Weekly Habit # 2 – Clear and wipe the counters daily

kitchen counterOh my goodness – I started this series several weeks ago and meant to make it weekly, but the holidays slapped me upside the head.  Seriously – I’ve had some busy Christmases but this one took the cake, and that was even after I let go of a number of obligations.

I even had to let go of my Christmas journal. You know how it is when you want to do something, but don’t have time and then start the avoidance cycle? That was me with this blog – I felt bad for not keeping up with my journal so I found excuses to do other things.

On the bright side, I’ve had some seriously relaxing do-nothing days which I think I needed.  I’m coming up on busy season at work, so this chance to be a total couch potato was apparently what I needed.

Getting back on track for the new year – first, refresh yourself on habit #1 – Reboot your dishwasher daily.

Have you been doing this? I have for the most part, although holiday cooking got me a little scrambled for a few days.  But it’s interesting how once I set out to make it a habit, the idea of taking a quick few minutes for dishes became both easier and more important.

The habit for this week will build on the dishwasher habit:  Clear and wipe your kitchen counters daily.

It will probably help if you take a little time to declutter them, identify any appliances or decorative items that you can stash, sell or donate, and then do a nice deep clean. Get some hot soapy water (or whatever is recommended for your counters, I don’t want you to mess them up) and scrub all the corners.  Move stuff out of the way and get behind and under everything.

Once that is done, it be easier to wipe down quickly at least every morning or evening.  I’m going to use some sort of spray for daily use but then try to scrub once a week.  My counters are formica from the 50s (don’t be jealous, it’s ugly) (P.S. the picture above is NOT my kitchen!! just an aspiration) and not super easy to clean.

Planning to clean daily also means I won’t let stacks of stuff pile up – even when I stay on top of the dishwasher, stray items tend to wander onto my counter.

Keep rebooting your dishwasher daily – I think adding these 2 habits together will make for some super peaceful mornings when school is back in session.

Who’s up for this habit?  Post a comment if you’re going to join in!

Weekly Habit #1 – Reboot the dishwasher daily

Here’s our first habit!  Read the background here if you’re just joining:  52 Weekly Habits for a more organized life

Hand wash dishes


Tell the truth – how often do you look at the kitchen and say “Aaah, it’s not that bad.  That’s not a full load anyways… I’ll wait til tomorrow.”

Tomorrow comes and you realize it was probably 2 full loads and there are not enough hours in the day to run it and unload, run it and unload.  You never finish the second re-load, and the next day you have to pile breakfast dishes in the sink. Then you want to cook the yummy dinner that you thought about all day, but the pots and pans you need are dirty.  So there you are either handwashing dishes or calling the pizza delivery guy again.

Or is that just me?

This week’s habit is easy-ish for starters – reboot the dishwasher daily. Unload it in the morning and load it before bed. Or unload it while you cook dinner and run it before you leave for work in the morning.  Whatever works for you individually.  You’ll be happy for this habit during the holidays since dirty dishes tend to spawn at an increased rate.

Every single day, go out of your way to do this, even if you see dust bunnies that need swept and laundry to fold. Do your dishwasher first.

If it’s full, run it – if it’s mostly full, run it.  I’m not telling you to waste water and electricity, but if there’s only room for one dish and you’re a few hours from your next meal, you’ll be glad to ran it.  If it’s not full, then by all means wait – but make sure you’re not working with tunnel vision and ignoring a sink full of dishes.

Empty it at the first opportunity.  Make that easier by loading it in a way that makes sense.  Put all the same size plates together, point silverware the same direction.

If you don’t have a dishwasher all of this still applies.  Wash your dishes routinely – don’t let them get ahead of you.

Are you in?  If you are, comment here and update on your progress. Time yourself loading and unloading or washing and putting away and post the results here.  I bet the task does not take nearly as long as it feels like it will take.  Keep this up for a week and beyond – it will be a conscious decision at first but it will become easier and more natural over the coming weeks.

52 Weekly Habits for a less stressful, more organized life

What???  52 habits?  That’s a lot – it can’t be possible to develop that many habits in the course of a year – especially healthy helpful ones.  Actually, I do think it is possible to slowly change your habits and gain a more organized life.

What is a habit? It’s something that you do without thinking about – it’s subconscious, second nature, ingrained – whatever words you want to use.

You don’t make a list to lock the front door, or turn out lights at night, or turn off the stove.  It’s something you are so used to doing it happens without any thought or engagement… which explains why so many of us worry that we forgot to to turn off the stove or lock the front door!

I’ve tried many methods to find a good routine and mindset for keeping my house clean and decluttered.  I’ve tried online lists and apps, reminder systems, binders and notebooks with checklists – none of them really have clicked for me.  I work full time in addition to overseeing homework and taking the kids to activities, but some of the great lists and methods I have found really work best if you’re at home every day.

I also find that I tend toward an “OMG I must do all this and declutter all the things right away!!!” and burn out quickly because what I envision just isn’t sustainable.

A year from today, it will be December 1, 2014.  It will be that day whether or not I take steps toward building life-changing habits. I have 52 weeks – 365 days to find my way to a more organized home bit by bit.

I invite you to join me in this process, I will post a task a week and work toward making it a second-nature habit through repetition.  Below are links to the weekly habits.  Post a comment if you’re joining!