Dishes -- what are we doing wrong??? - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-17-2011, 10:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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Old 11-17-2011, 01:05 PM
 
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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.... :)


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Old 11-17-2011, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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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.
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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

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Old 11-17-2011, 02:30 PM
 
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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. 

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Old 11-17-2011, 02:55 PM
 
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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.


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Old 11-17-2011, 04:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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?

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Old 11-17-2011, 04:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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
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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?

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Old 11-17-2011, 05:07 PM
 
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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.
 

 


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Old 11-17-2011, 05:17 PM
 
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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

 


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Old 11-17-2011, 05:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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Old 11-17-2011, 06:43 PM
 
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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


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Old 11-17-2011, 07:25 PM
 
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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.

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Old 11-17-2011, 09:24 PM
 
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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!

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Old 11-18-2011, 05:13 AM
 
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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.

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Old 11-18-2011, 06:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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Old 11-18-2011, 07:09 AM
 
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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. 


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Old 11-18-2011, 07:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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...

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Old 11-18-2011, 07:46 AM
 
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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.

 

 


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Old 11-18-2011, 01:21 PM
 
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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.

 

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Old 11-18-2011, 04:44 PM
 
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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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Old 11-18-2011, 04:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OK please fill me in on the fire thing???? (like I really need something else to be paranoid about lol.gif but I can't help but ask...)

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Old 11-18-2011, 05:18 PM
 
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http://www.kitchenaidfire.com/

Other brands have been recalled, but apparently they are not recalling these. Maytag, GE, Whirlpool, etc.. The issue seems to be that water gets into the control panel and sometimes ther eis just smoke... sometimes flames shoot out. Fun stuff. LOL! Not enough to make me hand wash, but enough that I want to be home, awake and know which circuit cuts off power to my dishwasher.

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Old 11-18-2011, 05:40 PM
 
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I found a good but annoying way to force me to keep up with the dishes: we adopted a dog that's tall enough to jump up and try and lick the dishes in the sink. Really just up and doing them 2-3 times a day is what it takes.

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Old 11-18-2011, 06:06 PM
 
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Put the dishes lower, let the dog do the work and earn his keep! smile.gif

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Old 11-18-2011, 06:28 PM
 
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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...

 

Are you guys leaving stuff in containers in the fridge for ever and ever, or  is someone taking meals to work and not bringing the containers back?  Those would be the two main culprits in my house.  I'm more honest about leftovers now.  If we haven't eaten them in a couple of days (and we usually do), I just toss them.  As far as DP taking containers to work, ya got me.  I just send his food in jars and remind him occasionally to bring them home, thanks.  I think if we only had a designated few lunch containers we might actually do better.

 

I also put away my "company" dishes above my cabinets because we have limited storage, but I'd prefer a box in a closet.  Either way, it's close at hand if we do have company but not so easy to reach.


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Old 11-18-2011, 07:42 PM
 
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I prefer to load up the dishwasher as I go along, then run it as soon as it's full.  Ideally, I prefer to run it after supper and empty in the am as I wait for my coffee, but sometimes I run it after bfast or lunch, and empty it before I start the next meal.  My favourite part of having as dishwasher is that the dirties are out of sight rather than hanging around the sink.

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Old 11-19-2011, 05:48 PM
 
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My minimal successes in this area involve these points:

1. Adjust my expectations that doing the dishes/ kitchen once - or ten times - in the day means the kitchen will be clean later - not if anyone ever eats or drinks!

2. Put away the dishes

3. Put away the dishes

4. Put away the dishes

 

In other words, if I don't put away the clean dishes, there is no reasonable uncluttered place to put newly washed dishes. The best tool for this has been some mittens from Bed Bath and Beyond, that are made of drying material. So I don't have to even wait for the dish washer to finish drying dishes, or the air, and I can just put things away. I've been actively training myself to see the pile of dirty dishes, and make my response be to put away clean dishes.

 

This is all I can figure out, since my family rejected a minimal kitchen approach.


Mom of one child (2008), wife of one husband, tender of dogs, cats and chickens. Household interests: ocean life (kid), bitcoins (husband), simplifying (me).

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Old 11-20-2011, 04:13 PM
 
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I feel your pain with dish issues - I feel like all I do is deal with dishes, lol!  We have enough dishes for our family of 4 (well, 5, but our third kiddo is a baby and does not use the full-sized plates yet) for 2 meals, and I cook 3 meals/day (homeschool) so the kitchen stays busy.  Here is what I do:

 

-I try to make meals requiring as few pots/pans as possible (one-skillet meals, or I try to reuse pots - if I boil pasta in a pot, while it is in the collander, I may steam the broccoli in the same pot)

-we keep one cup each all day

-we immediately rinse and put our dishes in the dishwasher (unfortunately this rental house does not have the newest, nicest dishwasher!) as soon as we finish eating

-after dinner, the dishwasher is full, so we run it while we are home (I am paranoid and cannot let it run when we are not home)

-DH and/or I will unload the dishwasher after the kiddos go to bed so that in the morning, we have a free-and-clear kitchen to begin again - that is our KEY!  

-the hardest part is getting the habit going, but once it is in place, it is second nature  :)

 

Good luck!

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Old 11-24-2011, 10:40 AM
 
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We used to have this problem. As in, it would take an entire day to get our dishes done. Two things: You have too many dishes. If you have enough to have that many dishes out, you have too many.

 

My husband didn't believe me on this, so I put 1/2 our dishes in the closet. It helped. Other thing is this: You HAVE to clean up as you go along. Put them up after breakfast, lunch, etc. If you don't.... well....that's how they start. Dirty dishes are like bunnies. You can't give them a chance to breed and a sink is like the Playboy Mansion to them. Soon they're going to be creating little saucers and teacups and whatnot.

 

 


Welcome to the Real World she said to me, condescendingly, take a seat. Take your life; plot it out in black and white.
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Old 11-24-2011, 01:18 PM
 
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We don't have a DW anymore.  When we did, the routine was much easier!  Dishes went into the dishwasher after breakfast, lunch and dinner (snacks/glasses in between could be left in the sink until B/L/D, but that's it).  Right after dinner we'd run the dishwasher.  Any nighttime desserts or snacks went in the sink for the morning.  In the morning, empty dishwasher before anything else, then after breakfast load all new dishes. 

 

Now that we don't have a DW, my big fight is that my partner just keeps putting wet dishes on top of the dry dishes on the drying rack instead of putting the dry ones away first.....  AHHHH.... annoys me to no end, because then nothing ever dries well and the kitchen looks cluttered. 

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