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One Trick To Cut Down On Dirty Dishes

One Trick To Cut Down On Dirty Dishes

Last week I cracked. Or at least that’s what my kids said when they saw me packing up our dishes. Thinking back I’m sure I probably looked like a mad woman as I stuffed a box with the bulk of the dishes we own and throwing out the ones that were not in great shape. So what caused me to “crack”? A sink full of dishes, after every meal, every single day. I was tired of it.

Technically, I shouldn’t be slaving over dishes if everyone kept up with washing their own. Realistically, that didn’t always happen. Actually it almost never happened. So I thought of a simple solution that has kept my sink empty ever since. No joke.

So what’s the one trick to cut down on dirty dishes? *Drumroll*……I assigned everyone a cup, a small plate, a large plate and a mug. Nothing more.

This one trick has completely rocked my dishwashing world. I simply wrote everyone’s initial on the bottom of each dish which keeps my kids accountable and motivates them to wash their own dish. I’m sure part of the reason is that they know I’ll find out whether or not they left their dirty dish in the sink.


This is what my cabinet looks like now. The bottom two shelves are what we use daily. The top shelf is glassware that is reserved for guests only. We actually didn’t own many dishes to begin with, but for whatever reason the little bit we did own, always seemed to wind up in the sink. All at once. If you want to see what our cabinet used to look like check out this post where I share how to organize your kitchen.

This has seriously cut back my dishwashing time tremendously and I don’t regret my decision at all. My goal is to simplify our lives as much as possible. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to spend the bulk of my day behind a kitchen sink.

Is this something you would consider? Or am I really that “crazy” for cutting back in such a huge way? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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  1. Christina says:

    Oh my gosh, this is brilliant! My kids may also think I’m nuts but the sharply is coming out and everyone will have their own dish set AND towels! Thank you for the great tip.

    • Jesenia Montanez says:

      Thanks Christina! I would love to hear how it goes! 🙂

  2. Deanna says:

    sounds great! I’m going to try it. Although I anticipate one kid dirtying up the other kids’ set of dishes. Lo!

  3. Margaret vanWagner says:

    I saw this exact hint along with the same pictures on another site – are you sure this wasn’t borrowed?

  4. Jennifer says:

    I thought I was the only one who have children who use every dish and towel in the house and then complain about not having a dish they need or a towel to dry off with. This is a brilliant idea! I tried doing the whole pick a kid and do the dishes after dinner, as well as washing their own dishes; to no avail. I will definitely do this on the morning after all the kids go to school in the morning. I will also be buying 6 different colors for towels.

  5. kellie says:

    That’s clever! Now if only we could do this with laundry. It’s my fault. I don’t know why we own as many outfits, socks, and under wear as we do. It’s kind of ridiculous now that I’m looking at it from this perspective. Definitely an area that we xoxo cut back on.

  6. Carrie says:

    I did this but with the towels in my home ! For some reason my four teenagers would use a clean towel or two everyday for their showers or to dry their hands then throw it in the laundry or floor! They would even grab the pool towels. I gave each child two towels (in their own color) and told them if it’s used to dry off with then it doesn’t need to be washed but every 5 or 6 days. Instead of doing a load every day now it’s once a week!

  7. Sunny says:

    we do something similar with towels to cut down on laundry. Everybody has their own color of towel and are only allowed to use their own towel.

  8. Jo says:

    I have more dishes than any person needs on a daily basis. However, family dinners are held at my home and I need the extra stuff. BUT….I am doing this. A set for each person, everything else is going up till needed.
    Thank you for the light bulb.

  9. tasha says:

    I have said so many times I was going to do this!! My kids will use every single dish, cup and piece of silverware instead of washing the item they literally just used. I tried something similar with color coded cereal bowls….didn’t work! When one person used theirs up, they used someone else’s bowls. My question is this, how do you keep them from using up another person’s dish when their dish is dirty? The only way I have found to solve this problem is…each child is assigned certain nights towash all of the dishes!

  10. Tammy says:

    I thought we were the only ones to do this, with 5 kids everyone has to pull their own weight. Kids even have their own color towels, which we switch out twice a week. That means I only wash 14 bath towels a week versus 49 a week. Love the tips, keep them coming!

  11. Tia says:

    Brilliant! I absolutely LOVE this idea!

  12. Love that idea! Dishes are the bane of my existence. Maybe I should try that! 🙂

  13. Emily Grace says:

    Great idea!

  14. This is awesome! I love that the initials make everyone accountable.

  15. Amanda R says:

    Love this, Jesenia! Will definitely remember to do this when my daughter gets older!

  16. Nita says:

    I did this years ago with my now adult children. The only difference is that each child’s dishes was some sort set. Later as they got older, they just did their dishes. 🙂

  17. Erika Marie says:

    I think this is brilliant, & I’ve sort of been doing this. I don’t have many silverware & have kept it that way so that I don’t have to wash a bunch. I started out with only a few dishes but the pile has grown. Maybe I need to pack some away. I’m so tired of my sink & counters being full of dirty dishes!!

  18. Danielle says:

    Lovely idea! I can’t quite do that yet as my kids are babies still, but it sounds like a nice way to hold everyone responsible once they can do their own.

    Of only that’d solve the issue of all these pots and pans… 🙂