Here we go.
One of those posts.
The back story:
Almost every time I post something on Facebook about running my dishwasher, or about how irritatingly important it is to empty it, or about how finally grasping the routine of running it each and every night was the game changer for my kitchen, someone bemoans the fact that she does not own a dishwasher.
I get it, y’all.
A gut reaction to a post mentioning a dishwasher being frustration that you don’t have a dishwasher is something I understand.
I’ve lived with and without dishwashers. When I didn’t have one, I was the QUEEN of believing that if I only did have one, my kitchen would be clean. I could have argued you to the floor on this subject. The sheer logic!
Yet, once I had one, my kitchen wasn’t clean. In fact, it was worse.
And I was MORE frustrated.
If you think it’s frustrating to have a messy kitchen because you don’t have a dishwasher, just know it’s sixty-seven times more frustrating to have a messy kitchen when you do have one.
It’s not about the dishwasher. It’s about the routine.
Really. It’s about washing the dishes each and every day (at whatever time makes the most sense in your home) and putting them away.
With the routine in place, a dishwasher does help. I’m not saying it doesn’t. I have a bit of an obsession with mine. But the key thing to understand is that without a routine, a dishwasher doesn’t help like you think it would.
A dishwasher doesn’t keep your kitchen clean. You do. A routine is how you do it. A dishwasher is a tool.
Whew. This is one preachy post so far, huh?
Now to the point. We spend a week at a time at my parents’ lakehouse. It’s nothing fancy, but we love it. We are incredibly grateful to have a place to go (for free!) where the kids can ride bikes, go exploring, play basketball for hours at a time, etc. Oh, and there’s a golfcart. Golfcarts make life fun.
But there is no dishwasher.
Every time we go, I think about writing this post. This time, I’m actually writing it.
Things That Are Still True About Keeping a Kitchen Clean Even Without a Dishwasher
1. Dirty dishes defy mathematical logic.
One day’s worth of dirty dishes can be washed in X amount of time.
Two day’s worth of dirty dishes require 4X time.
Three day’s worth of dirty dishes require >7X that time.
Please don’t analyze my algebraicish equations. Just get the point. The time required to clean the kitchen daily is SO MUCH LESS than if you let it go for even one extra day.
One day’s worth of dishes can generally go smoothly through the process. One day’s worth is usually ONE dishwasher load for our family, or can mean (if washed in the proper order) one dishpan of hot, soapy water.
Two days’ worth of dirty dishes means there are still dirty dishes on the counter when the dishwasher is full. Or the dishwater gets cold and disgusting before you’re anywhere near done and has to be changed multiple times.
More dirty dishes means more moving around, more adjusting, higher-and-significantly-more-precarious piles that threaten to come crashing down.
Two days’ worth of dirty dishes is significantly more visually overwhelming. This increases the risk T.P.A.D. (Time Passage Awareness Disorder) will kick in and turn it into three (or four or five) days’ worth of dirty dishes.
2. There are sixty things I’d rather do at any given moment than clean the kitchen.
Not a lot of explanation needed. Just know that after the first week of a new dishwasher, cleaning the kitchen goes back to being the dreaded chore it always was.
3. Putting dishes away is as important as washing them.
I’ve said many times that emptying the dishwasher is (much to my chagrin) as important as running it. When I empty it first thing in the morning, there’s room to put dirty dishes in it throughout the day, which means that night, I only have to add dinner dishes and start it.
When I’m living without a dishwasher, it’s equally important to empty the dishdrainer, even if “the dishdrainer” is only a towel spread out on the counter. The dish drainer/towel/super-absorbent-dish-drying-mat-thingy (<-affiliate link) is a space designated for clean dishes to dry. When it’s empty, it’s psychologically easier to start washing the dishes because there’s nothing that has to be done FIRST.
“Before I can do this, I have to do that” is one of the most self-pitying, sigh-inducing, logical-excuse-producing phrases in my Slob Repertoire.
Another crazy thing happens when the drying spot is available. Washing one dish “real quick” actually enters my brain as something worth doing. A mostly-clear space triggers the desire to keep it mostly clear. Just like an empty sink (because the dirty dishes are already in the dishwasher) triggers the desire to take the extra 2 seconds required to open the dishwasher and place a dirty dish in it instead of dropping it in the sink.
4. One day’s worth of dishes requires less energy (and elbow grease).
After years of
arguing bantering about this issue with my husband, I finally won the pre-wash war when I started this blog. Running the dishwasher nightly meant food didn’t harden/petrify onto the dishes and would usually come off in one wash.
It’s the same with handwashing. Doing dishes every night means food doesn’t get the chance to become one with the pan. Even things that need soaking can soak while the other dishes are being washed.
5. Removing the decision is key for my personality type.
As a chronic over-analyzer, I am a master at coming up with logical reasons why it makes more sense to wait until “later” to do the dishes. I’ve had to remove decisions/create non-negotiable tasks. Removing the nightly decision about whether I should do dishes removes stress. And keeps my kitchen clean.
I tried to have the same-old-same-old conversations with myself last week. I tried to reason that a few dishes weren’t worth my time.
I can’t let myself make those decisions. I just can’t. It HAS to be a routine. Wishing I had a dishwasher doesn’t get the dishes done. I have to do them.
Bonus Reason: The best kind of inspiration is the kind that passes out hope a little at a time, over and over again.
Life is easier when your kitchen is clean. I’ve always known this, but I still have to be reminded. Waking up to a clean kitchen means making breakfast/sack lunches is easy.
I can just do it. Without having to FIRST clean up (or at least shove to the side) yesterday’s mess.
This inspires me to keep going.
Doing the dishes even though we had sandwiches for dinner and there really aren’t that many lets me experience the pleasant surprise that it wasn’t as bad or miserable or time-consuming as I feared. As I always fear.
Every time, I’m surprised. Every time, I get a bubble of joy over how easy it was to clean my kitchen. Those moments of joy help me do the right thing the next time.
I’m not saying you don’t need a dishwasher. I love mine. It makes my life easier. I consider it a worthy investment. But it’s not magic. Routines are where the magic is. If you have read 28 Days to Hope for Your Home, you know the instructions say to “do the dishes” not to “run your dishwasher” because it’s a fact. Doing the dishes (however you have to do them in your unique home) daily is THE KEY to getting an out-of-control home under control.
(28 Days to Hope for Your Home is part of my book: How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind.)
I’m not complaining about the people who complain about not having a dishwasher. We’re all at various points in this deslobification journey.
My reaction is not that of a Housekeeping Expert: Seriously, people! You have to do the dishes whether you have a dishwasher or not! Duh!!
It’s more like a Slobs Anonymous leader who nods knowingly because she’s been there and knows this person is going to have to come to terms with this reality on his/her own.
If you have a larger or smaller family, your dishwashing times might be different. Maybe you need to wash every other day or three times a day. The point is having a routine that actually works. For you. In your home.
I have a podcast on this subject, with other tips for developing your kitchen routine. Listen to it while you do the dishes.
Podcast (aslobcomesclean-comfeeddailyaudioblog): Play in new window | Download
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I’m completely with you on your dishes-math! Same goes for laundry and so many other household chores! (Litterbox, anyone? Neglect to scoop for one day and you might as well scrub the whole thing down with bleach, ughh… )
The “Slobs Anonymous leader” made me giggle, you should start wearing a badge and everything, hihihi 😀
So true. So true. So true. I’ve had to learn that lesson the hard way, and still struggle, but am doing better.
This is embarrassing to say, but I wouldn’t mind doing dishes so much if it didn’t wreak havoc on my fingernails! 🙂
wear gloves! Easy solved.
I actually splurged on fancy pink gloves just for this to help motivate me to get it done! For me it’s itchy, dry hands though!
I did this once too! 😂 I hope it helps you more than it did me! 😅🤦🏼♀️😅
Marybeth S says
I have a dishwasher but it broke.Now I have a extra large dish drainer.Neither one has helped me keep my kitchen clean because I hate to do the dishes. I would rather be outside working in the yard but I have finally forced myself to do at least one load of dishes every day which keep’s at least one side of the sink empty.You and your slobification facts have helped me face reality better than anything else I have read. My house is not mother in law clean yet but I am getting there slowly but steadily,one day at a time.
My dishwasher broke down several years ago. Just did not think it was worth replacing at the time. As a result, there were issues with dishes – the worst being dishes in the sink after supper, that didn’t get done right away, sometimes being left overnight – ugh! 2 years ago, the closest I came to a New Years resolution was to promise myself to do the dishes after every meal – no exceptions. Really, it is the routine, because now, I don’t even think twice about it – I just do it. Instant gratification. Now, if I could put that in place with all the other things that need done around here! Heh 😉
This is so true! But I have to say, I love my dishwasher. It wasn’t working for a few months, and the rest of my house got messier and messier because the time I had previously spent straightening up I had to spend washing dishes. I’m so pleased that it works now!
Hi my name is Jen and I’m a slob. <<<<>>>>>
I really needed this post today. now someone please tell me to stop reading blogs on not being a slob/getting the house in order and actually GO DO IT!
GO DO IT!! 🙂
Brittani A. says
I have (for several years now) been hunting for the one thing that will snap my house into shape. Guess what? Dana ain’t gonna do it for me, FlyLady ain’t gonna either. I now know that they will help ME complete the tasks I need to do to finish making my house a home. Use he podcasts and just get er done.
“Hi Jen” said the members of slobs anonymous in unison. 🙂
I too am a slob. Not from lack of planning and research, (thanks Dana & Flylady) but from lack of implementation.
I have every reason/excuse in the book. I’ve been in a walking boot since Dec., I have 2 girls and am a single mom, the baby has special needs and requires all her foods to be homemade, I just had emergency surgery last week that left anen incision in my chest that requires daily trips to the Dr to have it repacked and checked for signs of infection and makes lifting,carrying, or bending near impossible. Oh yeah and I don’t have a dishwasher or washer/dryer hook ups. Lol
My point in all this is I have just learned in the PAST WEEK do a little bit at a time. While I’m waiting for the babies formula to warm up I wash out her used bottle and any other dishes that mysteriously “appeared” lol. Same thing when I’m heating up the teapot I clear off and wipe down the counter(s). When I check the mail I empty the diaper pail (grocery bag in a tiny trash can) in the dumpster. Is my kitchen spotless? No Way! Would it pass the “mother test”? Nope! But do I feel better knowing there’s a clean bottle for a midnight feeding? Yep! Do I feel less stressed knowing there’s not a week old oatmeal bowl that needs scrubbing before my oldest can have cereal? You bet!
As for laundry I could pay $10-$20 a week to do it at the onsite laundry mat. Or I could plan ahead and take a load or two to my sisters every few days. Neither situation is ideal but it’s better than hearing the morning of “Mom! I’m out of underwear!”. My solution is a little red wagon by the front door that I put 3 pop up hampers in. My oldest (9 yrs) is responsible for taking the upstairs dirty clothes basket and sorting it into the hampers. Then when it’s laundry day I can either pull the wagon to the laundry mat or to my vehicle where I can roll the fullest hamper or two into my trunk.
Are their parts of my house that are neglected? Sure, but my kids are bathed, clothed, fed (wholesome foods) & loved! If my TV stand has an inch of dust then the world isn’t going to end tomorrow! Lol 🙂 Good Luck from one anonymous slob to another 🙂
Dana White says
Love this! Making it work for YOU is the only thing that matters!
Becky Ussery says
We are a family of 5. Our dishwasher has been broken now for about 4 years. I think about how nice it would be to have a working dishwasher and having everyone responsible for putting their dishes in the dishwasher when they finish eating.
Then, I realized that we could do the same even though we don’t have a dishwasher. I have learned that if I wash dishes while I cook (bows that I have mixed something in, plates that I used for cutting items, etc) that it is much easier to clean the kitchen after we finish our meal. Right before we eat, I run a fresh sink full of hot soapy water. Then, as everyone finishes their meal, they wash their own plate and silverware and cup. Then put it on the drying towel. This has helped a ton! I am still hoping that we can get a new dishwasher though 🙂
Thanks for the butt kick I needed today to “just do it”!
While we lived in overseas, we didn’t have a dishwasher. Here are some of the perks of the dishwasher-less life:
1. The dishes were done after every meal. The insect problem was a real motivation. It felt good to have clean dishes 3 times a day.
2. We owned fewer dishes. We had just enough dishes for us and a few guests. We had 7 family members at the time. 8 cereal bowls, 6 kid plates, 6 adult plates, 8 kid cups, 6 adult cups, etc.
3. The kids could help with dishes because it was a small chore.
Now that we are in the states, we have a dishwasher. The perks:
1. I’m not washing dishes.
1. We need more dishes. I run the dishwasher twice a day (big family). I need enough bowls, plates, cups, and silverware to last 2 meals. It’s sort of annoying to have so many dishes.
2. The kids do not like to unload the dishwasher. It’s just SO many dishes. Of course, they still do it (just not willingly).
I woke up to a dirty sink with dishes in it today. I had this strange new sensation of a sink full of dirty dishes actually irking me. I wondered why I didn’t get them done yesterday…turns out hubby working from home 2 days a week has my routine out of whack and I need to refactor everything. Or maybe that’s just an excuse. I still resist doing them even though I know what an impact having them done makes. You taught me that.
Brittani A. says
I always listen to you while doing dishes. Sometimes you talk about dishes, sometimes about packing for a trip. Timing was perfect for our spring break prep!
Brittani A. says
Okay, vacation is over 🙁
While in Gatlinburg, our cabin had a wonderful machine in the kitchen. We used it. It was wonderful. The kids never once complained about doing the dishes.
I must have one!
Now to convince my husband that it’s smart to destroy over a quarter of our kitchen cabinets to get one. (We have a TINY kitchen.)
LOL after reading your post, I just got up and unloaded the dishwasher – now it is ready for the day ahead! 🙂 PS – it took all of 4 minutes!
I found your blog tonight because I need a kick in the pants to keep my house clean, and I had to comment on this post. I bought a countertop dishwasher a month ago, and it’s still sitting in my living room. Why? Because I can’t get my butt in the kitchen to clean and declutter the only spot where it can go! Lol. Your style really speaks to me, I just bought your ebook set, so I’m gonna start some laundry and start reading!
I’m dishwasher less, just moved and can’t find the dish drainer! Ack. But this too will pass.
I dreaded for a whole year the point at which I would no longer be able to keep my son from the sink because he could drag his own chair over when I wash dishes, but it’s turned out to be a blessing for a few reasons:
a) I can’t let the sink get so full he can’t help.
b) He asks EVERY SINGLE MORNING to wash the dishes. If it gets too late and I haven’t started he starts saying “Mama, wash! Wash with water!” in his adorable toddler way.
Now I know I’ve got to get better at remembering MYSELF because he won’t be such a good helper forever, and it’s been so nice to have clean dishes all the time lately.
It does not matter if you have a dishwasher or not. It takes X to load the dishwasher for one day and so on. If you don’t do the work, (put the dishes in the dishwasher everyday) the next day, day 2, your still looking at 4X!
I didn’t have a dishwasher for many years and I am way to absentminded to hide my dirty dishes in the oven like my sister-in-law did. I kept a bin under the sink for the rinsed dishes to wait until they got washed. Even with a dishwasher for many years now…we still have a bin under the sink for those items that don’t get washed in t
Weird the computer reset before I finished my post.
Anyway my point was it helps to have a place (not the counter) for dirty dishes.
Love your posts, Nony. Your book, no joke, helped me understand the importance of keeping a decent house and to ser that it was attainable. It is still not up to my mother’s (& mothers-in-law) standards. However, thanks to your logical explanations and your ability to speak to me in my language, the dishes get done & I’m not so terribly embarrassed when people come over unannounced. Thank you for that. I appreciate that you have taken the time to help your fellow slobs. 🙂
Patti Page White says
Great article. I don’t have a dishwasher, by choice. However, it’s only my husband and myself and we’re retired so we don’t have as many dirty dishes as a family with children does. I’m old enough to remember the days before dishwashers, actually my sister and I WERE the dishwasher/s. It would take me as much time to rinse, load the dishwasher, remove and put away the dishes as it does for me to just wash them in the sink. This is just my personal preference. There are times I miss the dishwasher, especially after family gatherings when the dishes are piled to the ceiling. My thoughts also run along this line, what you’ve said about staying ahead of the dishwashing applies to every room and every chore in the house. The longer you wait, the longer it takes, except maybe the chore of making the bed, which I choose to do first so my room looks cleaner to me. Thanks for a great little article! Now if I could just keep that laundry folded and put away. That’s my slob area.
Mary Ann says
I must be either weird or OCD because I’ve been keeping a clean kitchen for 42 years ! My mother-in-law has actually complimented me for it. My husband grew up in an immaculate home (with 5 brothers and sisters ) and I wanted to impress my mother-in-law with my housekeeping skills as a newlywed . I grew up in a household with a spotless kitchen . My mother was a slob about everything else , but she was a fanatic about a clean kitchen . All those years ago , there was no such thing as a dishwasher . When my children were babies , we boiled bottles to sterilize them. Before the sterilization process , the bottles were scrubbed with a bottle brush . That’s what the Dr. Spock book said new mom’s were supposed to do. Nothing was disbosable!! Dishes were done every night after dinner . When you get into the routine of doing unpleasant chores – dishes , laundry , dusting , etc – it becomes routine and it doesn’t seem so bad . Routine is everything . It makes life easier . And . ..it’s really nice to wake up with a clean kitchen ! By the way , did I mention I had a full time job as well ? But , I did have a wonderful husband who helped me A LOT ! !!!
I’ve been reading your blog for a bit now (backwards) and have listened to all your podcasts. I’ve only been able to make dishes my one non-negotiable because I have too many excuses to add another (yet). In any case, after doing the dishes nearly everyday for about 3 weeks, my philosophy of only a few items left in the sink ahs gone from “why bother?” to “why not!” Thanks Nony!
so true! I was thinking this. I miss paper plates. dishes are endless. no dishwasher. but the same things are true. I have to put away the dishes from the draining board etc so I can wash the next batch. I was also wishing that I would have a washing machine instead of needing the Laundromat. but if I had a machine I would still have to be on top of the laundry situation.
I actually miss the laundromat days from when our machines broke down. I had undivided time to just focus on the task while listening to podcasts and reading time/crochet time while waiting for machines. I then actually enjoyed the sheer easy of having a designated folding zone and the Tetris of fitting a family of fives one week worth of laundry into two hampers.
Now that I have my own laundry room that I dreamed of for years, it looks like a bomb went off and you can’t walk in there without stepping on laundry. Why? Because you can close the door (although now it’s spilled out into the front room… ) because I have kids who will pull out what they need and go while the rest tips to the floor, etc etc. Once it gets to that overwhelming state my brain just gives up on it as a collective mess. Heck.
I have a dishwasher that never gets the dishes as clesan as I’d like & it can’t be fixed (I’ve tried) or replaced… So, I’ve gotten into handwashing the dishes in the morning & evening. Now I use the dishwasher for storage!! I put the big pots & the crock pot in it. It’s so much easier to get to them & then put away after I use them. And, there are fewer things out on the counters or stovetop, waiting to be put in lower cabinets. I have back problems & bending is sometimes painful so this works for me! I love the less cluttered look if my kitchen now. 🙂
Catherine Sultana says
I agree it is the routine. And gawd, how I resist routine! Life long issue.
I also think we need 2 dishwashers, to use as storage for those clean things normally removed to a cupboard prior to use.
That said, until I get any dishwashers/dish storage machines, I have a new method for hand washing. I put the washing up dishpan on the counter next to the sink and have my racks, yep 2 sinks, so 2 racks, IN THE SINKS. No more Topple Over anxiety. And I get to maximize my racks. I do rinse all dirty dishes after they are made so I don’t have food encrusted silverware/dishes/pots hanging around. This method is easier with a hand sprayer next to my faucet for ease of rinsing the soap off. I also use multiple dishpans to sort of bundle up my loads so when I have time, I just go wash a panful at a time. I find I have enough energy to either prep and cook OR clean-up and put all clean dishes and tools away. So when I cook, it’s for multiple days’ meals and when I wash dishes, it is unfortunately for multiple meals. To reduce the volume I have reduced our cups and dishes in the cupboard so I won’t have 12 place settings accumulated to clean…Thanks Nony for putting this back in the front of my mind…will work harder to get that bubble of joy, I promise!
My partner is an old country boy who wants EVERYthing fried. What a mess it makes! I don’t know where to dispose of the grease so pots & pans pile up with grease in them [and the stove] all over the kitchen till i nearly lose my mind! I don’t mind washing any other kind of dish [although silverware is annoying] but i despise greasy pots and pans. I either wash by hand or in the dishwasher everything except the greasy stuff which has to be washed by hand – ugg! If not for the saving grace of rubber gloves i’m afraid my partner just might would have to starve LOL.
I think about this all the time. I technically have a dishwasher, but it is one of those non-permanent jobs that you have to move close to the sink, hook up, plug in and then wait 5 years for it to work its muddled magic. It also sounds like a 747 landing in your house, so I do not want to EVER run it at night. For this reason, my dishwasher is actually a dish dryer. It is a handy place to put newly cleaned dishes so that there is room on the counter for other types of clutter. Like dirty dishes…
Lately, I have been trying to be good about doing dishes and “loading” the dishwasher every night. Then, we unload it in the morning, so it is ready for the next day’s dishes. This process really helps. Even though my husband and I don’t have kids, there are 10,000 other things that keep us busy and like you, we would rather do almost anything than clean the kitchen! We are trying, though. And we both are very grateful to read about someone else who has the same cleaning aversion/ADD that we tend to have!
Holly Barlow says
Thanks, Noni! I needed to read this today, as I was “too tired” to unload the dishwasher. I got to the section of this post that said “Putting dishes away is as important as washing them”, I literally stopped everything, got up and unloaded that dishwasher. Thanks!
Oh, boy… I really needed to read this one. I HATE cleaning my kitchen! I’d rather clean the bathroom — seriously! I *do* have a dishwasher (thank you, Jesus!), but yeah– everything else piles & piles until I can’t stand it any more.
Though, I *have* recently learned the run-the-dishwasher-every-night trick, and yes, it’s revolutionary! Still working on the rest of it, though (the stuff you can’t put in the dishwasher)… So, thanks for this post! (and thanks to iHeartPlanners for sharing the link on FB, where I found it!) 😀
Oh, and PS… the whole “non-negotiable” / take away the decision tip … that’s gonna be the one that does it for me, I think. Because I’m soooo prone to finding excuses. 😉
We recently renegotiated chores around our house, and decided one person will wash at night and the other will put away in the morning. Serves the same function as your routine. I abhor drying dishes (why do so when they can dry while we are doing something else? And it’s nearly impossible to get all the little various crevices in lids and such bone dry with a towel- which makes me squeamish about mold and other invisible buggies…) so We never did more than one “load” at a time… dish math meant I hardly ever had clear counters and it drove me nuts! Now when I am doing good, I can quickly wash up a couple dishes each time I was my hands and usually have a head start on the day’s pile.
Main thing I’ll say about this: When I lived in an apartment with a dishwasher, it was never clean. I hated loading the dishwasher. I hated emptying it. It seemed like a huge task.
We moved into a house without a dishwasher. For four years, I let the dishes pile up before handwashing them. What a pain in the rear. After reading your blog, I started working really hard to do them after every meal. I started getting irritated when people would say they made a New Year’s Resolution to never go to bed with dirty dishes out and then groan after a party because they had to put all those dishes in the dishwasher and start it. Meanwhile, we had to spend a half hour to an hour getting our dishes taken care of.
We bought a dishwasher this year on Black Friday. If I didn’t have the habits I’ve built from reading this blog, I’d probably be one of those people groaning about having to put dishes into the dishwasher. But I’m not. I’m the person going, “OMG It’s so easy to clean up after a meal. Just put everything in!” We have a great routine. I get home from work at 9PM, put my water bottle in the dishwasher, and start it. Hubby empties it before going to work in the morning. It’s seriously the best thing ever and our kitchen stays cleaner. But I know part of that is because I learned the habit from here.
I about died when you told us you have a podcast about this and we should listen to it while we do our dishes. That was like the last turn of the screw, the last nail in the coffin. OUCH. lol
When I was growing up we girls washed dishes directly after supper-didn’t even think it was an option to do otherwise.
When I was first married, my mom and my husband told me I cleaned TOO much. (I had no children to make messes, but I had a routine!)
A year later, I remember my husband telling me to not wash dishes directly after supper because he wanted to just relax. So I got out of the habit.
That conversation sticks in MY mind.
It’s a shame that I got out of the one good routine I had as a child, because with a large family dishes get out of control IMMEDIATELY.
Also, I’m the type of person that likes cleaning up when OTHER people are ALSO cleaning up. If I’m the only one, I tend to feel enslaved and angry. It’s unreasonable, but that’s the truth. Something I’ve had to work on, get over, and grow up about.
I’ve always had kids assigned to the job of dishes, so it’s not always on me.
Now I tend to look at ‘dish-washing time’ as ME time. You’re sure to be left alone because everyone skedaddles… knowing that if I hear them breathing, I’ll give them something to do. lol I often think having a dvd player in the kitchen would make my life so cool. I can clean while watching my favorite movie…no problem!
As to dish washers…EXACTLY. As a young girl we used to beg our parents to buy a ‘new fangled’ dish washer. My dad always said, “I don’t need one, I’ve got five already!” hmph. lol
(He bought one after we had all grown up and left the nest, then took pride and bragged about it when he ‘did his dishes’. ) Gotta love him.
But as an adult I see zero need of a dishwasher. I tell my husband, who also grew up without one, that if we don’t have the discipline to WASH them by hand, we won’t have the discipline to load and empty the dish washer. So why hog up the space in the kitchen and spend the money.
When we designed the kitchen in our ‘new’ old house, even though the kitchen is like 15 x 18 sq feet, I refused the chance for a dishwasher. The headache of another mechanical thing is something I wish to avoid with all my strength.
I’m sticking to the viewpoint that the only good thing about dishwashers is that you can clear off the counters….but you can also do that by WASHING them and PUTTING THEM AWAY! I like to just keep it simple.
Love putting music on while cleaning the kitchen, especially my favorite nostalgic songs from my teens.
I had a dishwasher when I was married with children, and the dishes piled up anyway, because I simply procrastinated until doing the dishes became an all-morning chore! Now that I am a single empty-nester (i.e. I live alone) I still have a dishwasher, but I never use it to wash dishes. A few years ago I realized I had way too many dishes and pots and pans. I rarely if ever entertain guests. So I purged. I donated so many dishes and cookware to Goodwill! Now everything I use in the kitchen fits in the dishwasher, so it all stays there! Washing one day’s worth of dishes and cookware by hand takes me about 5 minutes, and it goes straight into the dishwasher to dry. This freed up all my cabinets for food storage (my house has a ridiculously small pantry!) Like Dana says – it’s about the routine! Now if I could only figure out the rest of the house! (Working on it!)
Thanks for resharing this post Dana. I’m still struggling with ’just doing the dishes’ even after following your podcast for a while and enjoying and getting loads of value from both your books. It is the most fundamental and important of routines, including the putting away (now I’m preaching to myself). I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself now because I just had a lightbulb moment: dishes math holds true whatever the size of the household. But when the household is bigger to begin with it kicks in at the MEAL level not the DAY level. We have 7 children. So doing dishes once a day for 9 people (something I still struggle with) means I’m suffering from dishes math by the evening. No wonder I don’t feel like it after the children are in bed. Now to face the inevitable: I need to do dishes after every. Single. Meal. Groannnnnnn
I have loved your site ever since the first time I read it. You are amazing and you are the only person that my daughter has ever listened to about her messy house. I have tried for years to give her suggestions about how she can make her house clean and stay clean. Please give suggestions on what takes the oder out of cat pee on carpet and closet doors. I have tried EVERYTHING but nothing has worked. Thank you and keep on helping us decluttering.
Are there any suggestions on an dish drainer that fits many dishes? I’ve noticed that part of my problem is I only end up washing as many dishes as will fit in the rack. Sometimes there are more dishes than will fit and I should be doing a few loads. However with needing to stop and start to do multiple loads, I hit a wall and can’t seem to do more. Any suggestions on what I can do to get them all done in one shot?
When I have too many dishes for the dish drainer, I first wash the ones I least mind drying – dinner plates and dessert plates – and dry them with a tea towel; then do the rest and leave them to dry. I also use a large yogurt container to stand my cutlery in so it can dry.
Dr Sarah says
I have to give a shout-out, here, to my all-time favourite guest post on here, ‘A Tale Of Two Weekends’, which perfectly illustrates the difference that can be made by the decision to take 15 minutes one night and just over 5 minutes the next morning to get the dishes done: https://www.aslobcomesclean.com/2012/03/a-tale-of-two-weekends/.
Julee Smucker says
Just discovered you about 3-4 months ago, and I will say, I LOVE YOU! I’ve listened so far to podcasts 206-231 so far. Note, these were recorded just before Corona started so I can’t wait to get around to what happens in the next few months that I’ll be listening to. However, I think I need to jump ahead to your more current podcasts. I love listening to your podcasts while I do wash my dishes because it ‘keeps me honest’. I do not have a dishwasher yet, and I do get frustrated sometimes about dishes only take 15 minutes. However, what I have done, is that I start washing dishes while I am cooking dinner by starting a dishpan of hot water then washing as much as I can as I go as well as other dishes that may have made it onto the counter.
You inspire me because you push me to do stuff. I also have AD/HD – Inattentive Type (ADD) and I can completely relate to your brain as well. Thank you.
How do I join Slobs Anonymous? I think a support group like that would be awesome!
Dana White says
The closest we have is our patreon community! Patreon.com/aslobcomesclean
I have been trying to declutter for 30 years I’ve done some big cleanups and garage sales, but when i walk into my house after, there has been no difference. I read one of your books about 6 months ago. Then read the 2nd one 2 months ago. I am finally seeing a difference in my house. I am making a weekly run to drop off at the thrift store. I quit shopping. But the biggest difference…i do my dishes every single day. I can’t believe the difference. My husband has even finished them up and starts the dishwasher a couple of times a week. This never happened before. He started going through his stuff. it’s been kind of amazing! My daughter and her boyfriend cleaned up the kitchen after making dessert last night. I started listening to your podcasts everyday. Only up to #50. But I’m finally doing something instead of wishing the house looked better. Oh..i finally took that spook rest out of my Amazon cart that’s been there for 3 years! Thank you so much!
Since living on my own I’ve decluttered my dinner plates to 5, this is incase both my adult children come over with their partners. This also means I can’t go for too long without running the dishwasher. Because I have a number of medical issues that sometimes make it impossible for me to clean I know I get some good days or at least good moments when I’m able to get this amount done. Although when I’m really I’ll which happens a lot there’s no dishes as I’ve not been able to cook!
I use a method similar to the “bachelor” method, which consists of NEVER emptying the DW, but always putting dirty dishes there, and running it every day, clean and dirty together. My method differs in that my dishwasher has not worked in a decade or more. Since I live alone, daily hand-washing is a breeze, as Nony points out. So I pared down my dishes so EVERYTHING fits in the DW and I keep them there, eliminating the need to unload, and allowing just-washed dishes to dry by keeping the door slightly ajar. It also gives me more cabinet space for other things that might otherwise get left on the counter.
Dishes math is so true and the dried on food that has to be scrubbed and soaked off is a pain. The smell on day two and three is awful too like old trash because it is old trash on the plates.
Cindy Wilkinson says
Thanks, Dana — I’m going thru a mountain of photographs covering multiple generations of extended family. I am overwhelmed.
Oh, how I needed this today! I just sat down to my computer and was going to get some inspiration to get back on track decluttering and cleaning, and this blog popped into my email. “it’s not about the dishwasher, it’s about the routine” – oh my gosh this nails it. Just like WW – people complain “WW does not work” – just because you sign up for a membership does not mean we lose weight – you gotta work the program. Thanks “Nony”
Could not agree more! My kitchen has a dishwasher that sat broken for almost 14 months. I figured I could easily wash dishes. And I did. But we cook a lot and I was doing dishes 2-4 times per day and I let almost everything air dry, so it never looked clean unless we had people coming over and I took the time to dry and put away everything. We got a new dishwasher 3 days ago and I am amazed at how clean it looks and how easy it is to wash one or two things and put them away. (Over 400 days of dish drain jenga was wearing on me!)