Six Organizing Systems Everyone Needs — System #2: Doing Dishes

How well are your organizing systems working for you?

In the introduction to this series I shared the following:

What is a system?
What 6 organizing systems do I think everyone needs?
What 5 questions can you ask yourself to see if your systems are still working for you, or if they need tweaking?

Now let’s take a closer look at each system…

System #2:  Doing Dishes

WHO is responsible for dishes — You? Another family member? Is it a rotating chore in your household?

WHAT are the steps involved — clearing the table, washing the dishes or loading the dishwasher, wiping table and counters, drying dishes, and putting them away? Do you have a handy supply of the dishwashing products your family likes to use? Do you need a new dishpan or new dish cloths and towels to make the chore more pleasant?

WHEN and HOW OFTEN? This depends largely on how many dirty dishes you generate. You can wash them after every meal, or stash them in the dishwasher and run it once a week. But if you don’t take care of them at a pace that suits your family they will pile up and become overwhelming.

WHERE? Is your dish storage handy to the sink or dishwasher? Do cupboards and drawers need to be purged and reorganized to make things easier to put away and find again later? Is there enough clear counter space for meal preparation and for processing dishes? Would it help to remove items from the counters that you don’t use daily?

WHY do you need a system for processing dishes? So everyone has clean dishes to eat from. So the kitchen doesn’t smell bad and attract pests. So the table, sink and counters are not always littered with dirty dishes that nag at you whenever you enter the kitchen. So you can have counter space available for meal preparation and other activities. So you can relax, knowing exactly how and when you’ll get the dishes done!

What are your challenges and tips for getting the dishes done?

Please share in the comments below!

Next System: #3 Launch Pad

Previous System: #1 Doing Laundry

If you need help tweaking your systems, or implementing new ones, ask a friend or call a professional organizer.

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Comments

  1. My mom was pretty obsessed with always leaving the sink dish-free. She wouldn’t go to bed until the dishes were done. And frankly, that held true for how she worked it with every meal (snacks too.) I guess it’s no surprise that she passed that habit on to me. Every once in a while, as a personal rebellion, I let the dishes sit. 🙂 And mainly I do that if the dishwasher needs emptying and I don’t have time to do it at that moment. Or sometimes the dishes will wait if we’ve been entertaining and it’s REALLY late. After a full day of cooking, entertaining, and enjoying our company, there are times I’d rather sleep than empty that sink. But for the most part, I do enjoy a clear sink. Like Janet, my husband and I tag team things.

  2. Dishes used to be the bane of my existence but after working out a system they’ve become less overwhelming. Teaching my kids to help with them means tweaking our system a bit but also means less washing for me 🙂

  3. For busy households, I am a “run the dishwasher every night, empty it every morning” kind of person. I have found now that I am alone most of the time, I can get away with running it once a week… and then it is full of small plates and coffee mugs LOL!

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