Kitchen fairy

images1I have a problem with messy kitchens. They annoy me. At home, if I’m cooking (or what passes for cooking in my house), I clean up as I go. I don’t aim for germ-free, just neat. It is rare that there are dishes scattered on my countertops or pots left on the stove – or else DD has been in there. I have been called “anal” about my preference for a tidy kitchen; I would rather call myself “particular”.

This propensity I have extends to my workplace. I want our kitchen area and staffroom to be clean. Not necessarily perfectly sanitary, but clean. No dirty dishes laying around. The dishwasher supplied with soap, turned on, emptied when the cycle is complete. Surfaces wiped. The fridge cleaned out once in a while. Tables denuded of the papers, pens, books, and newspapers that invariably congregate there. Is this too much to ask?

Yes. Yes, it is. So I have had to become the Kitchen Fairy. I have had to do this to save my sanity.

I have made myself responsible for keeping our common area clean. I do all the aforementioned tasks, as well as collect money to purchase coffee, milk, and sugar (people seem to prefer to supply their own tea), make coffee (a couple of other people also do this when necessary), and I also take home the soiled dishtowels and dishcloths every week to wash them. Oh yes – I also take the recycling bin contents home and put them in my own recycling bin for weekly collection by the city because we have no city pickup for our school. (Also, I suspect that no one would ever remember to put the bin to the street or bring it back in if we did have pickup.)

I don’t really mind doing all this, to be honest. It’s my little way of contributing to the wellbeing of the people in my workplace – and I can also avoid coaching teams or being on committees. I’m too busy! Plus, I would go berserk to see the mess accumulate daily, so I really must look after my mental health.

But my coworkers do appreciate what I do. I do get thanked rather a lot. My first year at this school, I regularly got little treats as thanks for my efforts: flowers, lottery tickets, Starbucks cards. That doesn’t happen any more (I suppose they’re used to me now), but I do get frequent verbal acknowledgement. It’s nice.

And all I ask in return is a little cooperation in the form of everybody putting their own dirty dishes or cutlery into the dishwasher. I have made a sign that I have tacked on the cupboard above the sink that states: “No one likes cleaning up after anybody else. Please put your own dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Love, the Kitchen Fairy.”

That didn’t work. Every day, some idiot would leave their cup, bowl or spoon on the counter, while the dishwasher sat half-empty.

I added another sign: “Dirty dishes includes spoons, knives, and forks. Put them in the dishwasher. Thank you! ”

That also made no difference. A third sign went up: “Yes, this means YOU! Put your stuff in the dishwasher! The Kitchen Fairy is losing her happy!”

Again, this had no effect. Not only is the Kitchen Fairy losing her happy, she is becoming downright pissed off. She is taking drastic action.

Now when there are dirty dishes left on the counter or on the table, I leave them. For two or three days. If they are still there, untouched, after that time, I throw them in the garbage. Yes. In the garbage.

So far, no one has dared say a word. And soon there will be no more dishes to worry about, clean or dirty.


6 responses to “Kitchen fairy

  1. Belette – Lucky you! He may not like to be referred to as the “fairy” of all those things, though. I worked with a man once who was as fanatical about our staff kitchen as I, and we came up with the nickname “Kitchen Ferret” for him. Maybe that might sound better?

  2. I have a kitchen fairy, a car wash fairy and a gas fairy who fills my tank( all the same person). I married well.;-)

  3. VioletSky – Since I started, we’re down about 15 mugs and a couple of bowls. So far, no one has even noticed! I will certainly keep you posted.

    XUP – I think the people you’re talking about moved west and became teachers and now they work with me!

    Jazz – Please let me know what your next kitchen-cleanup idea is, because I’ll probably need to move on to it too at some point.

  4. 1) Tea lovers will always prefer to bring their own tea. I know I do, since what we have Tetley at work. I like good tea.

    2) I did the garbage thing at work. At one point I put up a sign saying “wash yer dishes, if you don’t they will be tossed”. And they were. And they started washing. And I was happy. Now I have to find out how to top that since dishes are starting to pile up again.

  5. It absolutely drives me mental how people treat a common kitchen area. Is there home this disgusting, too? Every week someone leave an open, half-eaten can of soup in the fridge. In the can. No lid, no cover of any sort. Why aren’t these people dead from botulism by now? And the microwave? Eeeewwwwwww. Don’t they know you have to have your food in some sort of dish before you heat it up in there? I suspect some people just dump their spaghetting straight into the microwave, let it spin around a bit and then grab a fork and eat it straight out of the oven.

  6. It’s odd, but I can live with my own mess for much longer than I can put up with someone else’s mess. I would possibly do the same if I had a staffroom like yours. Except for the “love notes”. That is funny. And sad. Good action.

    You will keep us posted on the outcome when the dishes run out?