Growing up, I never really understood My Mom Wouldn’t Go to Bed With Dirty Dishes in the Sink. My thinking was, it would take the same amount of time to do them at night as it would the next morning. And she wouldn’t be as tired as she was after a late night.
But she always said, “I want to go to bed with a clean kitchen.”
Now, many years, two kids and my own home later, it all makes sense. Some nights, I’m so tired, the last thing I want to do is wash the dirty dishes. So I don’t. I watch TV, look at my phone and go to bed. Of course when I wake up in the morning to see a messy kitchen, I really wish that I had cleaned up the night before.
Yes, one part of it is cleanliness, but another part is the psychology behind the mess and the clutter. It’s something I discovered a while back. When things were always in a rotating mess (as I liked to call it,) I used to say, “I am just not a good housekeeper.” And maybe that was true. But what I didn’t realize was that having a mess around me was affecting my happiness and productivity.
How can something like a messy or cluttered house vs a clean and organized house affect you so much? I started thinking about it when I was reading The Happiness Project. Author Gretchen Rubin talked about how she was devoting one month to getting her home and life un-cluttered. After reading that, it just struck a chord with me. I realized, whether or not I was a good housekeeper didn’t really matter. What did matter was if the mess affected me or not, affected my over happiness or not. And I realize, that it did.
I was trying to be that mom that didn’t care if the sink was full of dishes, the living room was full of toys and the dining table was cluttered. It was more important that we were having fun and doing things for ourselves. All of that is true, but being in a constant state of disorganization and then doing a big massive clean on a weekly basis was really taking its toll.
Now don’t get me wrong, my house is not spotless. Everything is not clean, dusted and in its place, I’ll never be able to do that. What I am doing now is taking that extra 15 or 20 minutes after a meal to make sure the counter and table are clear and the dishes are washed. I am also taking some time each night after the kids go to bed, to pick up stuff from the floor, put some laundry in the washer and tidy up the living room.
It honestly makes me happier to see things tidy before I go to bed. And it’s nice to wake up to a clean place in the morning. I feel better and more productive when I sit at my laptop to work and there isn’t a ton of stuff everywhere. It helps me focus on the task at hand.
It also makes me understand now why My Mom Wouldn’t Go to Bed With Dirty Dishes in the Sink. After all, I am my mother’s daughter.
Was there something that your mom used to do that you didn’t understand as a child but makes total sense as an adult?
What are your thoughts on the correlation with tidiness and happiness?