>In our household, Husband and I unofficially have our own set of maintenance chores. We tends to wash and dry the laundry (sometimes with my assistance), and we each put our own clothes away. He also is in charge of ridding our apartment of the trash. I do all the vacuuming and floor washing. We each generally wash whatever dishes we are responsible for dirtying as soon as we are done using them. No dishwasher here. Since we rarely cook a shared meal (how childless New York of us!), it is more or less obvious who made a mess. Sometimes dishes pile up, and one or the other of us will just wash everything (and then gripe about it).

In the nine years that Husband and I lived together thus far (man, where does time go?!?!), I still cannot bring myself to do one chore: put away the dishes that are in the drying rack and dry, especially silverware. Things will pile up as I clean my dishes, glasses, spoons, forks, and knives, and I just let them sit there, clean and ready for reuse, until Husband yells at me because he has no room for his stuff.

Years ago when we went through this battle at our first apartment, a 200 square foot space with no stove or oven, but a huge sink and decent amount of counter space (which was taken up by the microwave, toaster oven, and two burner hot plate we used for “cooking”), Husband asked me what my psychological barrier to putting away clean dishes was. I claimed that the dishes confided in me that they were afraid of the dark. Every time I would go to put them in a cabinet or drawer, they would sob and beg me in a terrified voice to let them stay out in the open space.

Is it my fault that they didn’t trust Husband to share their deepest fears with him? I don’t think so.