If the dishes always seem to pile up, overwhelm you and never end – read on! While the dishes will never end, this post will end AND give you some quick tips on how to keep that kitchen sink empty and simplify doing the dishes!
It’s uncanny how many dishes a family makes a day. Seriously, ONE DAY makes SO. MANY. DISHES. I’m convinced they multiply.
Dishes are basically bunnies. You start with 2, because there are always at least two dishes dirty at any time. Even if you JUST did the dishes. Then they just multiply over and over and over again until there are so many bunnies… you bust out the paper plates.
I’ve been there, I know.
At one point in my life, I lived in an apartment that didn’t have a dishwasher (and while this is no excuse, it does make it harder) and my husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, would come over and spend an hour cleaning my dishes. One person’s dishes… a solid hour.
For the record, I did not ask for help and told him MANY times I was going to get to it, but he was nice and would do it for me anyway. Guess that’s why I married him.
So, how do we keep an empty (ish) kitchen sink?
Three tips, here we go!
- Rinse Immediately
- Run the dishwasher every night
- Simplify how many dishes you have
Let’s dive into my friends –
1. Rinse Immediately
This first tip of rinsing dishes immediately is. a. game. CHANGER. By rinsing off, I mean all food is off the dish. Use a brush, use soap, use what you gotta use, but all food off the dish. In my house, one side is always clear to rinse the plate then we put it on the other side until we’re ready to load the dishwasher.
I know it sounds silly especially to those of you who are thinking, “Who wouldn’t rinse their dish off right away?”
Lots…. lots of people don’t. I didn’t. I just put that ice cream bowl in the sink and told myself I’d get to it “later.” After dinner, we would put all the dishes in the sink then go watch a movie because we were going to do them… later. Right. Makes sense.
When it comes to this tip, I have found it helps me so much, I’ve almost become a little obsessive about it!. I’m not particular about… anything, except this. If my husband puts a dish in the sink without rinsing it, I have to fight down a little mania and stop all the imaginary conversations that begin to happen in my mind.
By manic, I mean at the dinner table I’m scooping up plates while the last bite is taken because if that food dries, it is SO MUCH harder to clean.
Now, if you have a fancy dishwasher that actually takes all food and grime off dishes, this tip may not be as helpful as it is to some. But there are still two more!
2. Run the dishwasher every single night
Remember those bunnies we were talking about earlier? Sometimes there are only a couple little bunnies in the sink so you think, oh it’ll be fiiiineeee. I’ll just do them tomorrow when there are enough dishes to make running the dishwasher worth it.
Then, while you sleep, BAM – you wake up to a ¾ load and the breakfast dishes can’t even fit. It’s honestly an unnatural phenomenon. Truly awe striking.
If for some reason, all the dishes you made do not fill up the dishwasher, find some that haven’t been washed in awhile and could use it. Dishes in the hutch, vases on top of the cabinets and utensil bins are always great places to start.
Doing the dishes is FAST when you follow rule number 1. In fact, I just timed myself doing my dishes, and resetting, and wiping down the counters AND WIPING DOWN THE TABLE and the grand total time was under 15 minutes! That time also includes hand washing dishes.
The rule in my house is, we do not buy dishes that cannot go into the dishwasher – just so you know. However, there are some that I feel always need to be hand washed like pots and pans, but if that’s not how it works in your family, that’s perfect! We also have 1 Buzz Lightyear plate that was given to my two year old because she was obsessed. Lemme tell you, if I have to simplify my daughter’s dishes soon – guess which one goes first?
Get the dishes to ground zero – all done and put away. The next day, time yourself doing them. That way when you think about skipping the dishes, you can tell yourself how long it will ACTUALLY take. 5 minutes? 10 minutes? Guaranteed (I can’t really but it shouldn’t be – or maybe you have 18 kids and your last name starts with a D!) less than 15 if you follow these two steps.
Step 3: Simplify your dishes
If you haven’t read my Simplicity, Not Minimalism, post, please do! It will really help you understand why having less is best. But you also can own more than a toothpick to feel amazing and be able to manage it easily.
Okay, now you don’t need to have one plate, one cup, one fork per person to keep it simple – but you also don’t need 4 different plate sets. If you have four different place sets, with service for 8 people, you have…. Wow, why is it taking me so long to figure this out? … 32! Guys, that seriously took me too long. If you have 32 plates, I can bet you’ve washed 32 plates when you finally decided it was time.
AND the only reason you decided it was time, was because you didn’t have plates! Not because you had 32 dirty ones in the sink. It truly is sad how our brains work, but my mom told me we’re special in other ways and organization just isn’t one of our gifts. So there’s that.
If you only have 1 set or maybe 2, the most plates you will ever have to clean is 16! 16 plates generally fit in the bottom of a dishwasher. Hopefully though, you don’t even get to the point where all 16 plates are dirty because you’re doing your dishes every night! Yay!
Friends, keeping the kitchen clean is hard especially when it gets dirty so quickly, but follow these tips and it will help so, so much.
Try it for 3 weeks.
Three weeks because a month is too long and 2 weeks is too short. Not sure why, but that’s what my brain says.
Do ALL your dishes tonight.
Do only the dishes you use tomorrow, tomorrow!
Sharing Some Inspiration
Dana K. White at aslobcomesclean.com really, really helped me with this topic and I love her “Dishes Math.” Check out her blog here! Her tips (once of which is doing the dishes every night) helped me simplify doing the dishes immensely.
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