Doing the Dishes

Until I was 27, I hated doing the dishes so much I'd avoid them at all costs. I'd leave them until I'd run out of spoons for cereal in the morning, and had no plates left for supper and no room on the counter to prepare dinner.

One day I finally got sick of it and decided to just wash every dish in the house that day, and never let it get that bad again. When I changed my mindset on dishes and started a few new habits to make doing dishes ( by hand) easier and faster, it started to become less painfull.

Now doing dishes, especially after the kids go to bed , it is a time I can do a "working" meditation session, listen to the radio and sing, daydream, or call a friend to catch up while getting them done. All it took was a new way of looking at it.

The Dreaded Dishes

The bad thing about dishes if you hate doing them, is that they need to be done multiple times a day if you don't have a large dishwasher, and you want to keep up with getting them done.

If you have a large dish washer, putting dishes into it until it is full and then running it is pretty easy. Make a morning routine of emptying the dishwasher in the morning while your feeding the kids, or getting your breakfast. It is a good habit to get into. It saves from having a counter full of dirty dishes waiting for the dish washer to be emptied of the clean ones. If you have a small family or your only a single person, or married with no kids, a large dishes washer might not get run for a few days, so that makes it even easier to do a morning routine every couple of days.

If you're of the crowd that has to hand wash dishes in a sink full of water, dishes can be a daunting task, especially if you have a family to wash up after.

We eat every day, so unless your going to use paper and plastic plates and cups, dishes need to be washed every day, and are separate from your two tasks a day you picked to keep the house clean.

The only way it will ever stop being a daunting task, is to keep up on them and change your mindset, and find a way to make the time you do them go by fast.

Some tips for washing dishes and not hating it

1.While your cooking run some pure hot water and soap in the sink half way, then toss your utencils into the sink to soak as you cook.

2. Use rubber gloves for doing your dishes. The dishes can be soaked in MUCH MUCH hotter water and clean easier when you protect your hands from the heat. Hot dishes sitting on a rack air dry faster, and gloves also save your hands and fresh painted nails from your pamper session on Wednesday's.

*Thanks to my good friend “S” for this tip*

3.Keep a rag wet handy while you cook for spills on the stove top and counter. String your habit of wiping the stove and counters down when doing the dishes.

4.Soaking your pots right away in the hottest water keeps them from crusting over and making more work for you later.

5.Once the dishes have soaked for a while, all that is needed is a quick wipe and rinse. Toss them in the dry rack between stirring and watching the pot while cooking, and your half way done! They'll be dry to put away, when you start to set your supper dishes to soak after dinner when you clear the table.

6.Clearing the table right away from dishes after a meal helps get them done. Make it a household rule that everyone who can reach the top of the counter, removes their own plate and utensils to the kitchen. Whomever set the table that day is also responsible for clearing the table of condiments etc.

7.Scrape the dishes right away and soak them right away. If you want to take a break after dinner before you do them, that's fine, but letting them soak while you take a break will ensure your not scraping dried up spaghetti sauce off your plates with a chisel!

8. Got a dish rack? GOOD then let it have a purpose and do it's job. It's not called a DRYING rack for nothing! :)

Let your dishes air dry and save that ten minutes doing something you like.

9.Put on some music and sing or dance while you do the dishes, or call a friend, it will make the task go by faster and it will help change your mindset about dishes being boring or a dull task.

10.At the end of your life looking back, you won't regret not having dried the dishes before company came over all those times, but you may regret not having had enough time with your kids when they were small or spouse or friends, because you "had things to do" all the time.

11.Change your thinking and let it be OK that dishes are drying on your counter. Put them away in the morning while making breakfast and soaking your breakfast dishes.

Some other tips for families on dish duty


There is more about delegation on the “Success” link about being a CleanHome Executive, but it is worth mentioning here too.

With kids that are old enough to reach the sink, set a family routine and schedule at your family meeting on Sunday for each person to have dish night and a setting table night. Draw straws or names from a hat for the nights, working around school and extra out of home obligation schedules.

To save arguments and one person doing it all, the dish and setting table night should not be the same night for the same person.

On busy, strapped for time nights, plan ahead for meals that don't require lots of plates and such, to save on dish duty. Try veggie platters and sandwiches on a napkin. Homemade veggie and tuna subs or a one dish oven meal or crock pot recipe to save on the amount of dishes needing to be done.

As your kids get older they can take on more of the responsibility of setting the table and cleaning the table

Younger kids can have one dish night and one setting table night a week as a way to learn new responsibilities. These are habits they need to have for when they move out on their own, and it gives a busy mom a little bit of a break from being on dish duty every night.

Take a break when doing dishes, and make it fun. When a good song comes on the radio, stop and dance with the kids. It's good exercise!

With a step stool a 5 year old can dry some kid safe dishes for you while you wash. If they don't get them done, that's ok too. Let them dry overnight.

Mom's and Dad's and anyone with the ability to do so, should have a turn at dishes through the week. It could be a family thing. Talking about your day as you scrub. Telling jokes while one sweeps under the table, and the others clear the table and set up for a craft or game, or get ready to for a movie, or making a dessert together.

REMEMBER: A task is not a "chore" unless you make it unfun to do, so add something fun to the task and it will go by much faster.

Who cares if you have clean dishes on the rack drying when company comes over! They are clean and everyone has dishes. Life's too short to worry about drying them too, and dish towels have other great uses, like being a scarf for dress up, a super hero cape or a table cloth for a playtime picnic!

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