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Embrace Your Dirty Kitchen

Does a dirty kitchen drive you crazy?

One of my childhood chores was doing the dishes after dinner. I became rather efficient at the task. When I grew up and had my own home, I wanted the kitchen spotless after dinner. My husband didn’t have the same clean kitchen policy in his bachelor pad, so if I wanted a tidy kitchen, it was my job to do it.

Some days, if the kitchen wasn’t clean, I got a little crazy. The trouble was, cleaning it could make me crazy, too.

Not too long ago, I finally smartened up.

Who cared about the clean kitchen? Only me.

Did my husband? Not really.

Did my neighbors, who can see the dishes stack up through the window? Likely not.

Did my mom? No. Even if I fabricated a story that she did care, she can’t even see them. She’s 3000 miles away and only knows that my kitchen is occasionally messy because I posted it here for the the world to see.

Why did I like the kitchen clean? It was one less thing to make me crazy, because so much in my life was making me crazy.

Interesting. I really pondered that. A kitchen can make me crazy. From an outsider, objective view, that’s a little crazy.

While I can pretty much control how clean my kitchen is, the process of controlling that trivial thing made me crazy. Like I said, there was little room to feel good.

This is when I realized it was time to lighten up. (If my sister’s reading this, she’s probably laughing hysterically at this point.)

I thought a clean kitchen made my house more relaxing. Although maybe it did, keeping that kitchen clean was far from relaxing. Was a spic-n-span kitchen necessary for me to function in life? Certainly not. In fact, it was limiting my functionality because of all the mental space I was taking up just by thinking about it.

Once I sorted out that I didn’t need my kitchen to be perfectly clean all of the time, I began to pride myself on the ability to occasionally let dishes pile up for a few days ... and not go crazy in the mean time.