Seven people live in our house.
Seven people eat, and when they do, they often eat off of plates. They also use spoons and forks, and even cups and sometimes bowls! Shocking, I know.
To make the food for the seven people to eat, I use pots and pans and knives and cutting boards and mixing bowls and spatulas.
Do you know what happens when seven people eat the food that one momma made from scratch in her kitchen? We’ve got dishes, my friends.
And while there’s never a shortage of dishes to wash in this house, we are missing that coveted appliance of convenience: the dishwasher.
As much as I’d love to just wish for the dirty dishes to go away or clean themselves, they don’t. Dishwashing is one of those jobs that absolutely needs done, like I mentioned in the last post.
And since we can’t get away with hiding the dirty rascals under the bed, and I can’t bring myself to switch to all disposable items, we’ve had to figure out a way to make dishwashing work for our family of 7 when we don’t have a dishwasher.
What Hasn’t Worked for Us
We’ve tried a few different approaches to managing the sinkloads of dishes that just haven’t worked well for us.
Having Our Children Wash Them
I wish this worked better for us! I’m a big fan of expecting children to work around the house, but when we made them our dish washers, things didn’t go well.
- Dishes were often left with food residue.
- Dishes were often left with soap residue.
- Dishes were often broken.
The last reason was really the tipping point for us giving up on our children being the dishwashers. I rarely use plastic in my kitchen, and glass items were often dropped when they were slippery with soap.
Until they are a little older and have larger hands, we’ve decided to put a hold on them washing dishes. If we don’t have a dishwasher in a year or so, we’ll probably give this another trial.
Saving Them for the End of the Day
You can probably imagine what the result of this method was.
Mount Dishmore was so massive by the end of the day that it was utterly overwhelming.
I have to be honest and admit that sometimes, on really crazy days, dishes occasionally aren’t done until the very end of the day, but we typically make sure that doesn’t happen.
Doing Them After Every Time the Sink Is Full
I’m not a great multitasker when it comes to doing different jobs from different roles at the same time. I have to stay focused on one area of my life at a time.
If I try doing dishes after every meal, snack, and food prep time, I get stuck into cleaning mode and have trouble refocusing on the rest of our day. This method might work well for some, but it just doesn’t for me.
What Has Worked for Us
Instead of doing them all at the end of the day, or every time the sink is full, or just having our littles do it, here’s what we’ve found helps us stay on top of dishes.
- My son puts all the clean dishes away in the morning before we eat breakfast. It’s his special “Ways to Help” job from his weekly checklist.
- I let the dishes pile up after breakfast and lunch, and I don’t worry about them. I’m homeschooling, and I try to focus on that.
- Before I make dinner for the night, I wash the day’s dishes. Then I work on dinner.
- Dinner prep and dinner dishes pile up, and we wash them after we eat while the previously washed dishes are put away.
- Any other dishes that accumulate through the evening are washed before bed, typically piled up on the clean ones already drying.
Sometimes this doesn’t work out they way I’d like, but when we keep up on washing dishes at those 2 or 3 key times of the day, they aren’t as terrible as they could be.