Category Archives: cleaning

Self-Cleaning: Conclusions

My previous discussion about this can be found in the tab above. However, the conclusions I came to were that there were 5 things I could do to limit the amount of clean up required while cooking. (They’re the numbered items, in bold below.

New comments are italic below.

  1. Use up ingredients –  Generates less clean up, sometimes. Task saving here only occurs when the item doesn’t need additional storage or doesn’t generate waste. For example, if a recipe calls for a potato and you use one, you’re done, unless you peel it, in which case you have the same number of chores. If it’s rice, whether you use all the rice or part of it, you have a storage container to deal with, either as trash or to wash and re-use.
  2. Use the smallest quantity of cooking utensils & tools as practical (and safe)! Each tool or utensil generates two clean up tasks — it has to be washed and put away. Making the method and placement of putting it away seems to be the only real way to save time on this.
  3. Limit cooking areas! Each cooking area generates one clean up task: clean up after it’s used. What I’ve started doing is using 2 small wooden cutting boards more often. I can wipe down one side with a sponge, flip it over and use the other side if I need to. I will cut an onion, rinse/wipe that side off, dry it briefly, flip it over and use it to cut the other veggies I don’t want to taste of onion.  (I cut up raw meat on a plate.)
  4. Make your own prefab or partial ingredients! Partially prepared foods may be the best way to cook from scratch, with fresh foods, and limit clean up tasks. This is still one of my best takeaways from this inquiry. I cook extra plain pasta, chicken thighs, rice, noodles, gravy, etc. and find ways to use them in future meals.
  5. Try using commercial prefab ingredients! These can also save many clean up tasks, but you sacrifice knowing exactly what’s in the food and how it was prepared.  Also,  this has the same problems that any ingredients do: you have to use all of it, deal with the waste/packaging and/or store what’s not used. It’s expensive and in this time of the pandemic, prefab foods aren’t always available. . .

This is new! Start the clean up immediately! I fill the dish bucket with warm water when I start cooking. The pots, pans, utensils & dishes are put in there after use and then loaded into the dishwasher as soon as practical.

This does NOT reduce the amount of clean up needed; it DOES reduce the time I have to spend on it. Frequently, this means if I make breakfast or lunch that the dishwasher is full and run before dinner. 

Before the pandemic? I made dinner, that was it. These days, I usually make lunch and dinner and sometimes make 3 meals a day.

Thinking and writing about this idea made me aware of how messy cooking is. I’m doing more cleaning as I go, clearing chopped veggies into the compost bin more often, for example. As a result, the kitchen is cleaner. I’m doing more clean up between meals because I have to, as well.


this discussion and my changed behaviors haven’t reduced the amount of kitchen mess. Darn!

stack of dirty pots & pans

What to Do?

I was going swimmingly along and then all of a sudden, I’m not. Why? Well, it’s the usual for me: I noticed/wrote about what was going on.

That was for decades the most frustrating thing about the way my head is wired between the abuse and PTSD: when I start to overcome the issues, if I acknowledge it, it stops. For a long time, the acknowledgement would trigger a panic attack: full blown. These days, I just stop making progress.

The maintenance jobs are getting done, not as quickly or consistently, but they are. I keep expecting, naively, apparently, that I will just move into a space where I can simply do things. That isn’t so. My body still has PTSD and my intellect isn’t the boss of me.

What isn’t getting done is progress on the culling and house clearing. Yes, I’m overwhelmed. Yes, it’s a huge task. Yes, I’ve been doing this for years decades. I have a few things goading me on.

  1. I don’t want to be remembered for being a hoarder. An ex-hoarder? That I can handle.
  2. If I/we get COVID, the stuff will make caretaking harder.
  3. If or when we have to move, the stuff will have to be dealt with then, and it’s harder every year to move the stuff around.
  4. I want out of this prison that the PTSD/abuse created for me, decades ago, to keep me safe. I have a friend who calls the house my fortress. It was. The funny thing about a locked room — it can keep you safe, but it also can be a jail!
  5. I’d like to find out what life is like otherwise. I’d like to see what I can accomplish when I don’t spend a huge amount of each day caretaking/dealing with stuff, and without the stuff in the way.

So, I went looking for inspiration/motivation, something. I started looking at my get organized books and found a piece which said that when all of a day’s jobs are  maintenance, you need to add an achievement task, because you need both.

Maintenance jobs are getting done. Achievement job? Hm. What could I do which won’t make more mess and can be completed . . .

  • Sweep the front walk.
  • Make up a gallon of sanitizer. (1/3C bleach to 1 gallon of water)
  • Get the rags/kitchen towels put away.

All of those are maintenance, again. Achievement goal?

If a maintenance goal is characterized by being continually repeated and an achievement goal being a one-shot . . ,

  • Finish the 2017 tracking for the farm which was started last week.
  • Work on the “house book.”
  • Work on the long-term planning.
  • Finish the touch-up on the entry baseboards.


I don’t remember where I got the image. But it illustrates a lot of my present mental state!