“The key to truly, fully, embracing the joy of the dishwashing experience is the same for most things in life – preparation and organization.” ~ Kimberly Cave
Here’s what I recommend you need:
1) Time – at least a little. Washing dishes in a rush is no fun.
2) Music…. or a movie you’ve seen a million times. Dancing while standing at a sink is actually quite pleasant. It’s a whole new dance experience!! Also, the “singing in the shower” sensation is somewhat replicated when singing over a tub of water.
3) The dishes. Collect them from all rooms, stovetop, microwave, other counters, etc. Organize them. After this step, I often stop. A pile of organized dishes can sit contentedly on my counter for days without frustrating me into action. Dirty or clean, organized dishes are quite tolerable. Glasses lined up at the back along the window or vertically behind the plates (which are stacked biggest to smallest) with the bowls on top of them. Cutlery should be put into a tall glass, all pointing in the same direction. Tupperware can be stacked after all glassware and, farthest from the sink – pots and pans.
4) Bare arms. Roll your sleeves to above the elbow or ensure the cuffs are actually tight enough to stay put if you push them up. There’s nothing more frustrating that trying to push up your sleeves with your hips resembling Mr. Treadgold trying to hitch up his pants with his elbows in Science 9.
5) A full sink – to your personal specifications. Yes, rolling sleeves before this step is important. Checking water temperature, swirling the soap around, and soaking the dishcloth all require wet hands and bare arms! You should always fill your own sink. My mom often thought she’d help me get going on dishes by filling the sink (REALLY filling it to the top) with water straight out of the kettle (at least it seemed that hot) and then proceeded to pile in every single dish effectively rendering it impossible to touch a dish let alone clean it. Fill your own sink.
6) The correct order – somewhat to your personal specifications.
a) Silverware or Cutlery. There are a number of options when it comes to cutlery. If you have a deep enough sink (non-existent in Australia) you can toss them in (excluding sharp knives and wooden spoons) and let them bang around like in a rock tumbler until they’re clean without any need for wiping. Alternatively, you can leave them until the bitter end in the hopes that someone else will take over and wash them for you. I hate silverware. In the case that no suckers are around to wash your silverware, it becomes a first or last just-get-it-done pain in the ass.
b) Glassware. Three reasons for all daily-use breakables to be first. One, you definitely want clean, soapy, hot water to wash your lip-touching glasses and food-touching plates and bowls. Secondly, plates don’t “stack” well on top of tupperware. And third, dish baskets are pleasantly designed for them to go first. Plates, bowls, then glasses. Or glasses then bowls depending on number and your house-of-cards building skills. For this part of the process, a full stack of one kind of dish can enter the sink at a time. All plates, all bowls, etc. Just don’t get your glasses rolling around crashing into the bowls from which you’re trying to scrub the cemented milk and cereal from three days ago.
c) Tupperware – a rinse and into the dishwasher for a second run if the water’s getting a little grimy.
d) Pots and pans – also get the rinse treatment in the grimy lukewarm water. Fill a new, hot sinkful of water special for the pots and pans if the water’s no good. Either way, it’s the end of the dishes. Success!
7) Countertops – the finishing touch! Admire the strategically stacked sparkling pile of clean and wipe the counters. Perfection!
So, that’s my method for washing dishes. It varies slightly – some days it’s more a “mom” style of washing, some days it’s full-on “dad” dishes. On my more frazzled days I go straight for Courtney’s method and “just get it done.”