My friend Amy posted recently that when she thinks back to this time of her life, raising 3 small kids, a memory that will take dominance is laundry. She said she feels like the laundry practically haunts her, that no matter what she's doing or where she's going, there's a basket of clothes that need to be sorted, carried, loaded, changed, emptied or folded. (And she told a pretty funny story about that, but it's her story, so check her blog.)
For me, the domestic necessity that rules my days is the dishes. We have only two adults, one 3 year old and one baby who just eats pureed foods. It seems we dirty enough dishes for Jon and Kate. I walk through the kitchen dozens of times a day, and there is always something that needs to be rinsed, loaded, washed, scrubbed, soaked, dried, unloaded or put away. I think there is an indentation on the floor in front of the sink where my feet have carved a nook, because I stand there so much.
Now, I am NOT a neatfreak. By any means. I sometimes wish I was because I get disgusted at myself for what I tolerate for days at a time. But not dishes. Those I'm particular about. Because of the frequency of this task, I have found a few quirks in my preferences that help me get the job done more quickly or more efficiently. (Sidebar--Trent rarely does any dishes. At all. I'm lucky if his dishes make it in the sink, let alone rinsed or in the dishwasher. HOWEVER, I don't complain because a)he does about 85% of our entire family's laundry and b)when he does help I get irritated that he's not doing it the way I want, so he can't win.)
One of my quirks is that I have a very specific way I want the dishwasher loaded. Doesn't everyone? Especially the silverware. I load spoons and forks first, because I have to separate the spoons so they are not, well, spooning each other. Then neither spoon gets properly clean. I use the forks and then the knives to separate those sneaky spoons. Another quirk is that I only like to have a small container of dish soap (Purple Dawn is my favorite) on the counter, not a big bottle. Too clumsy and messy.
But my biggest quirk is that I LOVE dish brushes. I buy a new dish brush at least every other month, usually once a month. I've tried different brands, sizes and styles, but I think I've found a winner. I accidentally through away the tag, but I get it at Bed, Bath and Beyond for $3.50.
You see, the brush has to have a decently long handle. Duh.
It also has to have strong bristles, but not so harsh that they will scratch anything.
But bristles in a round shape don't help when I'm working on the inside corner of a bread pan or casserole dish. The bristles have to come up above the top of the brush in a sort of point to help with those corners.
Last, but NOT least, the brush needs to have a firm little edge, or a lip, on the top, so that you can turn it over and scrape stubborn pieces of food that are stuck on. For instance, if "someone" made a hot pocket and didn't rinse the plate, and I was washing it a day later and the melted cheese had petrified onto the glass. In that instance, the scraping edge would be ideal.