A friend of mine and I both live alone. You’d think it’d be simple to keep up on dishes for just one person, but we both have found ourselves struggling with dirty dishes piling up in the sink and on the counter. I started paying attention to my actions in the kitchen, and I may have found the answer(s) to my dishes situation.
- I realized I wasn’t emptying the dishwasher right away after it was done running its cycle. The dishwasher would sit full of clean dishes, thus not allowing me to place new dirty dishes into the dishwasher. So the new dirties ended up in the sink. “I’ll get to the dishwasher later.” When I finally did make the effort to get caught up on dishes, not only did I need to fill the dishwasher with new dirties, I also had to empty it of the clean dishes first, making the chore that much bigger (and less likely to be done).
- When I’d finish a meal, I’d walk over to the sink and think, “It’s just one plate (cup, fork, bowl, whatever), so I’ll just set it down here by the sink and get to it later.” Several meals later of “waiting until later,” I would end up with a good amount of dishes piling up in the sink or on the counter. The easiest thing is putting it into the empty dishwasher, but since that usually hasn’t been option (see #1 above), how hard is it to handwash a single plate, cup, and fork? Yeah, you guessed it, “I’ll get to it later.”
When I had three kids and a husband at home, we needed to keep up on the dishes, because if we didn’t, we’d run out of clean dishes completely after just a couple of meals. Plus there were extra hands working on the chore, not just me. But living alone, there’s no worry that I’m going to run out of dishes, so it became easier to just put off the dishes until later.
My friend is also going through a similar situation of not having anyone else in the house after 18 years of other people using the dishes, too. It really is a different ballgame when you’re taking care of one person rather than a family. And if you’ve been trained over years and years of feeding a crowd, feeding and cleaning up after one person is more difficult than I would’ve thought.
I may write a short series of posts about some of the changes that happen when you suddenly find yourself living alone or with an empty nest for the first time. Any interest? This dishes scenario would be Part One.
Anyone else out there struggle with dishes or other kitchen-related chores? Any tips you’ve found helpful? Or particular problems you face?
Maybe we can all brainstorm in the comment section about dishes. I know I’d appreciate hearing other people’s tips/ideas.