If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a sink full of dirty dishes


I wish I can pretend that Speedy and I spend our days watching movies and our nights sipping cocktails. But I can’t. I might manage to fool you but I sure as hell won’t be able to fool myself. We’ve been without a live-in helper for a year and a month, we’re still alive, we both still have two arms and two legs and… Okay, this is a four-bedroom house with three-and-a-half bathrooms (five bedrooms and four-and-a-half bathrooms if you include the helper’s quarters), a substantially-sized garden, we have two dogs, four cats, two kittens and who knows how many kinds of insects living with us. I’m not complaining. I’m luckier than most because I have a husband who doesn’t think he was born to be served hand-and-foot by his wife. He actually does more cleaning than I do and I am so thankful.

In short, between the two of us, we manage to maintain a fairly organized household. While I was the proverbial OC when we had live-in helpers and I insisted that everything be spick and span 24/7, I can’t be too finicky now that we have to do everything ourselves. Newly-laundered clothes sometimes land on the living room sofa but it’s nothing permanent. Sooner or later, the respective owners pick them up and they disappear to wherever they ought to go. My office couch is still full of neatly folded clothes though so I guess I’m the most delinquent of all when it comes to putting away my clean clothes.

As part of our effort to simplify housekeeping, we moved the kitchen to the “dirty” kitchen. Well, partially. If you’re not a Filipino and you find that reference to a “dirty” kitchen incomprehensible, it just means that many houses are built with an indoor “showcase” kitchen and an outdoor or semi-outdoor “dirty” kitchen where the real cooking actually gets done (usually, by the house helpers). That’s what we’ve got except that the “showcase” kitchen is a real kitchen (see how messy it gets) because that’s where I cook. The “dirty” kitchen is where the washing gets done. To make it more illustrative, all the pans and utensils that I use for cooking are brought outside to the “dirty” kitchen, washed there, air-dried there and then brought back in and placed where they’re normally kept until their next use. It’s tedious.

When there was talk about Speedy’s mom moving in with us (I don’t know when it will happen — if it actually happens), we started moving things around. I was going to vacate the room I’m using as an office so Speedy’s mom could have it. Since we were already moving things anyway, I suggested moving the kitchen into the “dirty” kitchen (the kitchen that we built in the gazebo has become unusable after so many typhoons). It would solve so many issues including the heat from the stove and the oven that gets trapped inside the house. And so we moved the cooking range and some of most frequently used kitchen tools and equipment.

Most other things have remained the same including the part where I cook, and where Speedy washes the dirty dishes and pots and pans. His routine is to let me finish everything and do the washing afterward. When the cooking was done indoors, I never really knew how long the interval was between the cooking and the washing because there was rarely any reason for me to go to the “dirty” kitchen. But now that the cooking range is only a few feet away from the “dirty” kitchen sink where everything gets dumped, I can immediately see the amount of dirty everything that needs washing. And Speedy would often find me washing whatever’s in the sink — often, while doing the cooking. And he would remind me that I should just leave everything and he would take care of it later.

It happened again earlier tonight and I had the feeling that maybe he thinks I don’t find his dish-washing satisfactory. So, I finally told him. It’s not that I don’t trust him to do the washing. I do and he does a good job of it. It’s something else. It’s kind of a pet peeve although it’s not just a mild annoyance. Some people can’t stand seeing huge piles of dirty clothes. Some people can’t stand unmade beds or stray books or dirty ash trays or throw pillows on the couch that aren’t perfectly aligned. Me? I can’t stand a sink full of dirty dishes. I just can’t. When my mother was still alive, we had a discussion about that. Her style was to start washing only when the sink was full. I prefer washing right after using anything — even if it’s just a coffee cup.

If that makes me OC about the kitchen sink, so be it. We all have things we can’t stand — I’m sure you have one or two or more. One of mine is a kitchen sink full of unwashed pots and plates.

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The Author

Hello, my name is Connie Veneracion. I cook, I shoot, I write. But I don't do the laundry. I don't like housekeeping very much either... (more about me)

22 Responses

  1. hehehe, we’re practically the same when it comes to OC about kitchen sink…..want it always clean…. :)

  2. belicious says:

    I can’t stand toys left lying on the floor. Dishes in the sink. Floor not swept. LOL. That’s pretty much everything already.

    I’m amazed how you manage the upkeep of such a big house. I live in a condo where we can’t keep house help because of the limited space. And every week I still fantasize about having a little elf clean up after every single member in the household. And a full size home with a garden and pets. I’ll be drained to the core.

  3. Albert, yeah, because the rotting everything there is a magnet for all kinds of insects and bacteria. And the dirty plates start to stink after a few hours.

    Belicious, how we manage: I don’t know, most times hahaha. The grass in the garden sometimes grows so that you can’t see your feet when you stand on it. And we’re actually looking for a larger house — we’re insane! hahaha

    • Blackwidow says:

      I am constantly washing dirty dishes and pans, “lysol-ing” the sink and bringing the garbage out after each cooking session. My motto is clean as you go. I don’t like dirty dishes, pots and pans “naka tengga” in the sink, since they smell after sometime, and worst, they are a magnet for all kinds of insects and bacteria, as you aptly pointed out. I like my sink clean and empty.

      I have been without a maid for ten years now, except for the laundry woman who comes once a week. My house is pretty much a minimalist one- all things inside it are being used- no abubots since they just collect dust, I I hate dust. I also try to do spring cleaning every so often and throw away things that have not been in use for quite sometime.In other words, I try to simplify my life.

      • hehehe I don’t “lysol” the sink but I pour boiling water in it several times a day. Helps declog whatever fat has accumulated in the drain pipes and makes it easier to soap the sink afterward.

        • emyM says:

          Same here! I can’t sleep with dirty dishes on the sink.

          Thanks for the availability of disposable paper/styrofoam plates which we use at times.Hehehe

          Since we “downsized”….we moved to a smaller house….I have more “alone” time and that’s a luxury.

          • I’m thinking now that I’m not OC about the sink after all… or, at least, there are other sink-OCs out there and I’m in good company hehehehehe

          • emyM says:

            I’m not only a sink OC but “bathtub” OC also.One time I used 3 kinds of cleaning agent to disinfect and whiten the tub and literally passed out from inhaling it.
            I’ve yet to try your story about using vodka…ooops, i might pass out again but this time from….

          • Hahaha that has happened to me too. I was using a mixture of bleach and detergent, cleaned the bathroom with the door closed and then I started getting dizzy and nauseous. These says, Speedy cleans the bathrooms hehehehe

  4. Beatrize says:

    Mine are dirty floors. It’s a common sight for me to be on all-fours scrubbing those stubborn stains on our kitchen floor. That’s the kitchen. When I’m taking a bath, I usually clean the TB too. (we don’t have any helper at home too, for at least 10 years, so the kids are trained to do chores in the house). … Sometimes makes me think, what is it between me and the floors? is it the same as men and basketball? ;)

  5. Charo says:

    No one can mess with the Queen of the House. My husband always told me to go easy on cleaning. Even before I was 9 months pregnant, I was scrubbing the sink. Because I cannot really stand seeing our sink full of dishes. But my husband can, he can even sleep with it. That’s what I hate. I can’t close my eyes when I know there’s full of dish in the kitchen. Now that my nephews are with me I always told them not to leave any dish on the sink. Our water supply before had scheduled time unlike now, so no excuse of walang tubig. I mopped the floor with zonrox because my son is playing on the floor. So I guess I can relate to you Ms. Connie 101%

    • “But my husband can, he can even sleep with it.”

      Most men can, I think. :D

      • crisma says:

        Hi Connie! I think you attract like-minded people. That’s why we are drawn to you kasi nga, we believe , we think and we act on similar situations in almost the same manner (branded as OC by some, or most, but I’d label it as just proper). Hehe, you are really in good company.

        And that incident when you inhaled the mixture of bleach and detergent and felt nauseous… that also happened to me… toxic pala yun.

  6. Richard says:

    ala speedy …”just leave it there and I’ll take care of it”…

    I get in a zen like mood when doing the dishes….degrease, soap, rinse and arrange to air dry properly…

    do have one complain…sinks in most houses are bit low for me = back strain

    • “arrange to air dry properly”

      hahaha I think I know how that looks. Speedy has this thing about arrangement. This, here; this, there…

      • John Alexander says:

        Hi Connie,
        I’ve enjoyed finding your blog, finding all the recipes and reading. I sent you a email with pictures from our wedding and honeymoon in the Philippines.
        Yes, washing “as you go” helps save time I think also; the food doesn’t have a chance to dry on, making for harder washing later, and I think its easier to keep organized going forward on each dish. JLA

        • I didn’t get any e-mail. :(

        • chat says:

          i can relate with this ‘dirty dishes’ issue. I too couldn’t stand dirty dishes in the sink and so are dirty floors. My 2 boys, that’s the hubby and son, are both trained to make sure none of their dirty dishes are left in the sink or on the kitchen bench or else they’ll hear me nag. They know to either wash it or load it in the dishwasher. How hard can that be?

  7. Ken_L says:

    Invest in a dishwashing machine???

  8. beth m. says:

    Ms Connie when my kids were younger, i would always tell them “Part of cooking is cleaning” it’s a mantra i repeated to them, and it seemed to have caught on, or so i thought, until i visited my son’s apartment…whew, i almost just about fainted…how could he? lol, but my daughter was different, she did practice what i taught her…so i guess it’s a man thing then? your call Ms. Connie..

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