The very core of your home routine should consist of dishes and laundry. Everything that you do in your home stems from those two things. It’s imperative to have both a laundry routine and a dish routine that works in order to have a well-run home. There’s no way around it.
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I don’t care if your floors are sticky and your end tables have a fine layer of dust. Get the dishes and the laundry done first always. Let the other things go if you need to, but make sure that you keep the dishes and the laundry going.
The problem with doing dishes is that you start over every single day. It doesn’t matter how amazing you did the dishes last night, if you don’t do them today, you’ll be back in crisis mode before bed.
Why is a routine to wash dishes so important if I’m trying to save money?
You need to establish the routines in your home that support your efforts to save money. Cooking at home is a huge way to reduce your spending. Being able to keep up with your dishes ensures that you can cook at home every night, pack lunches for work and even picnics for family outings.
Few people understand the way that organization, home routines and budgeting are intertwined. When most people set out to save money and fail, it’s because they don’t have the support systems in place for things like dishes and laundry to help make saving money easier. Taking the time to set this routine up, will make a huge difference in your efforts to save.
We teach this system in Hot Mess to Home Success– a step by step comprehensive home management course that teaches you how to use bare minimum effort on a consistent basis to easily manage your money and home even if you’re chronically disorganized.
The Simple Dish System: The easiest routine to wash dishes.
Step 1: Every single night- the sink is left clear. Every night. Without fail.
Step 2: Leave the dishwasher empty for the start of the next day. This is the hardest part. You need to make this happen for 28 days in a row for this to become a routine. 28 days in a row and you’ll never have to struggle with dishes again.
Step 3: As you use dishes, give them a quick rinse and put them straight into the dishwasher.
Step 4: At the end of every meal, set a timer for 5 minutes (as a family- everyone should be helping), clearing the table, doing the dishes, and sweeping up (assuming you have toddlers like me that leave a mountain of food on the floor).
Step 5: If you work out of the house and you’re eating a quick breakfast on the go, you should only need to do one load a day. If you have more than one load- leave the large items (like pots and mixing bowls) out for a second load. It’s much easier to find the motivation to empty the dishwasher that second time when you know that there is only 3-4 pots in it. Alternatively, you can also hand wash those larger items.
Step 6: Before bedtime set a 5-minute timer and empty the dishwasher. If anyone has added something dirty to the sink (late night ice cream bowls?), add those to the dishwasher to wait for more dirty dishes tomorrow.
What if I stay at home/work at home or cook every meal from scratch?
If you stay at home, you’ll likely need to do more. I ran a home day-care for four kids, and packed lunches for everyone and I was doing 3 loads a day. I did once load after every meal.
Depending on your situation, I’m asking you to spend 10-20 minutes a day on dishes, every single day so that you never have to struggle with this again. It’s a fair trade.
What if I don’t have a dishwasher?
Having a dishwasher is convenient, but it also means you have to come back in an hour and unload. Tons of people (including my mother!) swear that hand washing is quicker and easier than using a dishwasher. The easiest method to hand wash the dishes:
- Fill the sink with soapy water.
- Add dishes to the soapy water as you use them.
- Go through and wash them as you cook (as you have a few minutes available).
- Wash your dinner dishes as soon as you’re done eating.
- Set them on a drying rack and put them away when they’re dry (a quick swipe with a microfiber cloth dries them quickly).
My favorite trick: Use lunch containers.
I use lunch containers to pack lunches the night before (we use leftovers for lunches). Whether you stay home or work, having lunch already packaged and stacked neatly in the fridge makes your life so much easier. We use these containers exclusively because they’re extremely thick and high quality. We’ve used ours for a year and they still look brand new despite daily washing. They come with color coded tops and stack on top of each other.
Have a back-up plan.
There are moments in your life when even 15 minutes a day to do dishes won’t work out. Have a container of plastic cups, forks and plates waiting in the pantry for hectic times. We break these out for major changes in our routine… Situations like new babies, moving, remodeling etc. Maybe you’ll never have to use them, but it’s nice to know that they’re there!
What’s tougher for you? The laundry or the dishes?
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Karen Gray says
I’m actually pretty ok at doing most of this. The only part I don’t do is empty the dishwasher before bed. I totally agree that this would be fantastically helpful! I’m going to add that to my before bed routine!
Kelly Smith says
I struggle with doing dishes. We don’t have a dishwasher and we all hate washing dishes. My husband cooks most of the time, but when he cooks I swear he uses every pot, pan, cooking utensil and gadget in the house. (I used to be a Pampered Chef consultant so we alot). We have started using paper plates and plastic utensils to minimize dish washing but I’m horrible abit washing them every night. We awake at 4 am, leave the house by 5 am and don’t get home until after 5 pm from work, then we have dance, sports, scouts, church activities, homework, showers and then it’s bedtime. I find it hard to do dishes or laundry. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. TIA
An equal hate lol. I hate unpacking the dishwasher. I dislike folding the laundry if I can’t do it when it immediately comes out of the dryer.
I don’t like drying dishes, and when the dishwasher cycle is done, even wth heated dry, there are always bowls with water still in them and cups with water on top. What I end up doing is, after the cycle is done, I tip over the bowls and use a dry cloth to sop up most of the water on the cups, and then let them finish air drying. Then my husband or I unload it and reload it with the dishes that have accumulated sink, and then I usually wash the larger items that won’t fit or things that can go int the dishwasher, like insulated mugs. I’m not perfect abut getting this done everyday, depending on our schedule or my fatigue level. I do completely agree with you that having all of your pots and pans and coking utensils clean makes it much less stressful to cook at home!
It took a while, but I am definitely in the habit of doing dishes daily. I work outside the home 40 hrs per week so weeknights are busy – but everything is either loaded in dishwasher or done by hand.
Our washer takes a very long time to run so I set the delay start feature and it runs in the wee hours of the morning while we’re in bed.
I unload as I am cooking dinner the following evening. I would highly recommend NOT putting pots and pans in the dishwasher – at least the non stick kind – they’ll hold up better longer I’ve found.
I’m surprised at the thought of running a dishwasher daily, let alone several times a day, that seems like a LOT! We’re a family of 3 and I cook most of our meals at home – and those are from scratch – and I usually only have to run a load every other day.
Laundry is mainly done on the weekend although I try to get a jumpstart on Thursday night usually. Sunday for sheets and blankets, throws from the living room, etc.
Establishing those simple routines and making the habit is key – seems easy when you’ve been doing it for a while! 🙂
Tiffeny Bundy says
I always run the dishwasher at night. Then unload in the morning leaving the dishwasher ready to be loaded during the day. This way most every dish is bonedry and ready to be put away.
I’ve done two things that have changed my perspective on dishwashing. The first was when we lived in a house with a dishwasher: I timed how long it took to unload the dishwasher. Three and a half minutes. That’s it. I couldn’t believe how much energy I was wasting not wanting to do something that took just three and a half minutes. Crazy>
The second was when we lived in a house that did not have a dishwasher. Three times a day, I would challenge myself to wash just 27 dishes. Almost always, that would either be everything, or be close enough that I would just finish up the last few without being unhappy. And that’s with six people in my family and we cook a LOT!
These two epiphanies have changed the way I look at dishes, which has made my life a lot happier overall!
I know what you mean. I used to hate dishes too and I would use so much energy on feeling overwhelmed about the dishes. But then my husband and I finally sat down and analysed what our problem really was, and when it was occurring. We found out that we simply needed to get the kids involved and make sure we unloaded the dishwasher BEFORE dinner. Those two simple acts made a huge difference. But we hadn’t zeroed in on that being the key until we sat down and really analysed our situation. It changed my world so much that I even made a video about it. Haha. It’s funny how much getting your dishes done can change your life! 🙂
The Busy Budgeter says
Yay, that’s awesome! Great start 😉
My husband and I are both retired now – we have tried to share chores; it is working out well for him to be the dishwasher at night and I’ll put everything away when I get up in the morning. My question – he thinks letting the dishcloth soak in the dish water (he rinses dishes before washing them by hand) overnight. I think the water is – at the least – ALMOST stagnant and the dishcloth on the verge of smelling bad. I tried to reason with him to not do this, but he doesn’t believe the water is stagnant in 10 or 12 hours. I looked online and cannot find a timeline for dirty water to become stagnant! LOL Does anyone have real info on this?
I used to hate dishes too and I would use so much energy on feeling overwhelmed about the dishes. But then my husband and I finally sat down and analysed what our problem really was, and when it was occurring. We found out that we simply needed to get the kids involved and make sure we unloaded the dishwasher BEFORE dinner. Those two simple acts made a huge difference. But we hadn’t zeroed in on that being the key until we sat down and really analysed our situation. It changed my world so much that I even made a video about it. Haha. It’s funny how much getting your dishes done can change your life! 🙂
Kristine recently posted…Getting the Dishes Done – Consistently!
I probably would like having no dirty dishes in the kitchen everyday. But, since it takes about 3 days for me to have a sink of dishes, I only do them every 3 days. I wash them by hand and put them in the dishwasher to air dry. It might take less than 30 minutes, but I hate getting my hands wet because it dries my hands out. So, I wait 3 days to reduce dry hands. I live in a dry climate and I already put lotion on my hands half a dozen times a day.
Bridgette Renkert says
I do all the cooking, laundry and general house cleaning. I ask my husband to do the dishes that can not be washed in the dishwasher and the sink becomes a mountain before he gets around to it. Sigh.