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Dishwasher tips from a professional organizer

clean kitchen counter

How many times to you come into the kitchen to cook and it is overrun with dirty dishes because the dishwasher is full and no one has unloaded it? Maybe it’s not that your housemates are stubborn, lazy pigs who don’t care about your feelings. Maybe they didn’t have time in the middle of their day to handle the whole dishwasher back-log that is clogging up the works.


Dishwasher back-log is a real problem for a lot of people.

Avoiding the dirty pile-up

The best way I’ve found to avoid sink-full-of-dirty-dishes-syndrome is to run the dishwasher without fail every night after the last bowl of ice cream has been snuck and the last cup of tea has been drunk.

Duh! Run the dishwasher at night. Everyone knows this. Keep reading.

The next step to beating dirty dish pile-up is to UNLOAD the dishwasher every, single morning when you (or whoever arrives first) gets to the kitchen. Do it while you make the coffee. I know you don’t think you can function without coffee. But this one (under 3-minute) chore is totally worth it and you don’t have to tell anyone. You can still be the “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee person” if that is part of your identity.

Dishwasher tips for unloading

Unloading the dishwasher is something most people hate to do. And yet, it takes under 3 minutes as I explain in my post about new year’s resolutions. If it’s taking you longer than 3 minutes, consider where you store the dishes you use–and therefore unload–most often. You may want to move some things around to make room for your popular dishes closer to the dishwasher.

Scrape. Don’t rinse.

You already know that hand-washing the dishes wastes water. Your faucet uses 2 gallons of water per minute. But even rinsing them is a bit of a waste. Try keeping a spatula in the dishwasher for scraping dishes clean and stop using your faucet for that. Most of the time you have to scrape while the water is running anyway. So please cut out the water from this process and help all of us here in California survive to see 2022. Thanks!

Use your 2nd sink for your dish rack

dishrack_on_counter dishrack_in_sink
If you have 2 sinks and a dishwasher, moving the dish rack into your second sink will free up a big chuck of counter space that most kitchens desperately need.

In fact, even if you don’t have a dishwasher, you may want to store the rack in your 2nd sink until you are actually doing dishes. You’ll be surprised how infrequently you need both sinks, especially now that you don’t have dishwasher back-up going on.

Check you out!

If your housemates are having trouble getting on board, be patient and lead by example. My rule of thumb is, don’t do a chore when you are feeling bitter or resentful. Do a chore because you love having it done or because Acts of Service is your love language.

Having a clean kitchen is rarely worth getting mad and grumpy for.

Another idea from the realistic consequences vault: if the kitchen is too messy to cook, don’t cook. A night of hunger may help some ungrateful piggies remember to put their dishes in the dishwasher tomorrow.


You may also like this kitchen-related video: Organizing with limits in the kitchen

I also love this article on boring, unsexy dish-related activities from Summer Tomato.

counter space, dishwasher, kitchen organizing

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