Something every new couple goes through when they move in together is trying to find an equilibrium around cleaning. When H and I made the shift my attitude was, if I couldn’t see if with my glasses off it was clean. Since my prescription puts me at near legally blind, this meant that tidying was important – and cleaning wasn’t. By contrast, H comes from the Scandinavian school of thought which suggests that if someone with an immunosuppression disease can’t eat off it, it isn’t clean.
One of the big sticking points was dishes; H wanted them clean and I wanted them out of the sink, but my desire for efficiency meant dishes often got put away too dirty for her taste and she put them away too slowly for mine. This project addressed the issue neatly.
Basically, we took two sets of dishes – two cups, two plates, two spoons, two forks, two mugs, etc. – and put them in the cabinet over the sink. Everything else got stacked on a high shelf elsewhere in the kitchen. This achieved a few things:
- After a while, we both started spontaneously washing dishes whenever we saw them in the sink, because cleaning what you needed just before you wanted to eat was a hassle. Eventually I even started doing “her” dishes when I saw them, and vice versa, because with such limited availability chances were good I’d be out of luck if I was the next one who wanted to use a plate or something.
- Doing dishes became a *much* faster affair. Even factoring in cooking gear like pots and pans, the fact that we never had more than a couple plates, cups, spoons etc. meant dishwashing was hugely expedited.
- When guests came over we had to deliberately take more plates, cups, etc. down and then, when they were cleaned, put them away again, which saved us a lot of kitchen space.
- Setting the table became a no-brainer. You just grab all the plates, cups, and cutlery and put them on the table. Done.
We still get a few funny looks when friends came over and we have to reach for “the extra dish ware,” but the end result was a *huge* win in terms of time savings and quality of life. No more sink full of dishes, arguments about whose turn it is to clean, or long-winded efforts to train ourselves to keep things tidy. Now it just takes care of itself.