But unless I want to find myself on an episode of Hoarders entitled Dirty Dishes Left in the Sink for Over Twenty Years, they must be done. And so I do them, begrudgingly.
Another reason I do them? Because I like having a clean kitchen. Actually, I love having a clean kitchen! And everybody knows that dirty dishes simply don't exist in a clean kitchen.
But if a clean kitchen isn't a good enough reason for you to get your dishes done as soon as possible, here are a few other reasons that just might convince you!
5 Reasons Your Dishes Should Be Done Immediately
1. Keeping up is better than catching up
Have you heard that wonderful phrase before? It's something I have to remind myself of all the time because I never actually want to keep up with things.
When it comes to dishes, which is easier? Rinsing off the mashed potatoes right after you eat and putting the plate in the dishwasher, or waiting several hours and scrubbing with all your might to get the dried potatoes—which have magically transformed into some sort of powerful glue-like substance—off the plate?
I hope that the answer is obvious, and if it isn't, I have a couple plates of dried-on mashed potatoes for you to wash.
Doing the dishes is 10 times easier and about 20 times faster if you do them immediately (I totally came up with those numbers through a very scientific method). While it is tempting to just stick your lunch dishes in the sink (and I do), a few extra minutes now is so much better than a few extra hours later.
2. It's healthier—and more pleasant
You think cleaning out your casserole dish is bad right after dinner? Leave it in your sink a couple days. Bacteria and mold will have had time to grow, and with them will come a nice stench, and you'll STILL have to clean it. We won't even discuss things like fruit flies or roaches or maggots that can infest old, smelly dishes.
You can't hide dirty dishes in the sink for long! The smell will give you away pretty quickly. Do them now, and everyone's noses and maybe their immune systems will thank you for it.
The best part? You won't gag when you finally get around to loading the dishwasher.
3. It will save you money
The extra water and cleaning product needed to get those gluey mashed potatoes cleaned up will cost you more moolah. Also, I'm sure you've heard people tell you that time is money, so you're eating it up that way, too. Who wants to clean out a hardened and moldy casserole dish when you could be making money—or at least doing something much more enjoyable? Not me!
4. Unexpected guests? No problem
I used to live in a house where you could clearly see my kitchen sink from the front door. Whoever thought that was a great idea, I don't know, but more and more homes have this feature due to the popularity of open floor plans.
Nothing was more embarrassing than having somebody show up at my door only to be greeted (assaulted is probably a better word) by my sink full of stinky, smelly, dirty dishes.
Even though my kitchen sink can no longer be seen from my front door, it's still nice to know that I can invite friends in without the possibility of them having to see dishes piled in the sink.
5. It teaches your kids responsibility
While breakfast and lunch dishes are fairly easy for me to do immediately, the dinner dishes always seem overwhelming. I don't know if it's because The Maestro uses every dish in the house to make his magical gourmet meals, if it's because the entire family just ate, or if it's because I'm just exhausted from the day—those dinner dishes scream at me to let them sit overnight.
But wait! I have children, and I have them for a reason—so they can do the dishes so I don't have to! The dinner dishes are a great time to teach children responsibility, cleanliness, and all about how doing the dishes now is 100 times better than doing them later. It really isn't difficult for each member of the family to rinse their own plates, utensils, and drinking cups and put them in the dishwasher. And even if you don't have a dishwasher (I just got one this year!), it's not hard for them to completely wash their own dishes and put them in the drainer.
The dishes used to make the meal should either be done by the cook while they are cooking (best case scenario) or done by one or all of the kids after dinner. Let them learn responsibility—and also let them learn what happens when the potatoes turn into magical glue, it's good for them.
As for the dishwasher, I aim to run a load each night (we usually fill it with one day's worth of dishes) and unload it in the morning. The unloading and putting away of dishes is another good job to assign to your children before they head to school.
Even if you don't mind a messy kitchen, this habit is so time-saving. Don't catch up—keep up!
Small Habit: Do your dishes immediately after eating.
Big Difference: Save time, save money, and teach your kids responsibility.
This post is part of my Small Habits That Will Make a Big Difference 30 day challenge. To see all of the posts in this series, click here. Or, join the challenge and receive a daily email with a new small habit that can affect your life in a big way.
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