the clean side

I was wondering. . .

which side of the sink is your clean side?

When I was growing up. . .

I had the dubious pleasure of standing on the left side. .

tea towel in hand.

The task seemed to never end.

In a family of five children. .

four of them being boys. . . with their own responsibilities in the barn. .

I stayed inside and helped in the kitchen.

Anyone who has eaten at our table. .

or enjoyed the recipes I post. . .

should thank my mom.

She not only gave me free reign in the kitchen. .

she also taught me that kitchen clean up was part of the joy of cooking.

If I happened to be making a mess like you saw the other day. .

I stood on the right side. .

dish cloth in hand. .

and then moved over to the left side. .

tea towel in hand.

Growing up. . .

it was the same side every day for washing. .

and the same side every day for drying.

I never gave it much thought.

The first few years of marriage. .

I washed on the right ..

and dried on the left ..

and then one day I got a dishwasher.

Some things never really do change that much though. .

I still put soapy water in the right side of the sink. . .

morning. . . noon and night.

The right side. . .holds a dish cloth to wipe counters . . .

and . . .

the left side .. .

is where I wash grapes. . .

. . .rinse a carrot. .

and peel potatoes.

Once a week. . .

I give it all a rinse of bleach.

Does your family know which side the clean side is?

I'm not too sure mine did . .

I haven't spent much time talking about the clean side. . .

until today.

My project yesterday was cut short. . .

My beloved rang me from the shop. . .

and so. .

I went on a date.

Projects shmojects .. .

What kind of a girlfriend would I be. . .

had I sent a note of regret?

All for now. .


  1. I do the right to left as well. And I don't have a sprayer . . . when we moved to our first house with a sprayer my mother had me convinced that if you used it it would break . . . so I've had houses with sprayers -- totally untouched. Here, I don't have one -- why would I have something I never use!

  2. I also work right to left...for the most part. My dishwasher happened to be installed to the left of the sink in this house.

    Will you be completing your project today?

  3. Just like you, I put the dirty dishes to the far right, wash in the right side rinse in the left side, and the drainer is to the far left. And no one in my house cares which side is the clean side. 2/3 of them are 4 legged and couldn't reach it anyway, and hubby wouldn't know the difference if it bit him on the nose! Just being real here! Becky

  4. Ahh Lovella too cute! I love your photos and your story. And I do the right to left as well..I think it's because where my dishwasher is located.
    Glad the girlfriend took time out for a date..

  5. I love your post!!! and pictures!!
    I too, am a right to left gal. Do you think that is because we are all right handed? Maybe how our brains are wired? My family kinda knew which sink was which, because the kids had to do the dishes and goes along with where the dishwasher was located. We have been in the same house for 32 years and it is still a
    free-for-all with hubby. I gave up! Glad you enjoyed your date... I agree,,, chores can wait!!!

  6. Great post! I work from the left, and always have. When I think about it, so does my mother. Your insight and perspective are terrific. I see my mom later today and I can't wait to share this with her. I wonder how grandma washed up... Thank you for your charming post. I hope you have a wonderful day!

  7. For me it was always the right side for washing and the left side for clean and drying BUT it seems like dishwashers have consistently been on the left side and the right sides of my sinks have gotten smaller and smaller with every move to a new house. After big parties it's easier to stack the dirty dishes on the left side cuz there is just more room there and the dishwasher is there...My kids have no clue about a clean side and dirty side every side is dirty for them :0) Sheesh...I'm glad you got away on a date and I love that great photo of mini Lovella in the kitchen...too cute!!

  8. I work from right to left as well even though my dishwasher is on the right. Love the picture! My sister and I had to do the dishes growing up and the dryer couldn't leave until all dishes were wiped -- if we weren't getting along we made sure we wiped the table, stove, counter, etc. before we washed the last dish!!
    It's funny now but it wasn't then!! She passed away six years ago at a young age and I'd love to be doing dishes with her again!

  9. Lovella, you have a way of making us look at the most everyday things in a new way. Yes, I have a 'clean side', but never thought about it until now. The clean side is the left side - always has been. It takes a lot of elbow grease to keep it that way as I don't like to put bleach in the sink because we're on a septic system and it plays havoc with the 'working'!
    PS I've been a maniac with the new little steamer - what fun!

  10. I work right to left. My mother works left to right as did my grandmother. When I asked my mother about it she shrugged her shoulders and said she just did what worked in the kitchen she was in. I was told by my sister-in-law that I work backwards, that most people work left to right. At the time we had a good laugh about it. Thank you for reminding me about happy times cleaning up and talking with women, some of whom I miss.

  11. Can't possibly have it any other way...right side is where I wash, left side is clean. Funny, though growing up it was always left to right!
    I love the photo of you as a little girl.. I stood in that kitchen many times.. but I'm sure the wood stove that stood opposite the sink was long replaced by the time that photo was taken.

  12. LOL! I love the '50's waaaayyy cool modern handles on your mom's kitchen cabinets, at exactly the same angle as my mom's waaayy cool modern kitchen cabinet handles were placed, and remain placed to this very day.

    Would any of us consider putting handles on a cabinet door at an angle anymore?

    My mom's sink was a single sink, as is mine! Fom your post I just figured that mother, like daughter.

    I never had to wash OR had that handy waaay cool midcentury modern device called a "dishmaster" that looked exactly like this one:

    on the rare occasion that my freckle faced red headed brother ever used it. And yes, it is still being used daily at her sink to this very day. I wanted one for my current kitchen, but since I have a dishwasher proper, it wasn't necessary for me.

    My Home Economist/Dean of Women at the U. of Idaho Great Aunt Lorrain impressed on my young homemaking mother that air drying was the most sanitary way to dry dishes. Consequently, our dishes were place wet in a dish rack to dry, which while visually messy for a moment, made "helping dry the dishes" an extinct activity in our house.

    I wonder if only "dishmaster" household children select sinks without two parts when they get a chance to choose for their own kitchens....I love it that way so I can fit items too big for the dishwasher easily in to the sink.

  13. PS: I "clean" fruit and such in a colrander under running water, then just let them drain naturally. Boy, are our kitchen backgrounds different or what, even though the kitchens looked so much alike.

    And I have to wonder about women who fret about their grandbabies being washed up in the kitchen sink, as "unsanitary". Huh? If I ever have human grands, they can practically swim laps in my sink until they reach school age!

  14. PSS: I always figure I should do the "dirty" on what ever side has a garbage disposal. Lefties should take that into account when planning their kitchens, don't you think?

  15. Oh, I love these posts that make you think of things you never think about!!! I, too remember drying dishes on the left side of my Mom ... and that's where she told me msot of what I remember her telling me....
    Now... I wash on the left and the clean side is on the right ... you can tell if you look into my nice two year old stainless steel sink ... it's stil shiny on the right and scratched on the left. Drives me crazy - because I wanted to keep it scratchless...
    Reason for the change of sides??? My cupboards with clean dishes are on the drying side... and the side where we eat.

  16. The Merc looks great. That was interesting discussion about the sides of the sink. It has always depended on how much counter space I had on each side. With dishwashers, I don't really remember.

  17. I'm opposite of you with my left side being the dirty!
    My husband looked at me really funny the first time I reprimanded him for desicrating my 'clean' side. I soon learned that not all families do it 'my' way :)

  18. Lovella;

    Clean laughed so hard. Then I realized, hey mine is the right (on occasion).

    mama to 7
    one homemade and 6 adopted
    with one on the way!

  19. We are a wash on the left household so our clean side is the right side. The dishwasher is installed on the right but it is seldom used.

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  21. Left to right here, but then it's just one big old white sink...still...left to right. And it was growing up, too, now that I think of it. Right to left at Nan's house, though. I was about to say that we must do what our mothers did, but obviously my mother made a switch.

  22. Now, I must admit, on this Tuesday morning you presented me with a new thought process. Which side of the sink do I use for what? How is it that you can even make a subject such as this, interesting? I have a big sink on the right side and a small sink on the left, and they serve many different purposes. What a fun post on sinks.

    I am sure you had an exciting date.


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