A Clean-Dishes Junkie

Monday night, I told Raul that I would wash the dishes in the morning before heading into Bilbao with Cate for her last day. He told me not to worry, just go enjoy myself, but I couldn’t do it. The dishes hadn’t been done for a day and a half (guests tend to play havoc with cleaning schedules). Plus, there were still things out of place from my birthday party on Saturday night. I couldn’t leave the house without putting everything to rights.

For anyone who’s known me for any period of time, your jaw must be on the floor. Alex needing to do dishes? Yup, that’s right. I’m addicted to clean dishes.

Last month I made a conscious effort to create a lasting change in my life and we’ll see how successful I was the next time I need to edit a large story. When I wasn’t paying attention, however, I made another fundamental change in my behaviour without even knowing it.

Up to quite recently I hated doing dishes, but then I started to include it in my daily routine. Every day after lunch I wash the dishes. I use it to relax and gear myself for an afternoon of working. I’ve been doing this for a few months now and unwittingly I’ve created a clean-dishes habit.

Someday Lessons:

  • We can create habits (good or bad) without meaning to, simply through repetition.
  • Sometimes we only become aware of our habits when we take a break from them.

7 thoughts on “A Clean-Dishes Junkie

  1. Alex,
    You have discovered the “Zen of the Sink”. A secret source of creativity and happiness…really, it’s tactile, relaxing and gives one pause. Let’s the ideas flow like the water rinsing over the utensils. Part of my creative processs includes caring fortools, straightening my on location bag, or doing a materials inventory. I find these “routine” things, enormously relaxing, and recharging. Gives soe mindfulness to what one is about in IMHO.
    Just some thoughts. šŸ™‚

  2. ( oops, post- lunch typos are runnning rampant…I shold say those are very wabi sabi in their imperfecion, but I will say, grrr, I didn’t intend them. Maybe it is siesta time….I must ask you about Barcelona sometime. I long to visit there. )

  3. Alex Fayle says:


    Yes, that is exactly how it is. My next goal is to expand that to a tidy apartment every day. And don’t worry about the typos. They provided me with a word puzzle figuring out the missing letters _grin_

  4. Urbane Lion says:

    3 weeks is all it takes! I truly dispise doing the dishes but, I also dispise having those fruit flys get in the way of my espresso. They also bug the heck out of the Panther! I devised a killer fruit fly trap that seems to wreck havock in their puny little world and I just started to washes the dishes after dinner routine. Will see how that goes….

  5. Rita says:


    First of all, happy belated birthday. I, too, have developed a CONSCIOUS new habit – opening the mail DAILY (and getting rid of all “junk mail” at the same time). Not only has it been inspirational, but it turns out to be a HUGE time saver!

    Lastly, I have stopped worrying about whether my car is going to be re-posessed! lol

    Great blog!


  6. Rita says:


    Sorry – one more quick thought: having lived most of my life in Manhattan until recently, trust me when I tell you that “leaving dirty dishes” was NOT something you – OR your next door neighbor – would EVER dare to do!


  7. Alex Fayle says:

    @ Rita:

    LOL – I can imagine that dirty dishes in NY would be a very bad thing, except of course for the cockroaches and rats who would love the feast left for them.

    Leaving mail unopened was actually one of the biggest clutter-causers for my residential organizing clients. It’s a difficult habit to get into, but so rewarding once you’ve achieved it.

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