My strategy for getting the dishes done

For some of you,this post may seem elementary. It may seem obvious to some of you who might be more organized and motivated than I am. However,since I know many women struggle with the house and keeping things up,I thought I would share my strategy for making sure the dishes are done on a regular basis.

I make myself do the dishes EVERY EVENING. Whether or not I think the dishwasher would be full. Then there is no excuse,no chance to push it off. You see,otherwise I could justify that it wouldn’t make a full load,so I wait til the next morning. By then we have breakfast and stuff,and the sink is now overflowing.

By doing the dishes each evening,I don’t have the objective view of whether or not it is time to do the dishes (meaning are there enough?)  Objectivity and housework and I do not get along well. It is much better if it is in black and white.

Now some of you may be saying I have PLENTY of dishes to do each evening. Whatever the case,just do them. And if you have pots and pans or things that won’t fit? Wash them by hand before you go to bed. Waking up to an empty sink is awesome.

Flylady recommends that not only should you wash your dishes,but that you should shine your sink before going to bed. Imagine coming in to make the coffee and everything is out of the way and the sink is shiny clean!

Some days (not every day mind you) I will go ahead and wipe the counters and stove top while I have soapy water for pots and pans.

A few other tips to staying on top of dishes:

Have each person use the same cup all day long if possible. This is easier if it is just water,but rinse out and set in a designated spot for reusing later. Try using certain colors for certain people. I have seen a picture online somewhere ( I wish I could find it,where they have labeled a section of the counter or windowsill with each family member’s name. Their cup for the day goes there when not in use.

Depending on the balance of household activities you have worked out,see if your husband will oversee children’s baths while you do the dishes,or vice versa. They should both take about the same amount of time and when done,you’ll have clean kids and clean dishes!

Unload the dishwasher in the morning when you are in the kitchen. This makes it easier,especially if you are home all day,to load dirty dishes as you go,making the job in the evening a whole lot easier!

What things have worked for you to help keep up with the dishes?

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14 comments to My strategy for getting the dishes done

  • Thank you so much for writing this post. I’ve been feeling like a huge failure in the past few days. And reading your post made me think,maybe I’m a bit more normal than I thought I was.

    I’m a single mum and I’m studying. So I get really busy. And when I do,I often leave the dishes for the next day. I don’t have a dishwasher so that means washing them when the food’s all caked on a bit harder and it takes longer. Doesn’t really make sense!


  • Meesh

    Great post! For me it’s the repetition. I just want it done and for it to stay done (never going to happen) Getting the dishes done in the evening and waking to an empty sink just puts a bit of a bounce in your early morning step. Weird,I know…

    Have a wonderful day!


  • Great tips! We can always use a reminder on how PERSPECTIVE makes a difference!!! :)
    Shan@FamilyBringsJoy recently posted..Join Us For RoomspirationMy Profile

  • When my kitchen is clean,my whole life is easier.

  • GREAT post! A spotless kitchen clears my head =)

  • With a family of 6,we have plenty of dishes. My mom and Flylady have both taught me to do them before I go to bed. Although I’ve had many times where I was just too busy and tired to get to them. But I do agree,I am so much happier waking up to a clean sink and kitchen. I recently bought some great large plastic tumblers at Target in multiple colors. Everyone gets one each day and uses it. We keep them at our spots at the table so that we don’t get confused as to whose was whose. It has been working great! Good post!
    Caren with a “C”recently posted..Easy Fudge Pecan BrowniesMy Profile

  • We don’t have a dishwasher,and it’s extra-hard to keep on top of it. I think everyone keeps thinking someone else will do it.
    Serene recently posted..The RecipesMy Profile

  • The principles by which we get dishes done are often the same principles by which we live. Do I avoid what needs doing or prioritize it into its proper place? Dishes are a great example because they are definable. It’s easy to tell when they are done and great intellect is not required to do them. If I want to feel like I’ve accomplished at least one thing during the day,that is,finished it from first to last,I do the dishes.

  • Meg

    Good post,and something we have always strived to do. What has been JUST GREAT this year is that we have begun having our third grader empty the clean dishes in the morning before he leaves for school. It makes cleaning up from breakfast a snap. Simple thing,but it has been a big help and I think it has been a boost for him to be helpful.

  • Shirls

    I have a CD/mp3 player in the kitchen and as I have to wash the dishes by hand I make sure I have an interesting audiobook on the go. If it’s really “page-turning”I end up cleaning up everything in sight until the end of the chapter. I listen to it while I’m cooking too or cleaning the fridge or tidying the cupboards.

  • I try to never leave any dishes drying on the counter overnight. Nothing is more annoying than walking into the kitchen in the morning and having to put yet MORE dishes away. I also like to guilt my husband into doing the dishes…sometimes that works.

  • I read in a magazine once that a household who leaves dishes out overnight was (some high percentage) more likely to have household bugs (read:cockroaches) than households who made sure the dishes,sink and counters were cleaned before going to bed. That was enough right there to spring me into action and that has been over ten years ago. We all rinse our dishes out and put them on the right side of the sink when finished. I load the dishwasher after lunch and right before bed –run it,and unload it the next morning. It’s become such a habit! Great post!
    Brandy/Momwich recently posted..Wordless WednesdaysMy Profile

  • This is great for those with a dishwasher (count ur blessings) but the same holds true for those who hand wash everything. Doing all dishes in the evening is critical to maintaining the kitchen,especially if it used throughout the day.

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