My dirty little secret…

OK everyone.  I have a dirty little secret to confess.

And I need your help.  Desperately.

This was my sink yesterday morning.  FULL of dirty dishes.  And, I don’t have a picture of it to show you, but my counter top was covered with dirty dishes as well, because there was NO room left in the sink for them.

Clearly I have a DIRTY little problem.

Or, maybe its a dirty BIG problem, because when I wake up in the morning with a messy kitchen and a sink overflowing with dishes, it really sets the tone for how the rest of my day is going to turn out.

At first I tried to make an excuse for my problem. {Read this great post about making excuses written by dietitian Melinda Seff-Boyd} If you read my last post, you know that my husband recently got hurt and had to go to the ER.  He is doing very well, and I won’t go in to the all the  details, but suffice it to say, his hands are bandaged from burns and, hence, he is currently out of dish washing duty.  Doing the dishes every night after I cook/experiment/photograph my meals, is one of the little things my husband does for me that makes me happy.

I don’t think he really enjoys doing the dishes, but he does it out of love, just like he gets the coffee pot ready for me every night, even though he rarely drinks coffee in the morning. {Another great post to read is by Lauren Slayton of Foodtrainers.  In her Valentine’s Day post, Lauren writes about all the “little” things that mean “love” to her.}

The problem with my excuse, is that dishes need to be done no matter what, and clearly, when they aren’t done, it sets a negative tone for the rest of my day.  When my husband travels, I need to do them, and even when he’s home every night doing the dishes, often times we have more than 1 full load so SOMEONE {Myself, and, yes, my children can help too!} need to get it done.

It just doesn’t always happen…

I’m not sure why this is such a problem for me.  My mom tells me that I used to LOVE to do the dishes at my grandparent’s house when I was little {They didn’t have a dishwasher}. Hmm…

And, while the rest of my house is far from spotless, I do manage to keep CERTAIN areas relatively clean. {For those of you who know me well, please, no snickering here!}

I’ve tried to get my dirty dishes under control.  Really, I have.

A couple of years ago, a friend recommended I subscribe to FlyLady a motivational/organizational blog that sends daily e-mail reminders to “Go shine your sink” every night before you go to bed.  I tried it for a couple of weeks and it worked, but then I fell in to my old habits…

Clearly, I need more inspiration and motivation.

I did finally manage to get ALL of the dishes done yesterday.  It took 2 loads in my dishwasher {a KitchenAid that REALLY does a fabulous job of cleaning the dishes!}, plus two hand washing sessions to get all the dishes done.

By the end of the day, my sink was gleaming!

But, still, I need your help to keep me motivated!   I would love to get every-one’s suggestions/advice/inspiration on how you manage to get your dishes done and your sink shining EVERY day. Share your advice here, and, if you have your own “dirty little secret” to share, I would love to hear about that as well!

Sign Up for Spicy Nutrition posts and tips by email:

Sign me up!


  1. I really dislike doing the dishes, too (maybe because that was basically the ONLY chore that I HAD to do when I lived with mom and dad :P)! Currently, my sink is more messy than usual (though I did manage to put load the dishwasher before work). Yay me!

    Things I’ve tried (and some I actually do):

    1. Like you mentioned, just making yourself do them before you go to bed, every. single. night.
    2. Play the three minute (or one minute) game – tell yourself that you’ll just take three minutes to get started on the dishes. You can quit once you hit the three minute mark and continue later, but chances are you’ll have a great chunk of it finished and just keep on going until all the dishes are clean! I play this “game” with the entire house.
    3. Clean any pots/pans/bowls after you’re finished cooking, but BEFORE you eat. Sometimes this means the food gets a little cold, but it makes cleaning up AFTER a breeze – rinse and put your plate into the dishwasher! And, having a FULL tummy and an EMPTY sink…well, it just makes me feel good. 🙂
    4. Probably my favorite: invite people over regularly. For afternoon tea, dinner, movie nights, whatever! I’d be mortified if (most of) the people I know saw my house/kitchen a total mess (which it quickly and often becomes). But, knowing that people will see the house is *great* motivation for me (and my husband)! to get everything clean and keep it that way!

    I think I’ll do the rest of the dishes the second I get home…. 🙂

  2. I clean as I cook. That way, at the end of it all you just have a few dirty dishes. 🙂

    Also, it is not possible for me to go to bed with dishes in the sink. Just not possible. That way you always wake up to a clean kitchen. *Sigh*

    Good luck finding motivation! 🙂

  3. There’s an old Zen proverb, and if you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen me post it, night after night after night. It goes like this:

    Before enlightenment wash dishes. After enlightenment wash dishes.

    For so long, I have hated to wash dishes too. It wasn’t a problem back in BC (before children) but now its that last of many many chores that I have been doing all day. But I have read about many a Zen follower who reached enlightenment while doing her dishes. Why is this? Well its the only time of the day, at least for me, that I have some quiet time (besides the shower!) and a chance to think, or daydream, or whatever. I put on some nice music, savor the last of my wine, and get them done. And often I do find inspiration for the things that I am working on in my daily life.

    For those of us who don’t have the time to meditate, dishes can actually be a form of active meditation. Try thinking of it this way, and who knows, you may end up enjoying it!

    Oh yeah, and it does help to clean as you go along throughout the day, so that its not such a nightmare by the time dinner is over.

  4. Great post! So glad you confessed to this. I see it really was fitting that you read my post, and I appreciate you mentioning it here 🙂

    I am not a fan of dishes either, but you are right about the excuse making here, it won’t help because no matter what they need to get done. We do all ours by hand. We live overseas and the machine we have here likes to provide gentle electric shocks when plugged in. We deemed this unsafe and leave it unplugged.

    My dirty little secret would be that I hate to clean the house: floors, windows, anything. The real issue is that I have allergies to cleaning products, and this is no longer a good excuse because so many are scent free (often lemon and orange are too much) and non toxic. But, from years of avoiding things in spray bottles, I really hate to clean. I am so bad! We just hired a new cleaning lady and she cleans while I am at work and then lets the house air out so I can safely return home. I will mention this is not always an option, but where I live it is super cheap (25 euro) a week. So I spoil myself in the meantime, but I do my own laundry, changing the sheets and dishes.

  5. Thanks everyone for the great tips and motivation!

    Katie-I like the “3 minute” game. Perhaps I can even get my kids involved…or is that wishful thinking???

    Caroline-I wish I could clean as I cook, but I find that difficult. I know I just need to get it done before I go to bed!

    Heather-Love the idea of dish washing meditation!

    Melinda-Yes, better to not make excuses! Thanks for sharing your dirty little secret! And there’s nothign wrong with spoiling yourself!

  6. Don’t ever put a dish down in the sink without reaching for the sponge to immediately clean it or turning on the sink to rinse it and put it in the dishwasher. I keep a “no dish in the sink” rule so nothing ever piles up and becomes unmanageable. That seems to work for us.

  7. Loved this post and not only for the shout out. I love the honesty and if we’re being honest, I too can leave a couple dishes in the sink at the end of the day. I love the gleaming sink idea, I do well with a goal. A clean kitchen makes you feel so much better. OK so I need to floss and clean the dishes (andso much more). Hope husband is better, burns are horrendous.

    • Thanks Lauren! It’s nice to know you sometimes have a couple of dishes left in the sink at the end of the day, although a couple of dishes is WAY better than a sink full of dishes. Oh, flossing-that’s a whole other story…My husband’s doing a lot better-thanks!

  8. Michelle says:

    I subscribe to the Caroline model but I know that’s just not you EA–so I won’t try to convert you:) You just need to find space for a second dishwasher! And, BTW, I love the things Ian does for you out of LOVE–he’s a keeper!

    • The Spicy RD says:

      You always were better about doing the dishes than me Michelle…especially had to keep those mixing bowls clean for the next batch of cookie dough :-). You’d be very proud of me though- thanks to everyone’s great inspiration, I’ve had a clean sink everynight ( except for one, and then there weren’t many dirty dishes in it ) since I wrote this post. And, I’ll let Ian know you said I should keep him 🙂

  9. i wash the dishes as i cook. there is free time in between. or as soon as i’m done eating. its much easier washing dishes few times a day rather than having it all piled up. i also keep the sink free of utensils. pile up dishes on the side counter.


  1. […] not really a super “neat” person. If you read my “Dirty Little Secret” post, you might already realize this about me.  Despite this, though, I will continue to aspire to […]

  2. […] I’m sure you’ll be thanking me later when you do the dishes, because this is a one skillet meal […]

Speak Your Mind


Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.