A sink full of dishes

shallow focus photography of gray bowl

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Dishes………..another area of housekeeping that is an absolute necessity.  Unless you can afford to continually purchase paper plates and bowls, plastic utensils and new pots and pans every week, you have to wash your dishes.

The fact that I am even typing out a post on this subject is rather ridiculous.  If  you were to walk into my kitchen at this very moment, you would find a sink full of them.  Yes, I am blessed to have a dishwasher and it is used on a more-than-daily basis.  But, dishes have always been a difficult chore for me to keep on top of.  On my bad days, this task is so far down my list, they will usually sit and wait until another day.

Within my household there is a lot of cooking going on……and it is usually not me.  I have a vegan and vegetarian and they do most of their own cooking, thank goodness!  I also have those who will eat anything as long as it is not vegan or vegetarian.  And because of chronic illnesses, we try to cook a lot of our food from scratch and cooking from scratch results in A LOT of dishes.

I remember being in Lowe’s and the gentleman who was helping us choose a new dishwasher asked, “How many times a day do you run the dishwasher?”  I remember the look on his face when I answered “Most days, about four.”

Yep, that is a lot dishes and it is one of my least favorite chores.   Unloading the dishwasher is one of the most difficult tasks for me to physically do.  I do get help from others here at home, but as any mother knows, you are the one who needs to manage the process.

So, my rules for dishes are:  bring all dirty dishes into the kitchen, rinse all the dishes before placing them into the sink, if there is room place the dirty dishes in the plastic wash tub in the sink.  Several months ago, I purchased a plastic tub from Dollar Tree and put it in our sink so dirty dishes could soak before going into the dishwasher.  Now, this tub quickly fills up but at least some of the dishes will have been soaking and ready to go when the next load is done.

I realize this is not much of a system and I have tried to improve upon it.  I have read several books on how to clean your home systematically, but most of them were unrealistic to my situation.  I have yet to find a book on house cleaning authored by someone who suffers from a chronic illness and has children at home.   If there is one out there, I would be thrilled to know about it!

When it comes to dishes in my home, I just have to do the best I can and be thrilled that a lot. OK, mostly healthy cooking is going on.  When there is enough money in the budget, I do try to purchase paper products for times neither I nor the dishwasher can keep up.  I have to admit, paper plates, cups and bowls are one of my favorite luxuries.

So, how do you keep up with the dishes in your home?

 

Now it gets tough……

vintage music antique radio

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The really difficult task of decluttering spaces, items or boxes full of stuff that you have a  strong and sentimental attachment to is next.  This is when things get really tough and unfortunately can lead to stress, anxiety, and an overall feeling of sadness.  This is the stage where many people, not just those of us with CI, give up because hard decisions need to be made and feelings of loss are awakened.

Those of us who have had the unfortunate experience of losing  someone(s)  precious and dear to our hearts know how hard it is to handle inherited items or items that were given to us before s/he passed.  We keep the goods stored away believing that holding onto their stuff  keeps our loved one closer.  To get rid of anything could be seen as a rejection of that person, the “willingness” to  let go of our memories and fear they will soon be forgotten.

Realistically, we all know that the items are not the person and the memories of our loved one do not live in the items.   But for those of us with CI, we live with the uncertainty of our health, and as we declutter emotional items we unconsciously deal with our own mortality.  Our unpleasant thoughts create even more stress and since we deal with more than our share every day………….we shove it all back in a box and tell our self,  maybe another day!

This is why I believe it is so important during the decluttering process to physically hold every single item you have in your home.  I know, this sounds ridiculous and overwhelming and time consuming and you are right……….it is.  But, it is the only way you are going to be able to truly declutter and make appropriate decisions.  No where is touching every item more important than when dealing with the sentimental stuff.

While going through that box of  knick-knacks from grandma………….touch each and every item individually.  Does it make you happy?  Do you remember where she had it in her home?  Is this something important enough for you to place in your active living space?  Would giving it away bring you emotional pain?  How about a box of old pictures………..do you know who those people are?  If not, are the pictures even labeled?  Is there someone else who would enjoy the photos more than you?

As you touch each item, you can feel it’s vibe, it’s memory (or lack thereof) and sense what you should or shouldn’t keep.  Maybe there is a treasure in a box that means absolutely nothing to you but would be beneficial to another.  Or maybe there is something worth money you don’t care about that you could sell and pay off a medical bill.  Hey, maybe that is why it is there in the first place!

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing inherently wrong keeping items boxed away.  But are we really honoring our special people by doing so?  Would your loved one really want you to have your basement, storage room, attic, or garage stuffed with their past possessions?  I highly doubt it.

As you work through the difficult items to declutter, just remember that you are not discarding memories and you are not going to forget about grandpa because you only kept 2 of his 15 fishing poles.  Instead, you are blessing others with your loved ones generosity and you are putting Aunt Martha’s beautiful vase on a shelf  where you get to enjoy looking at it every single day.

…………until next time.

You are a superhero!