Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: Dirty dishes tips

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

Since my last trip to Ohio to visit my parents (in November), I've been copying my mom's dirty dishes stacking trick.

A stacking system for dirty dishes? Sounds a little OCD but honestly, for me it's all about reining in the dirty dishes piles while still only doing dishes once a day (after dinner). :)

Dishes stacked and waiting

My system (we have 2 sinks):

Stack bowls, small plates, and silverware neatly in one side of the sink.

Set glasses, containers, etc. on the counter beside the sink. (This means I still have one side of the sink free for washing produce, etc.)

Dishes stacked and waiting

This usually keeps things tidy until dinner, when I actually cook and make a big mess in the kitchen. After dinner is when I load the dishwasher and clean everything up. Since I hand-wash the pans, strainers, large bowls, etc. I can get away with running the dishwasher once a day, after dinner. This allows plenty of time for the dishes to air dry overnight, and one of the kids unloads and puts everything away the next morning.

The good part: With a stacking system, the kids can clear their own dishes after breakfast and lunch without filling up my counter with miscellaneous stacks... and it's a lot faster to load the dishwasher in the evening, too!

Small plates: more fit!

Notice all my small plates in use? Some months ago I discovered two things:

Small plates are often sufficient for breakfast or lunch, and any time for little kids or weight-losing individuals (me).

Small plates also fit 3-wide in the bottom of my dishwasher. This is one of the ways I am able to still run the dishwasher only once a day with 7 people in our family: We only use big plates at dinner. :) Granted, this may change as my children get older (our oldest is 8), but overall small plates help reduce portion size (the kids can always get seconds!) and mess. :)

If you have a difficult-to-efficiently-load dishwasher like mine, take note... :)

I don't have any tips on conserving silverware use. We go gung-ho and fill that silverware basket to the max. I bought spoons for 20 cents each at GoodWill, picking out the nicest-feeling ones, and while they sure don't match my set, we never run out of spoons anymore! :)

I also watch for Corelle plates and bowls at GoodWill and have been able to supplement my set more affordably that way. :)

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1. Princess flavoring (Make Do & Mend)
2. How to clean your crock pot (A Proverbs 31 Wife)
3. 5 ways to use a bakery baguette (Feel Good About Dinner)
4. Make-ahead lunches tip (The Local Cook)


I don't like to have dishes in the sink all day long! So all that can go immediatly in the dishwasher just goes in and I quickly wash pans and put them away or leave them just the time for them to dry on their own...
My dishwasher works once every evening. :)
My mother never left anything in the sinck even with 6 kids and no dishwasher ! ;) I suppose I can just hear her saying "leave the kitchen clean" ! ;)

I've tried having the kids put their dishes into the dishwasher, but ran into snags like some of the dishes needing rinsed first (only the oldest can reach the faucet without a chair) and of course, the fact that depending on what we have (mostly plates, more bowls, etc...) I load it the most efficient way. Having little kids up to the sink trying to rinse dishes and load the dishwasher just wasn't mess-effective at all and I'd end up having to re-do a bit of it anyway! :)

I'm sure a few more years will make a big difference when it comes to dishes! I do sometimes have the older boys wash the hand-washed dishes (pans, large bowls, wooden things) and someday my kitchen will be sparkly-clean more of the day instead of just after dinner... :D

I know I could spend a little more time and keep it cleaner now, too, but this method seems to be the least amount of time on my part and still keeps things relatively tidy. (Unless you're looking down into the sink the dishes stacked there aren't noticeable.) :)

I have taught the kids to put their dishes right into the dishwasher after breakfast, etc. to keep the counters and sink clear as much as possible, but I do sometimes have to rearrange the dishwasher at supper to make it all fit. My dishwasher is laid out differently than yours, but I am going to check to see if I arrange things differently if I can fit our small plates three wide. Our "small" plates are more medium sized.

The tip I would like to share today is 5 ways to use a bakery baguette. Thanks for sharing!

I recently decided to start making lunches for the week ahead of time to avoid the snack drawer or drive through (rather than relying on leftovers which weren't always available). Here's a recipe for my first batch - black bean and quinoa with delicata squash

I have always had a rule that dirty dishes go straight into the dishwasher. It drives me nuts to have dirty dishes visible in my kitchen. I go ahead and put large items into the dishwasher throughout the day and if they will not fit after supper then I remove them to hand wash. One exception would be cast iron skillets which sometimes sit on the stove until there is dishwater available to wash them. (Yes, I do use soap on my cast iron. I hate just wiping them out. The exception would be after baking cornbread.)

I am slowly overcoming my slob tendencies, so I needed and love this idea! I've trained my kids to take their dishes to the sink or counter, but since so much food ends up clogging our drain if I ask them to rinse their dishes (and they can't quite reach the faucet anyway), I haven't done much more than that. Dishes are my least favorite chore, but I'd sure like a more streamlined kitchen! I think I'll try your method: get in the habit of at least ORGANIZING the dishes each meal, so it won't look so intimidating when I actually go to wash them after dinner. With five very young children in the house, and with homeschooling and everything else you do, I think you've made the best choice in making dishes a once-a-day event. I'm so glad that you are streamlining housework so you can give more of yourself to your kids. I really admire your example!

It makes it much easier if you don't have time to be constantly opening and closing the dishwasher as you are cooking/serving meals. My two children (just turned 3 years and 9 months) are too young to load their own dishes (we have all breakable dishes, no plastic). My only tip is to keep my silverware from sliding around in the sink, I usually put them standing up in the first glass that gets used each day.

I do the same thing with spoons. Every time I go to GoodWill I check the utensils bins. Most of the time there's nothing, but now and then I hit the jackpot. I also like to look for those extra large serving spoons that usually come with silverware (tableware) sets. I have a great collection of large serving spoons, mismatched though they are. I actually enjoy the eclectic -ness (okay, it's now a word) of it, just as I enjoy a different style of curtains at each window, even in the same room.

This will be perfect for my daughter's birthday party next week. My husband's family is huge and we are also having several little girls from her Girl Scout troop over and this is a great solution to continue to use the sink but not have to load during the party. Thanks!

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