Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dozens of Dirty Dishes...

Ugh... my dishwasher broke 17 days ago (not that I'm counting...) and I'm up to my neck in dirty dishes every day! Don't worry - I am not going to advocate that we all give up our dishwashers. I'm definitely willing to spend some energy on that appliance and, besides, with all the hot water and dish soap I'm using, I'm fairly certain hand-washing is not a better alternative.
What I have learned (other than the fact that it takes a very long time to get a repairman to my house and even longer to order new parts) is that my family uses a lot of dishes! We had been happily humming along at just one dishwasher load each evening, but with the kids back in school (lots of small snack containers for school) and one extra person temporarily added to our family, we were suddenly needing to run the dishwasher more than once a day. Once I started hand-washing those dishes, I really started noticing.

Even if you do have a dishwasher - and, currently, I'm very jealous - who wants all those dishes? So, here are my tips for making less dishes, which makes for less full loads, and less work!

* Consider the containers you send to school with kids. I haven't resorted to plastic baggies, but I am going to invest in some of those cool Bento boxes that let me pack multiple snacks in one dish. Anyone have a good recommendation?

* Stop the flow of glasses - make the kids (and adults!) keep track of their drinking glasses so they don't use 5 separate glasses by the end of the day.

* Use a single dish for mixing, serving, and storing. I've been guilty of making food in one dish, serving it in another, and then storing leftovers in a third dish.
* Serve from the stove, rather than transferring dinner into another dish.

* And, don't forget... kids can wash dishes too!

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