make my bed too. “The state of your bed is the state of your head” (sorry don’t remember who said it!) To me, the sink is the “bed” of my kitchen!

  18. I am with you on this, now I am that mom telling my daughter that, however she doesnt listen and tells me she will never be like me. Thats ok if you can live like that but as for me I cant, I have to always stay a step a head and it saves lots of work so that i can takle the big projects that need done. I always try to keep my house the way you would if the realator called and said I want to show the house, is that possible in 20min. that way if something happens to me my kids wont have so much to do. lol. whenever you have 5 dishes in the sink load the dishwasher. great theroy and shine your faucets you will love it.

  19. Absolutely agree that a cluttered, messy home takes its toll on you. We moved 2000 miles, bought a home & the day we (my 95 yr old Mother & I) were to move in, Mama was admitted to the hospital. She almost died, spent 2 months in hosp & rehab & is home now but requires my care full time. I have managed to unpack 5 boxes. Trying to do all this alone in chaos is very, very difficult. We can hardly wait to have the house in order. God, give me strength, please…

    1. I was just reading this post and replies for the first time. I read about you moving and your mother getting sick and I just wanted to tell you if you still need help with your house and/or your mom, try calling the Office on Ageing and Adult Services. They were an invaluable resource when I found myself in similar circumstances.

  20. Funnily enough I have gone the other way around. I was always constantly cleaning as I went. Tidying up before bed etc etc. All of this prior to my marriage and during. Now that my children are all grown and I am now single, all thoughts of being that tidy person have gone out the window. For the past 3 years I have lived like this. Don’t get me wrong I did not degenerate into being a full on slob. My house was clean just not tidy. Dishes were rinsed but left in the sink. Clothes were strewn everywhere and bed unmade. It was a mess but it was my mess only. But I think that there maybe a shift back to the tidy person soon. I find that I can no longer tolerate a mess. This is because of a shift in my lifestyle. I am now having to travel constantly because I have undertaken a 2 year masters programme. Which means I will have to be somewhat organised so that I am not constantly hunting for stuff. The tidying hasn’t happened yet but I see it on the horizon.

  21. Whenever we go on vacation, I strip the sheets from the beds and put fresh ones on the morning we leave. I also take time to wash our clothes before coming home so I can just unpack and put away our stuff. Love coming home to clean, fresh sheets on the bed!

  22. I’m lucky to have my dishes washed. They drip dry. In the morning while I’m chatting to the kids I put the dishes away. Seems to work for now…

  23. I often think a lot of the trouble with organizing and cleaning is that we tend to look at everything at once, then we become overwhelmed and nothing gets started. I’ve gotten into the habit of doing small things like a load of laundry each day. When I’m in the bathroom I’ll give the counter a wipe over or the mirror (I keep a small basket of supplies under my sink. 😉 ) If the dishwasher is full and I have a few dishes left, I’ll hand wash them so nothing builds up. Etc…my house is not perfectly clean but I know that things need to be orderly for my own peace of mind.

    1. I think you are right about that Tracy, doing everything at once is very overwhelming. I like the idea of doing mall things at a time and keeping things that are orderly for yourself and for peace of mind.

  24. Thank you for this article. I can totally relate although I still do leave dishes in the kitchen. Lol. However, toys must be put in its place, floor sweeped and in the morning before I go to work bed must be made. Otherwise it makes me crazy when i return from office. I also happen to clean the house when I am nervous, especially before an exam.
    After reading this, I am definitely taking the extra 10 min at least, for the dishes 🙂

    1. You’re not alone Aysha, I actually had dishes in my sink before I went to bed for the last two nights but I tackled them this morning. It’s definitely nice to come home to a a tidy house and a made bed. That’s great that you clean when you get nervous, my go-to is chocolate lol.

  25. I need the house cleaned at night, to feel settled. I also worry, because our home was broke into once. I had a mess in the laundry room, when the police searched the house. So when I leave now, I want it picked up.

  26. I do not see any comments from a male. So I will tell my story. My mother died when I was 3, so I was raised by my stepmother (mother). I remember as a child, and through my teenage years, my mother doing dishes right after each meal. The dishes and pots and pans did not stay dirty for long. When I was old enough to stand on a stool and reach into the sink, it was my turn once in a while to help wash or dry. She put the dishes away according to her filing system. I went into the Air Force for 20 years and at one point overseas lived in a barracks with a small kitchen. Everyone worked different shifts and about half of us used the kitchen to make our meals. I always cleaned up after myself immediately after eating. Many of the men did not and said they would do it later, not respecting the fact that there were others who wanted to use that tiny kitchen. I sometimes cleaned their dishes in order to make my meal while they were watching TV, or even while they were sleeping. I am married and still believe in doing dishes after a meal, but my wife is not quite so inclined, especially the dinner dishes and pots and pans. Sure we have a dishwasher, but not everything can be put in it. I wash dishes at night quite often and she usually insists that they be left until morning. I hate waking up i the morning, going into the kitchen and finding the sink full. It almost spoils my morning. Most of the time we watch TV (a bad habit) until bedtime and I will rush into the kitchen to clean up. By the way, we are retired in our 70’s. We always make our bed in the morning, not necessarily right away, usually after breakfast and shower. My mother taught me how to make my bed as soon as I could pull the sheets over the mattress and that was normally done before breakfast. Then the Air Force taught me to make the bed their way almost exactly as my mother did, but tighter. I do not know if many mothers do this now, especially for their sons. I belong to a church with missionaries and I see continually how little they know about household chores. Some do, many do not. One instance, for example, was two missionaries using a toilet brush to wash the dishes not realizing that they were using a toilet brush. Funny, maybe, but they should have known better. Young boys, along with their sisters, should certainly be taught how to be tidy. It makes them a better person, and also reflects on their work. Just look at your office co-workers. Liked your article. Thanks.

    1. Sounds like your mother was really wonderful in getting you started in life. It’s too bad others can’t be as considerate of others but I guess that is often the reality. Thanks so much for your comment.

  27. If I’m honest that’s why I now use paper plates 4-5 nights a week. Some people say it’s lazy. I find it much better for my sanity and happiness. I hate having a cluttered kitchen when I wake up. It sets the tone of the day for me. I can’t do it all with 4 kids so paper plates was my go to ☺️

  28. I grew up with my mom being the same way about doing the dishes before bed, and making the beds in the morning. I make my bed as soon as I get out of it. lol Even when my kids were growing up, as soon as they got out of bed, I made theirs too. I also had the rule no dishes left in the sink at night. I worked evenings back then, and I couldn’t stand to come home to dishes in the sink. It took awhile for my husband to get on board with it, but eventually I got him to do it. He thought I was a cleaning maniac,as I also did laundry every morning too. He told me I was wasting money, and electricity by doing it every day. So I asked him what’s the difference if I do one load a day or 7 loads once a week? I had him there. lol! For me not having a bed made makes the whole room a mess, even if its clean. When my kids were in school, I worked evenings, and did all the housewife, and motherly duties starting at 5:00 every morning. So by the time I came home from work each evening, I didn’t want to see a bunch of dishes in the sink, or all the toys left all over the place. It not only felt insulting to me, but I knew I would have to do them, because I didn’t want to wake up to a mess. Nothing makes you feel less like doing housework if you already have a huge mess to start off with. I truly enjoyed this article. Thank you!

  29. I am in that stage of just being so tired at the end of the day, after making dinner, and wrangling 2 toddlers to bed, I don’t want to do anything but veg out and go to sleep, myself.. then the morning comes, and last night’s dinner is still stuck and dried onto the dishes. I have to clean up before I can start breakfast, and it just sets a “grr” mood for the rest of the day. Some nights, I have the presence of mind to remind myself that I’ll feel much better if I just do it, but then my aching feet and back beg me for just 5 more minutes on the couch, and NO more standing in the kitchen. Honestly, I think reading this post was the extra kick I needed, and I’m going to commit to the habit of a clean sink/kitchen before bed. Alao, the one load of laundry a day- start to finish- is a wonderful idea!

  30. It’s true. I dated someone whose sink looked like that and whose dresser looked like the one in the pic. I should have ran away the first time I saw it. It wasn’t even about the mess, which was really foreign to the way I grew up and the way my place is — It was really about the issues she had that went way beyond clutter and messiness. The mess of her personal issues. I’d say she was a hoarder — perhaps not as bad as those featured on “reality” television, but pretty bad. And although I’d clean her place, it would be messed up again in a day or two because you can’t put a band aid on a gushing wound and you cannot help someone who can’t help themselves, especially when they don’t even recognize a problem. Ugh.

    1. You’re definitely right that a bandaid fix doesn’t solve the bigger issues. We spent our lives doing big tidy’s everytime people were coming over and then a week later, the clutter would start building up again. Now we are slowing making permanent solutions. We’ve gotten help from a book called, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

  31. My mom would vacuum at night. The noise would bother me, and I have wondered why, it still bothers me today. I decided I must have felt guilty for not doing the job myself. And I am sure that is why she vacuumed at night so all of us kids would feel guilty. At least my kids never heard me vacuum at night. However, I did noticed when my kids vacuumed they often did at night too. Hmmm. However, I am one that also has to get up to a clean house. That means everything except vacuuming.

  32. Clutter is one of my own “pet-peeves”, because it tends to add to our stresses. In fact, stress has become the topic of my business called The Unkinked Lifestyle, LLC.

    Thank you for addressing this issue!

  33. agreed. Why be burdened with the discouragement… I’m trying to get out from under it every day, and it’s hard !!

  34. How about the “Make sure you wear clean underwear in case something happens” line. As a kid I thought who cares about your underwear in an emergency.

    1. Hey don’t laugh. My mom used to say that too. Recently I was taken from home by paramedics to the hospital. As I was riding in the ambulance out of nowhere the thought popped in my head, well at least I have on clean underwear! Lol.

  35. My mother always had a mess in the kitchen, a huge pile of dishes to wash (we would take turns washing them) start KS of clothes on the sofa that needed to be ironed or put away and never NEVER made her bed, she always had a LOT of stuff over the drawers always acumulativo dust….. but the ONE day every month or 2 months that she actually started to make her bed and clean the house she would beat us psychologicaly and yell at us saying we were good for nothing pigs and she was our poor maid. I am learning to clean my house for our family to feel comfortable EVERYDAY now at 26 years old!

  36. I go to bed with a clean kitchen and try to tidy up toys before bed time too. I make sure my son helps so he learns the importance of cleaning up after yourself as he grows up, and so when he’s an adult and lives on his own he knows how to do house chores.

  37. I hate going to bed with anything extraneous on the counter, sinks or out in the open in the kitchen… the feeling of waking up to a mess feels like a big To Do list when I get up. I realize it’s my Mom’s legacy but it’s made such a difference to always stay on top of things vs having to tackle a big mess!

  38. This is me to a T! I feel less anxious and irritable when the house is picked up. My other half is of the opposite mind set and could care less if the dishes are clean or the house is picked up. It is causing a huge problem in our relationship. Sometimes I think if it’s important to me that the house is picked up then I should just do it, but then I get irritated and resentful when everyone else makes the mess and I’m the one picking up after them. I feel I can’t do anything I want to do, example a hobby or project because there’s no time after picking up! I’ve told said person how it makes me feel and could he please help out. I get help for a day or 2 then back to the same old routine. It’s getting really old. Any suggestions?

    1. That’s a tough situation Anna, when the other half is the opposite. I can understand the thinking you mentioned that if it’s important to you, than you should do it but then it can be tough on you. The opposite of that is that if it’s important to you than maybe it can be important for your other half. Some things that I’ve tried is giving my partner specific chores that are only his or another thought that comes to mind is maybe if there is something important to him that you can compromise on and then he can do the same for you when it comes to tidying? I hope that is helpful.

  39. Yes yes yes. I’ve just started putting in the extra work to do a quick tidy-up every morning and evening. Though I previously thought I simply didn’t have the energy for this, I’ve now discovered the benefits are huge in proportion to the small effort. Visual clutter is so draining for me. Having a tidy home makes me feel calmer, more centered, and more energetic.

    1. Sometimes the energy is lacking but once you do it, it makes a huge difference. I find listen to music with headphones gets me motivated on nights I really don’t feel like it.

  40. When I saw this post I had to smile. I am the youngest of 11 children and you could eat off the floors in our house. My mother has been with Jesus for six years and I can still hear her say “If you leave dishes in your sink and go to bed, the kitchen witch will come take your children while you sleep”. My mother was a war bride from England and I never thought of asking her if that was an English saying. I am now 48 with four children and I have never gone to bed with dishes in my sink. Mothers beware your children are listening.

  41. Very nice post, i agree with you. If i could told my sister to make her realize that to be organized is very important to her than all money she look for. She is better do her own project than to clean her house, her house very dirty n sticky also messy….but she doesnt care. She enjoy with its dirt and mess house

  42. I can never get caught up on laundry. I kinda enjoy everything else, sweeping, mopping, dishes, well, I don’t know that I enjoy vacuuming, but everything else, yes. I tried everything! . So I finally hired a teenager to come to my house 2x a week for 20$ to come do all my laundry. I’m less stressed and everyone has clean clothes. The end. Lol.

  43. This just popped up for me sorry I never saw it back when you originally posted it, but I always used to be the mom that would stay up til 3 AM & finish my housekeeping, do the dishes, laundry, etc once the kids (4 – 3 girls 1 boy) were in bed. But then my whole world changed, my Aunt Kay, came to live with me!! She was smart beyond her years, we all loved & adored her- she was 91 when she moved in. We would stay up late & talk once the kids were in bed or at least settled for the night the kitchen is just off my family room so I could very easily straighten up, do the dishes while we talked, then she would say , ” Helen, Let it be, it will be there in the morning, come sit & relax with me”, so slowly I started leaving some dishes or items left undone, whats the harm like she said, it isn’t going anywhere and it wasn’t every nite some nites she would go to bed in her room but the nights we would stay up & talk & watch the great old movies like Gone with the Wind, or the Fred Astaire movies will always be my favorite. Long story shortened, Aunt Kay past away 3 years after she moved in & stole even my young childrens hearts, but the lessons Ive learned from her many will linger, including, leaving some dishes til morning, but I still take out the trash lol.

  44. This is nice in theory but coming from the same household of tidiness all the time and no mess left behind growing up, I found that I am more at peace and happiness leaving a mess and clutter behind and enjoying the moment. I am not a night person, never have been and never will be. I leave my kitchen messy every night to enjoy the couple of hours before bed and since I’m a morning person, I wake up and not only tidy the kitchen but do other chores such as laundry before my family wakes up. I can multi-task much better in the early morning when I am refreshed. Don’t judge those that leave messes behind. I am a minimalist and like unclutter and tidiness as much as the next person but there is no “right” time someone has to do it. I am perfectly happy to sleep knowing my kitchen is dirty and so far, no one has died from it!

  45. This article is so me. I’m not a morning person, but walking into a clean kitchen helps greatly. When I have mornings it’s not clean, it seems to set me back for the day. Also when we leave for trips I love coming home to a clean house.

  46. For many years I have noticed that most people will notice when I do NOT do various household chores, but will rarely notice when I do. That being my reality, I have always referred to my housework as “no show work”, and may often make the comment: “OK, time for me to do my “No Show Work” ! 🙂

  47. This makes so much sense. As a mother myself, I now have to keep a clean kitchen. If I decided not to tidy up the kitchen the night before the next morning I’m really paying for it. Why don’t I have any clean spoons? I have to wash dishes in order to cook and my child wakes up as though he is starving to death. This turns into me rushing to do the dishes with a screaming toddler, spilling water everywhere with my uncoordinated self (seeing as how I’m still half asleep in the mornings come time for him to wake up). Then I’m irritated because I’m dealing with a cranky, hungry child and I just can’t seem to move quick enough. Just starting my day off completely horrible… Then I think back to the night before and I’m like, “Why didn’t I just do the stinkin’ dishes?!”.

  48. As an interior designer, I tell my clients that cleanliness and order = living well. Home is your safe harbor where you recharge yourself.

  49. I was trying to explain to my husband why clutter bothers me so much. It feels like my brain doesn’t stop, and I’m always noticing what needs to be done. Like on my way to the washing machine I’ll notice that the entry way is messy and the counter is cluttered. So the simple task of starting laundry adds 2 more tasks to me.

    It’s so nice to hear I’m not he only mom who finds a clean home relaxing.

  50. I know when I’m really ill; when there are dirty dishes in the sink and the house is a pigsty, but I just don’t care. When I’m well enough to get up and have a shower, and wash the fetid sheets on my bed, then I know that I’m on the road to recovery. Thankfully I don’t get sick very often, because it’s frightening how quickly our house becomes dirty and disorderly.

  51. MY mom is the same way about the dishes. I never understood why she would go crazy over dirty dishes in the sink when I was a kid. She would make me wash dishes at every single family event or any family member’s house we visited. I was always washing dishes when I was a kid. I hated it but now as an adult, I understand what it means.

    As an adult if I go visit my grandmother or if my friends are going through a hard time I always find myself doing their dishes. It makes them happy that you care enough to help.

    I told my mom this and she said ” NOW YOU GET IT! Damn kids HAHA!” 🙂

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