Feeling overwhelmed? Unload the dishwasher.

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If the daily grind of a messy house is like a murky pool of water, then unloading the dishwasher is like pulling the plug. There is no hope of any clutter swirling down the drain and off your to-do list until that dishwasher gets unloaded.

With six young children frolicking in my wake, the tap is always on, per se. The toys, the laundry, the dishes…one look at the bottom of my closet would have crippling effects on even the strongest of neat-freaks. When I take inventory around the house, I gasp! Where do I even begin? Each room needs immediate disaster relief, a chemical spill response unit!

It was like a zen ah-ha moment for me when I learned to take a deep breath, put the kids to work in the playroom, and then go unload the dishwasher. Music helps too.

You see, for me, a clean kitchen is like a fresh breath of air. It’s like stopping for gas on a long road trip and stretching out your legs. You know you have to cram back into the car eventually, but it sure is refreshing to take a turn or two around the sunflower seed aisle and get the blood moving again.

When the dishwasher is empty, the sink can give up her mess. When the sink is clean, the counters become free of their piles. When the counters are crumb free, most of those crumbs are now on the floor and it is time to sweep. Once the Cheerios and other debris is scraped off the floor, the mop can do her thing without interruption. And once the kitchen sparkles like the top of the Chrysler building, you’ll feel like you can conquer anything! Vacuuming, dusting, baseboards, the bottom of the closet! You become a whirling dervish bent on sanitizing those cup holders in the back of the minivan for sure this time. Nothing can stop your momentum now…

Except a crying baby. But that’s okay! You got a load of laundry in and your kitchen floor is glistening, and your dishwasher is humming. The machines are working for you! That’s a win.

Soon the other children will surface from the playroom, war-torn and hungry and won’t it be pleasant to prepare a lunch for them on a gleaming countertop? Don’t worry about the inevitable mess and dirty dishes lunch will produce. The dishwasher will beep soon enough and you’ll get to unload it all over again with a deep breath and an “OOOoooAAAMMMMMMMMmmmmmm……”

And if you can savor every moment of that baby as you try to rock him to sleep after lunch, all will be right with the world.

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