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Dishes -- what are we doing wrong???

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
We have a major dishes problem -- the sink and surrounding counter are virtually always full!!! I'm not sure what we're doing wrong, I don't understand how we just have this huge & constant pile of dirty dishes. I won't even invite people over because of it. Some days I ask DH to cook because all the pots are dirty and it's too overwhelming to me to have to clean everything before starting to cook.

I clean as I go along, but DH doesn't, which is fine I suppose, he's the one that does the dishes anyway. He does the dishes almost every night (otherwise it gets put off 'til the next morning or later in the day). We have a dishwasher. I feel like there is something we're missing because I've never seen anyone else have a huge pile of dishes, no matter how messy someone claims their home is or how unexpectedly we drop by! We only have 3 people living here and we don't have a crazy amount of plates and pots or anything.
post #2 of 33

We had a constant pile until I began a habit of doing them right away.  We also have two big pots, one little pot, one small pan and a big grill pan.  And not too many bowls.  And no plates.  But I do the dishes as we go and now it takes me about 2-5 minutes every couple of hours.  After dinner we all do the dishes from dinner.  This is my mom's system and it always seemed like a lot of work but it's actually easier.  When the food isn't dried on, all it takes is a quick swipe with a soapy brush.  Oh but we have a dishrack, not a washer, so we can actually do a little at a time instead of having to wait until the washer is full.

 

An alternative approach I have used in the past is to have a large tupperware thing with a cover to shove the dishes into when company comes over and I don't have time to do the dishes.  THen stick it in a closet, or in the bathtub and pull the curtain. Works like a charm, if you want to have people over.  :)

 

edit: and you know, the reality is that with children... if you want the house to be presentable all the time, you end up cleaning constantly.  Even the neatest people I know occasionally have a sink full of dishes.  I really doubt that anyone would be judging you.... unless these are the kind of people who are horrible judgey people?  IDK< maybe it's because I'm naturally slovenly, but I totally am like, "Oh good" when I go to someone's house and see they are messy too.... :)


Edited by cyclamen - 11/17/11 at 12:19pm
post #3 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclamen View Post

But I do the dishes as we go and now it takes me about 2-5 minutes every couple of hours. 
Yeah, I wish I could get DH to clean up as he goes along, and after each meal (I can't always do it) Hmm maybe part of the problem is the dishwasher is always full so we can't just put dishes in it throughout the day.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclamen View Post

An alternative approach I have used in the past is to have a large tupperware thing with a cover to shove the dishes into when company comes over and I don't have time to do the dishes.  THen stick it in a closet, or in the bathtub and pull the curtain. Works like a charm, if you want to have people over.  smile.gif
That's what our oven is for wink1.gif but sadly there is often too much even to shove into the oven.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclamen View Post

edit: and you know, the reality is that with children... if you want the house to be presentable all the time, you end up cleaning constantly.  Even the neatest people I know occasionally have a sink full of dishes.  I really doubt that anyone would be judging you.... unless these are the kind of people who are horrible judgey people?  IDK< maybe it's because I'm naturally slovenly, but I totally am like, "Oh good" when I go to someone's house and see they are messy too.... smile.gif
Well I totally don't mind if the house isn't *perfect* (and... um... I don't think we're at risk of being remotely perfect LOL) but I think it is really gross to have the whole kitchen off-limits and food remains stuck on dishes. I wouldn't care if it was a small pile of dishes in the sink but when it gets bad, I couldn't even make my guests a cup of tea because it's hard to get to the sink and the stove has dirty pans on it!! I guess I feel like 3 things matter when we have visitors: clean bathroom, vacuumed rug (or at least no food crumbs or toenail clippings on it!!), and useable kitchen. We're getting better with the first two at least. smile.gif
post #4 of 33

I try to cook very simple meals--fewer pots, bowls, serving dishes and utensils.  I wash pots right after we are done with them, even if it was my husband that dirtied them, when it is easiest.  I encourage re-use of glasses, usually we can tell which is whose because they don't all match.  A plate that only had cookies on it can be used again that day before washing.  We do still accumulate a moderately high pile of dishes every day. 

post #5 of 33

You said you have a dishwasher...so I am a bit confused...you mean you don't use it? (as you said your husband washes the dishes)

 

We have a dishwasher so the plates can't pile up because they are put straight into the dishwasher...and I just wash up the pots and pans.

post #6 of 33
Thread Starter 
Well we do use the dishwasher but my DH is the one who rinses everything & loads the dishes in & hand-washes the big items. So I guess we somehow have to keep the dishwasher empty so everything can go straight in, huh?
post #7 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vaske View Post

I try to cook very simple meals--fewer pots, bowls, serving dishes and utensils.  I wash pots right after we are done with them, even if it was my husband that dirtied them, when it is easiest.  I encourage re-use of glasses, usually we can tell which is whose because they don't all match.  A plate that only had cookies on it can be used again that day before washing.  We do still accumulate a moderately high pile of dishes every day. 
We do reuse plates and glasses. I don't understand how 3 people can create so many dishes!! lol
Quote:
Originally Posted by clutterwarrior View Post

You said you have a dishwasher...so I am a bit confused...you mean you don't use it? (as you said your husband washes the dishes)

We have a dishwasher so the plates can't pile up because they are put straight into the dishwasher...and I just wash up the pots and pans.

Well we do use the dishwasher but my DH is the one who rinses everything & loads the dishes in & hand-washes the big items. So I guess we somehow have to keep the dishwasher empty so everything can go straight in, huh? How do you manage that? What's your routine?
post #8 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

So I guess we somehow have to keep the dishwasher empty so everything can go straight in, huh? How do you manage that? What's your routine?

It sounds like this is your main issue.  I'm in charge of clean-up, loading the dishwasher, unloading, etc.  I've found that it's easiest to run it as we all go to bed and then it's just the habit to unload as the kids are having breakfast.  Because I'm the main loader/unloader I know exactly where to put everything so I can unload efficiently under 5 minutes.  I also know which dishes to use for which job because they're the easiest to load/unload.  For example, we have some great bowls for cereal, but they take up more room on the top rack so if the bottom rack is already full I use a different dish.  Or I'll go for the correlle for dinner because I can grab five plates out of the dishwasher in one handful.

 

We are currently a family of four and run our dishwasher every 3-4 days.  Sometimes more often if there has been an abundance of cooking.  All pots/pans/etc get hand washed right away.  As in, I'm washing the big stuff as other stuff is still cooking - if I'm done with that particular item there's no need for it to sit out.
 

 


Edited by AfricanQueen99 - 11/17/11 at 4:20pm
post #9 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post


We do reuse plates and glasses. I don't understand how 3 people can create so many dishes!! lol
Well we do use the dishwasher but my DH is the one who rinses everything & loads the dishes in & hand-washes the big items. So I guess we somehow have to keep the dishwasher empty so everything can go straight in, huh? How do you manage that? What's your routine?


We empty the dishwasher first thing in the morning upon rising, it's the first thing we do even before making coffee.

 

That way it is empty for the kids to put their plates and glasses in during the day....I've found it necessary to train the kids to put their plates in so they don't pile up at the sink.

 

The plates should not really need to be rinsed first as that is a double use of water, and the dishwashers these days clean really well without rinsing first...so that could save you some work. winky.gif

 

post #10 of 33
Thread Starter 
OK we're gonna try that, emptying it first thing in the morning, we'll see if it helps!

I don't know why DH rinses the dishes first, it's hard to get answers out of him.
post #11 of 33

This thread has some great tips for generating less cooking mess, both the OP and post #29:

 

http://www.mothering.com/community/t/783142/great-ideas-on-keeping-a-kitchen-tidy

post #12 of 33
My dh is in charge of dishes too, and this is the exact same story here. Makes me crazy. I debate taking over. His problem is that today he did the dishes, but they didn't all fit, so he left them there, and he doesn't do them every day. Makes me CRAZY, but I do everything else. I would love to train myself to do them as I go and leave him out of it totally. But I am decluttering, painting, chasing after a 2 year-old and helping a 7 yo with homework and driving her for one activity to the next. Sigh. I hate dishes. If it were good for the earth, I'd just use disposables every day. But it's not. So instead, I nag my husband and grumble.
post #13 of 33

here's my suggestion: quit relying on DH to "do the dishes." don't set them down around the sink!!!!! 

 

yes, as others have suggested, empty the dishwasher first thing in the morning. first thing. make it YOUR job. then you know it will get done, and you don't have to nag.

 

this means, of course, that you run the dishwasher last thing before going to bed. again, make it your job and you won't have this problem.

 

furthermore, why are you giving this "job" to your husband to load the dishwasher? it's make-work. let him do something more productive. dishes should go from use DIRECTLY into the dishwasher. do not set them down on the counter unless they are flaming hot straight out of the oven. when you finish with a dish, it goes straight into the dishwasher. if you must involve your husband, get him to start putting HIS dishes straight into the dishwasher. moreover, get your kids to start putting their dishes straight into the dishwasher. load it constantly, all day.

 

run it as needed. seriously, (IMHO), it is worth it to run it even if it is not completely loaded if, for example, you are heading into dinner time and you already have a 3/4 load in the dishwasher, and you anticipate having more dishes coming than can reasonably fit in the already almost-full dishwasher. 

 

get militant about not allowing dishes to stack in the sink or next to the sink.

 

you can conquer this!

post #14 of 33
Tropicana, I know you're right. Although we won't run the dishwasher while we are sleeping any more. I used to for years, but then my neighbor begged me to stop doing it because her friend had a fire from her dishwasher after she went to bed, and the same week, my mom told me that a lady she knew started the dishwasher on her way out the door. She had to run back in, and thankfully saw that it was smoking. A wooden spoon had fallen to the bottom and would have caught fire. So I was like, "OK. I get the message." LOL! But you are right. Maybe I'll compromise and start just unloading in the morning and putting my dishes and my toddler's dishes directly in the dishwasher. I wish my husband would do something else, but he is such a perfectionist that he will basically only help out with jobs he knows exactly how to do. Open ended stuff like tidying up, he just "can't" handle.
Edited by mkksmom - 11/18/11 at 6:25am
post #15 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tropicana View Post

here's my suggestion: quit relying on DH to "do the dishes." don't set them down around the sink!!!!! 

yes, as others have suggested, empty the dishwasher first thing in the morning. first thing. make it YOUR job. then you know it will get done, and you don't have to nag.

this means, of course, that you run the dishwasher last thing before going to bed. again, make it your job and you won't have this problem.

furthermore, why are you giving this "job" to your husband to load the dishwasher? it's make-work. let him do something more productive. dishes should go from use DIRECTLY into the dishwasher. do not set them down on the counter unless they are flaming hot straight out of the oven. when you finish with a dish, it goes straight into the dishwasher. if you must involve your husband, get him to start putting HIS dishes straight into the dishwasher. moreover, get your kids to start putting their dishes straight into the dishwasher. load it constantly, all day.

run it as needed. seriously, (IMHO), it is worth it to run it even if it is not completely loaded if, for example, you are heading into dinner time and you already have a 3/4 load in the dishwasher, and you anticipate having more dishes coming than can reasonably fit in the already almost-full dishwasher. 

get militant about not allowing dishes to stack in the sink or next to the sink.

you can conquer this!

Um the reason DH does the dishes is because I have a chronic illness & can't often physically handle doing them. Also, he has been unemployed for a year so he has time (and is very willing, just isn't particularly organized about it). I already am the one working, and dealing with our high-needs DS all night and most of the day, and lots of other stuff anyway, and I kind of resent the notion that the woman should do everything. So it's going to remain his job for now, but he is very open to more efficient ways of doing things.

Thanks for all the ideas so far, hopefully we will get into a better routine.
post #16 of 33

OP - I understand your DH frustration as it relates to dishes.  Same thing in our house, it drives me nuts.  My DH has a system of cleaning up after meals that truly boggles the mind.  It takes him 5x as long as it would take me.  No amount of re-education worked so I just shut up about it.  If he wants to take 45 minutes to clear the table and load the dishwasher, so be it.

 

What is the state of your kitchen cupboards? 

 

The #1 thing that would send me to the moon was when I would try to unload the dishwasher and open the cupboard doors to find a jumble of crap already in there.

 

Some things things that improved our dish war considerably  -

 

Take another look at the amount of dishes, cups, glasses, utensils, pots and pans, etc.  I thought I had it paired down, then I went back again and halved the remaining. 

 

I also got rid of any "problem children"  like the too long wooden spoons that won't fit in the utensil area, odd shaped bowls, the bent baking sheets that made loading the dishwasher difficult. 

 

I replaced mismatched stuff with sets.  This might sound reckless and spendy but it is so much easier to keep my cupboards organized when things are the same size.  Neat rows of glasses and bowls and plates stacked one on top of another are pleasing to me. 

 

No kid-stuff allowed.  I had a breakdown one day when an avalache of slipping cups exploded out of the cupboard.  When it was absolutely necessary, DS did have three little mugs and one unbreakable bowl.  As soon as possible, we got rid of thoses.  From an early age, he was using the same plates, bowls,  glasses and utensils as us.

 

I agree with the others, keeping the dishwasher empty is key.  We do run ours at night.  If fire is a concern, turn off the heated dry cycle.  I empty try to empty the dishwasher while DS is eating breakfast or as soon as we walk in the door at the end of the day. 

post #17 of 33
Thread Starter 
You can put baking sheets in the dishwasher?!?! Do they actually come clean? Wow.

I *think* we have our dishes pared down well... I could pare it down further but then we'd have nothing for company (the company we don't invite over because I'm too embarrassed about the dishes LOL, that's ironic...) plus DS is very good at breaking dishes... so I think we have about 8-12 of each item, probably less. We have pared down the pots & pans to exactly what we need, we have about 5 that satisfy our everyday cooking needs. I think one thing that ends up REALLY piling up is all of our storage containers, which we use for leftovers and for our lunches (we usually pack our lunches/snacks to go). We have some Pyrex and canning jars & tons of tupperware-type containers as back-up. We seem to always run out of containers no matter how many we have (and not just because they need to be washed!) so I think we're doing something wrong there...
post #18 of 33

I have what I think are refered to as 1/4 sized sheets and yes, they do come clean.  They never get terribly gross though.  What are you cooking on yours that they won't come clean?  Parchment paper may be worth using if you are cooking stuff that is messy.

 

I have 5 pots and pans too, it works well for us.

 

Ah, the dreaded storage containers.  I feel your pain.

 

Again, this might make some people cringe, but I got rid of all of mine (except the glass ones which double as serving bowls) and replaced them with identically sized Gladware stuff, the cheapy semi-disposable ones.  Ours last and last and I made peace with the fact that sometimes I need to be less green than I would like to keep the household running smoothly.

 

Now every single lid matches every single container.  All the containers nest into each other and stack nicely.  Sure, sometimes that means there is just a spoonful or two of leftover in a container that looks too big or leftovers require two containers instead of one large one but desperate times call for desperate measures!  Small containers take just as much effort to wash/load in the dish washer as larger ones.  I just got so tired of managing all those different sizes.

 

Can you store your extra-possibly-needed-for-guest dishes somewhere else, outside of the kitchen?  I know for us, it was so easy to avoid unloading or loading the dishwasher when there was a seemingly endless supply of clean stuff in the cupboards.  We had enough dishes to serve 10 guests and we used every single one before washing the dirty ones.

 

 

post #19 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post


Um the reason DH does the dishes is because I have a chronic illness & can't often physically handle doing them. Also, he has been unemployed for a year so he has time (and is very willing, just isn't particularly organized about it). I already am the one working, and dealing with our high-needs DS all night and most of the day, and lots of other stuff anyway, and I kind of resent the notion that the woman should do everything. So it's going to remain his job for now, but he is very open to more efficient ways of doing things.
Thanks for all the ideas so far, hopefully we will get into a better routine.


ok good luck with it.

 

post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caneel View Post

If fire is a concern, turn off the heated dry cycle. 

The concern isn't so much the heated dry cycle. It's more of an issue of electrical fires. I definitely agree that it's easier, but not worth the risk to me. Especially since there is a website devoted to kitchenaid fires, and that's what I own.
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