Wednesday, March 26, 2008

WFMW - Washing Dishes

I currently have three problems when it comes to washing dishes:
  1. I don't have an automatic dishwasher.
  2. My kitchen is small. The counter next to my sink is soooo small that any amount of dishes stacked there makes dish washing look like a HUGE task, which is a psychological road block for me. It's an open invitation to procrastinate. (And I accept the invitation more than I'd like to admit.)
  3. I don't particularly enjoy washing dishes. (And neither does Mike, although he does his fair share.)
The solution? Before I begin dinner I put away any dishes that are in the drainer, and I fill the sink with warm, soapy water. I wash any dishes that are already sitting on the counter. Then, as I make dinner, I wash the prep dishes right away. I find it incredibly easy to wash a few measuring cups or stirring spoons or platstic containers, or the food chopper, or whatever, in between recipe steps. (Plus, it keeps me from sampling too much of dinner while I make it.)

The next great thing about this is when we sit down to eat, I can throw any prep pans into the sink to soak. This accomplishes two things: it encourages me to use serving dishes at the table, which makes for a much nicer dinner than having pots and pans on the table; and it makes clean up much easier because the food doesn't have time to get dried on and crusty. Oh, I guess it really accomplishes three things, because our habit in the past was to say "I'll soak this and wash it later, so it will be easier to clean." The problem is that "later" usually became much, much later. As in a day or two or seven. But with this system the dishes are washed right away, which makes for a much happier kitchen.

The last great thing about filling the sink with soapy water before I start dinner, is when we are done eating we can wash the dishes as we clear the table. No more excuses or intentions to wash them later - just plop 'em in and git 'er done.

This all sounds quite simple, and it is, but it has seriously revolutionized my kitchen. My kitchen is a much happier place and I am a much happier woman, and I have to give credit to FlyLady for being the one to introduce this to me. (Along with lots of other great ideas. I don't follow her system exactly, but would certainly recommend her site for anyone who feels "housework-challenged.")

Stop over to Rocks in My Dryer for more WFMW tips and ideas!


Totallyscrappy said...

It is so much easier to get it done now then look at it later! Great system.

KitchenScrapbook said...

I was browsing the WFMW tips and this on caught me eye... I have a counterful of dishes sitting out in my kitchen at the moment. My dishwasher isn't working very well right now, so washing by hand it is. Anyway, this is a great idea. Esp the soaking-prep-dishes-during-dinner part. I was on Flylady for awhile a few years ago.

Linds said...

This is motivation for me. We have the same problem, no dishwasher and little counter space. I've done this before but I need to make a habit of it.

beth said...

My husband introduced me to this clean as you go system when we moved in together, after seeing what a DISASTER the kitchen was after my cooking attempts. It really does work and now it is such a habit I don’t even think about it.

Sandrine said...

I have to say, I am very impressed with your system. Although it still freaks me a little that you are a Wife & a Mom. LOL

Miss Monica said...

I'm here to testify that Erin really doesn't have much counter space at all. In fact, I think Erin ought to post a picture just so you all can be amazed that she gets anything done in that kitchen! =D

Laane said...

It's how I do it too.
We have 6 children and often a friend or two to eat with us.
Too much for the little kitchen.
We've never had a dish washer, so I'm doing this for many years now.

I have the terribly hot water ready, and before wishing the dishes I'll spray them clean.

So the water keeps as clean as possible, and lasts all dinner.

You can find my tip at:

Laane on the World

Have a great week and an amazing spring!!!

Mrs. Brownstone @ XBOX Wife said...

This is a great idea! Once dishes start to pile up, they really pile up quickly!

Thanks for visiting my blog!