When I’m planning to be away from home for awhile, I have to consider how the things I usually do will get done. Since I work at home and take care of many of the household chores, some scheduling and instructions are in order.
There is almost always someone home at our house at any given time, even when I’m not there, so it isn’t hard to get someone else to take care of my usual responsibilities. We don’t make a schedule of the kitchen chores, the Hubs and the Girl usually share those as they come up. They also share cat care responsibilities and always make a feeding schedule for Philip so he doesn’t miss a meal (he eats three meals a day of canned cat food with crunchers on the side for snacking) and so his water bowl is always full. One or the other of them will feed him at the appropriate time. The Hubs already spends time giving Philip attention and cleans the litter box, so those don’t need to be on the schedule.
The dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning the bathroom and floors will probably not realistically get done while I’m gone. I will give everything a good scrubbing before I go. The Hubs usually makes his own food and the Girl usually orders from DoorDash, so nutrition is covered. Then really the only other things the Hubs will have to do that he doesn’t ordinarily do is to pay the bills and buy groceries and other necessities, like cat food and treats. I have left him written instructions for how to pay the bills (it’s a process!) and he knows how to shop for groceries. I usually order the groceries online and pick them up at the store because then I don’t have to lift things like cases of water and 25-lb boxes of kitty litter, but he is capable of lifting heavy items and likes to pick out his own groceries. He doesn’t trust the “Drive Up and Go” employees to pick out the things he wants correctly, although they usually do a pretty good job for me and I find it a blessing not to have to spend the time going through the store. The feed store keeps a record of what I buy for cat supplies, so if the Hubs forgets they can help him out with that.
Oh, I guess the Hubs will have to do laundry as well. He and the Girl already each do their own laundry, and I have left him written instructions tacked up on the freezer that tell how to wash the towels and sheets, so he should be good there.
As far as plant care, I’m asking the Girl to water my plants when she is taking care of her chocolate mint plants on the patio.
I guess that covers just about everything. Onward to the PCT!
Greetings, young adults! Is washing dishes your favorite chore? Of course not! But is it important for your health, the maintenance of your kitchenware, and the tidiness of your home? I’m pretty sure you’d say it is. These instructions will show you what you need and how to quickly wash your dishes and kitchenware to keep it all clean and germ-free. (That is, if you don’t have an automatic dishwasher. If you have a dishwasher, you should use it. It works much better than washing dishes by hand.)
First, gather your supplies. Start with a sturdy dish brush with a scraper on it. Buy some rubber gloves if you have sensitive skin. Then you will need a dish drainer, a clean dishcloth, clean dish towels, some dish soap (like Dawn), and bleach. If you have a one-basin sink you will want a clean dishpan. Since you will put bleach in the water you use to wash your dishes, you will also want an apron or old sweater to wear in case you splash. Have two scrubby sponges on hand, one blue and one pink (or at least two different colors of some sort), so you can tell which one is for dishes and which one is for the sink. Have some disinfecting cleanser (like Soft Scrub with bleach) to scrub your sink, and keep some paper towels and disinfecting spray cleaner around to get your counters all spiffied up after you’re done with the dishes. Your broom and dustpan will also come in handy.
Before washing the dishes, use your dish brush to scrape bits of food off the dishes/pots/et cetera and into the garbage disposal or trash can. If you scrape stuff into the garbage disposal, run the disposal for a minute with hot water to grind everything up and wash it down. Do not put eggshells or things that would be hard to grind up in the garbage disposal. (Eggshells will clog your drains. Trust me, they will.) Rinse the dishes well before stacking them on the counter to get ready to wash. Never stack dishes with chunks of food on them. You do not want bits of food and other debris in your wash water when you are washing your dishes!
Prepare your sink using your blue scrubby sponge and disinfecting cleanser. You wouldn’t take a bath in a dirty bathtub, because that would be gross. So would washing your dishes in a dirty sink! Sprinkle or squirt a generous amount of cleanser in the sink and give it a good scouring all around (both basins, if you have two). Don’t forget the sides and corners. Rinse out your sink, then rinse off and squeeze out your sponge and put it away where it can dry quickly.
Survey your rinsed dirty dishes and kitchenware. Find the dirtiest items – probably a pot, or a pan that used to be full of lasagna, or anything that might have hard-to-remove gunk left on it after scraping with your brush. Get out your pink scrubby sponge and use it to scrub as many food scraps off your dirtiest dishes as possible. Anything especially icky (like a cutting board or knife that had raw meat on it) should be scrubbed with your dish brush and a little bit of dish soap, and then rinsed before putting it in the wash water. If you need to scrub out a stainless-steel pot, a cleanser called Cameo works well. Rinse your scrubbed dishes and set them aside. Then rinse your pink sponge out and put it away near the blue sponge.
Now put some dish soap in your sink basin or dishpan and fill it with water as hot as you can stand. Add a dollop of bleach to the clean water to help sanitize your dishes. Whirl the water around until there are plenty of suds. Get out your dishcloth and put it in the soapy water. Note that you are using a clean dishcloth, not one that has been sitting around on your sink collecting germs and who-knows-what. Neither are you using a dirty old sponge, or the dish brush. The dish brush is for scraping only. We’re using a sponge for scrubbing, and a clean, germ-free cloth for washing.
Survey your dirty dishes once again. Pick out the least-dirty dishes this time, probably the glasses. Wash these in your suds with your dishcloth. Run hot water from the faucet into your other sink basin (or next to your dishpan) to rinse, and put the glasses in the dish drainer. Next, do the plates and bowls. Remember to wash all sides of each dish, because the backs get dirty too. Wash and rinse your plates and bowls and put them in the dish drainer.
If you are washing sharp knives, place them in the sink or dishpan with the blades all facing away from you. This way you know where the handles are so you can pick them up safely out of the suds to wash them. When washing a knife, ball the dishcloth up for safety so you have some more cloth between your hand and the knife blade while you are washing it. After you have washed the knives, put them in the dish drainer, points down.
Next, tackle the silverware. Pay special attention to each piece of silverware so you won’t find something yucky between the tines when you take a fork out of the drawer later. Wash, rinse, and place the silverware in the dish drainer. Finally, you’re going to come to the dirty dishes you scrubbed earlier. Scrub them even more thoroughly with your dishcloth until they are shiny. You’ve probably run out of room in the dish drainer by now, so place your washed and rinsed pot and lasagna dish on a dishtowel on your counter.
It’s now time to dry the dishes. Get your dish towel and start with the glasses and cups. If any cups or bowls nest together, make sure they are completely dry before nesting or germs might grow in the dampness between them. Then dry the plates and other dishes, silverware, knives, and pots and pans. Put everything away in its place in your kitchen.
Finish your dishwashing task by drying and putting away the dish drainer (unless you are a person who keeps it on the counter beside the sink all the time, that’s okay too), and hanging up your dish towel(s). Wring out your dishcloth and hang it somewhere in the laundry area to dry before putting it into the hamper. Wipe all your kitchen counters and your stovetop with your disinfecting spray and paper towels. Mop up all the water from the back of the sink, wipe off the backsplash, and wipe down the faucet. Wipe up any spills from the floor with a paper towel or rag. After your counters are clean and your floor is wiped, get your broom and dustpan and sweep the whole kitchen floor. Don’t forget the dining area floor if you have one.
That is the end. This simple task should preferably be done every day, or at least whenever there is a jumble of dishes on your counter.
Wasn’t that easier than you thought it would be? Now your parents are proud of you, your roommates are happy with you, and you can be proud and happy too, knowing everything in your kitchen is clean, tidy, and well-maintained!