Let’s face it…most of us probably do not enjoy doing dishes. If you’re anything like me, a lot of times you may let it get out of hand before you even attempt to tackle it. I have been working on making an effort to keep the dishes in our house under control. It feels like if I let the dishes get out of hand…the rest of the house seems to come tumbling down with them.
For some people, cleaning comes naturally to them like breathing. For me, it tends to be one of those things “I’ll get to” once I’m finished working. I work from home and tend to be a workaholic, so as you can imagine, I have to make time for it because ultimately, the work never seems to be done. I have put together a list of things that have helped me keep up on dishes and get through large stacks of dishes with efficiency.
1. Run the Dishwasher at least Once a Day
I think this has been the biggest thing that has helped me. I’m in the kitchen several times a day making meals. Usually, lunch and dinner tend to be times where there is idle time. Being the workaholic that I am, I would tend to take the 20-30 minutes while our dinner is cooking to work. Instead, I have learned to take this time as a break from work. This has significantly helped keep our kitchen clean and our dishes under control. Usually, I will turn on the TV and find a movie I have seen several times (Twister anyone?) and listen to it while I unload the dishwasher and wash the dishes. I will also run the dishwasher if it is at least 75% full, which helps me tremendously in keeping up.
2. Do Not Pre-wash Dishes
I know what you are probably thinking…Gross! This one was a very hard habit for me to break. Even now, I occasionally find myself scrubbing pots more than I really need to. The thing is, modern dishwashers are amazing! They are meant to get all of that dried on spaghetti sauce and oatmeal off of your dishes and they do a great job at it! Very rarely do I have to re-rinse something and over time, you will get an idea of which items your dishwasher has issues with. For example, our dishwasher has trouble with silverware. Our silverware caddy is located on the door of our dishwasher and because of that, I think that it does not get direct water pressure like the rest of our dishwasher. Our silverware is the only item I pre-wash. Even though it may be a hard habit to break, I highly suggest trying it. Not only does this on step save you a lot of time, it saves you a lot of money on your water bill.
3. Soak your Dishes
If you do not have a dishwasher or a very old dishwasher, soak your dishes in hot soapy water. This also saves time and money on water. For soaking our silverware, I usually just use an old Talenti Gelato tub because they are made of very thick plastic and can go in the dishwasher.
4. Get Rid of Dishes
Consider going through your dishes and getting rid of things you really do not need. Not only will this help reduce kitchen clutter, it will leave a lot fewer dishes for you to dirty. I know in our kitchen, we have way more cups than we need. Plus, I have about 4 different cookie sheets and I know I really do not need all of them. By getting rid of a few things, it will force you to do dishes for items you really need to use, instead of pulling out another cookie sheet for you to dirty and wash later. If you’re afraid to get rid of something because you might need it again later, consider putting it in a box and keeping it somewhere not easily accessible. If a few months go by and you do not desperately need it, get rid of it!
5. Backed up on Dishes?
When I am backed up on dishes, these 2 tips really help me out:
Put Dishes in the Dishwasher you do not use Often
I know this may seem a little odd, but trust me it helps! If I have a crap ton of dishes to wash, I make sure to put things such as my crockpot or my colander in the dishwasher first. Why? If I fill my dishwasher with the things I use often, such as plates and cups, somehow they are right back in the sink ready to be washed again by the time I go to do a second load of dishes. If I wash stuff I do not use on a daily basis, it gets put away and frees up space for dishes we use daily. Plus, this way, if I really need a cup from the sink, it forces me to hand wash it.
Leave Dishes that are Easy to Hand Wash
If you cannot fit everything into the dishwasher, try and leave things in the sink that are very easy to hand wash. For me, this is usually plates and bowls. This way, if you need an item, you’re not spending a ton of time washing it. The last thing you want to do is try and spend 15 minutes scrubbing a pot with food stuck all over it so you can make dinner.
Keeping up on the dishes has always been a bit of a struggle for me, but by implementing these tips, it has made my daily life so much easier. I have found that I do not dread walking into the kitchen as much as I used to because there is rarely a giant stack of dishes waiting for me.