Is Your Kitchen Sink the Key to Happiness? Yes, According to This Fan-Favorite Cleaning Plan

published Sep 11, 2017
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(Image credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion)

Do you follow the FlyLady? If not, here’s a little backstory: the FlyLady is a site dedicated to organizing and cleaning your home, started by Marla Cilley. The site gets its name from Cilley’s old username from her first online endeavor, and is equal parts an homage to her love of flyfishing and an acronym that means “finally loving yourself.” (Oh, and fair warning if you’ve never visited before: the website looks a bit like a relic from 2001, but honestly that adds to its charm!).

Many people swear by Cilley’s BabySteps program (along with her contagious, positively pleasant attitude), which, in 31 steps, is meant to help you handle your home when you’re overwhelmed by a mess. These steps are filled with great advice—like setting a 2-minute timer and getting as much done as you can before it goes off (step 6) and how to do a 5-minute decluttering “room rescue” (step 9)—but it’s step No. 1 that has us intrigued.

Cilley believes that the key to a happy home—and a happier you—is in your kitchen sink. That’s why the first step in her program is to do your dishes until your sink is empty, then clean it and really get it shining. If you’re wondering why, here’s her explanation:

“It is so simple; I want you to have a sense of accomplishment! You have struggled for years with a cluttered home and you are so beaten down. I just want to put a smile on your face. When you get up the next morning, your sink will greet you, and a smile will come across your lovely face. I can’t be there to give you a big hug, but I know how good it feels to see yourself in your kitchen sink. So each morning, this is my gift to you.”

If you’ve ever faced down a mountain of dirty dishes, you know how satisfying it is to finally clear them all out and have your sink back (even if you haven’t really thought about it like that before). The FlyLady’s sink-shining plan is basically just that feeling times ten, with some extra effort and elbow grease to put in in the process.

Okay, so, let’s get down to the actual cleaning—Cilley is here to make sure your sink is so clean it shines, so she’s got a 12-step plan full of tips for doing just that. You can read her full tutorial at, but here are some of her most helpful tips:

  1. Fill your sink with hot water, add bleach, and let it sit for an hour.
  2. Use a toothbrush or dental floss to clean around the faucets.
  3. Use a butter knife to clean around the rim of the sink.
  4. Dry your sink with a clean dish towel whenever you run the water to avoid water spots.
  5. Avoid putting dishes in the sink, instead, put a dish pan under the sink for collecting dishes that need to be washed.

You’ll never have to go through the initial cleaning process again, Cilley explains, so long as you keep up with the daily maintenance—and you can keep up the shine easily with some window cleaner.