Thursday, May 19, 2011

Simplicity Habit #1: Wake Up To An Empty Dishwasher

Let's talk about simplicity. Specifically a bit about what simplicity IS and what simplicity is NOT. First simplicity is not always easy.  What?! That's right...not always easy. Simplifying our lives does not necessarily mean we will have less to do either. It does not mean giving up all of our worldly possessions and taking a vow of poverty. "Get thee to a nunnery!" Nor does it mean that we no longer have chores to do and can spend our lives in unoccupied idleness. "Get thee to a BarcaLounger!" No, we may actually have more to do, not less, when simplifying our lives.

Simplicity is living intentionally with our possessions. It is cutting clutter. Space clutter, time clutter, mind clutter, life clutter. It is paring our lives down to the things that we value most. It is creating habits that allow us the freedom to do the things that bring us real joy. The real focus, I believe, of the simplicity movement (which is in no way new) is mindfulness. When we know why we are doing the things we do, and we have good habits that help us to keep our lives and homes and minds clutter free,  we make room for joy. For spontaneous play.  For Friends. For Love. For Real Life.

So, I have been making note of some of the habits that have helped me simplify my life, and will be sharing these over the next couple of weeks. In the end, I hope to do a link up so that each of you can add to the list!  I am by no means an expert, but from experience, I can tell you that when I follow good habits, my life is more simple, more relaxed, and much more peaceful, which in reality is what I am after.

Simplicity Habit #1--Always wake up to an empty dishwasher.
I have tried so many different systems for dishes. I have found the one that brings me the most peace throughout my day is this. I admit that I do not always follow it. When I do not. I am sorry. So, the habit can go a couple of ways depending on your preference or amount of dishes. Option #1 is to run the dishwasher in the afternoon and then unload the clean dishes while making dinner. Obviously, this chore could be done by anyone in the home, not just Mom or Dad. The dinner dishes are loaded after supper and the dirty dishes are added throughout the next day until we are ready to run it again in the afternoon.

If the thought of dinner dishes sitting overnight in the dishwasher makes you cringe, then you are a candidate for Option #2. Running the dishwasher after dinner and then unloading it before bed. This way we actually DO wake up to an empty dishwasher, but either way we are loading the dirties throughout the next day. I actually alternate between these to options depending on how many dinner dishes were created. And trust me, most evenings Hunky Hubs and I are tired. We just want to go to bed. We do not want to unload the dishwasher after the kiddies are tucked in. But the next day goes so much more smoothly if I take the time to do this.

Why it works: I am lazy. If the dishes in the dishwasher are clean when I get up in the morning, I will do whatever it takes to not unload those puppies until absolutely necessary, which means the dirty dishes pile up in the sink and on the counter all. day. long. Am I right? With an empty dishwasher however, I can blissfully pop in the offending cups and plates all day long one or two at a time and keep the kitchen relatively clean throughout the day.  Nothing, and I mean nothing, creates peace as much as a clean kitchen. Admittedly, there is no less work involved in this habit, but by eliminating the stress of piles of dishes in the sink, life is simplified.


  1. Do you mean to suggest that the huge pile of dishes on my counter could be gone? ;) I was trying to do it in the morning but I seem to get distracted. I'll try putting them away before bed... No promises! :)

  2. We turn on the dishwasher every night as we head to bed. It has always helped out family because the younger ones could get a dish out of the dishwasher at breakfast when they may not be able to reach the cupboard. The kids empty it in the morning (in theory!) before they leave for school. Like you said, it's all about finding something that works to simplify your life and make things flow a little better. Can't wait to see your other ideas!

  3. I have to be able to put the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher in the morning and then run it. I always feel too tired at night to do it, and I don't want to do it in the morning before breakfast. So--after breakfast works best for me.

    And about clutter--totally agree. My only problem is the clutter seems to collect faster than I can un-clutter it.

  4. My own personal rule is to make sure they're unloaded before I start preparing a meal. I just get so frustrated if they're not.
    However, no strict schedule has ever really worked becuase our dish use apparently is randomized. :)

  5. Simplicity for me is not worrying whether the dishes are done or not. Go and do until you're too tired, tomorrow is another day. Sometimes they're done, sometimes they're not.

  6. Hmm. I really like this idea in theory. I think I'd be better off if I could just get the dishes in the dishwasher after dinner... this is much harder than it sounds.

  7. I'm with Shawnie. I once decided I was going to have the dishes done every night for a few weeks. And I did. And it didn't make me a better person. And I realized I didn't need to be a good dishes person to get married.

    I've decided I'm just fine with a stack in the sink that I load all at once rather than constantly loading. So there's another option for you. It's great how we can all find something that works for us.

  8. Oh I'll be appreciating your tips, I'm working on streamlining our behaviors. Our dishwasher runs overnight and is emptied each morning, love it.

  9. We should try something like this. Every time I see the sink full of dirty dishes, I think "but we have a dishwasher!! Why are there dirty dishes scattered all over the counter?" Forget the dishwasher, I need a maid.