The dilemma of the dishwasher…

The house I grew up in had a dishwasher. It was me. I moved out when I turned 18, but my roommates and I were busy working, going to college, or partying, to ever bother with eating at home, so we never used the dishwasher. The house my dad built for me when I had my first child did not have a built-in dishwasher, so once again I became the dishwasher.

It wasn’t until I was 45 years old and moved to Washington that I finally got a dishwasher other than me.

That’s when the dilemma began.

 With me and my three teenagers all on different schedules, we were never quite sure if the dishes in the dishwasher were clean or dirty.

The main question of the day became “are the dishes in the dishwasher clean or dirty?”

We tried the two sided magnet that said “clean” and “dirty” on either side, but we never really trusted it. We tried putting the dishes away as soon as it was done, but sometimes we weren’t home and then we’d forget. Eventually dishes would pile up on the counter again, and the kitchen would be a mess that no one wanted to clean.

This dilemma has been going on for many years, even after my kids started having their own kids, because sometimes life’s circumstances require us to share living spaces with each other.  Last July was one of those times.

My son’s roommates were friends of his father who are actually older than me by 10 and 20 years. Their health began to decline and they had to go into a nursing home, leaving all of their belongings with him. I moved in to help with his rent, so with all of my stuff added into the mix, it was really a complicated mess.

The kitchen area was a big problem. I didn’t want to be his mom and clean up after him, but he was used to someone else cleaning the kitchen. His roommates, after all, had nothing else to do but cook and clean.

So, we hired a woman to help clean and organize the house because it was just too overwhelming.

When I got home from work that night, the dishes were stacked and ready to go in the dishwasher, and I noticed a rectangular plastic bin on the counter full of silverware.  I thought it was a good idea…put them in the bin as I rinse the dishes and load the dishwasher, take out the silverware basket, put in the silverware, put the basket in the dishwasher, and turn it on. I have two herniated discs, and it really lessened the strain on my back.

Then it occurred to me that I could use the silverware bin as the “dishwasher is clean/dirty” answer! If there are dishes but no silverware in the dishwasher, that means the dishes are dirty because the silverware is put in last. If there is silverware in the dishwasher, that means the dishes are clean and can be put away.

This might seem like a no-brainer to some, but to me it was a revelation! We have managed to keep the kitchen cleaner than ever before, with hardly any effort, and there’s no “whose turn is it to clean the kitchen?”

I thought I’d share this in case there are others with the same dishwasher dilemma, because now I am a very happy girl with a very clean kitchen…and happiness is something that should always be shared!


Please do! Just be sure to include this complete blurb with it:

My name is Laura Mozer Davis, and I was born over half a century ago. My life’s journey has included raising three children as a single parent while caring for my parents who both became disabled during the last 10 years of their lives. Now that my children are grown and my parents have passed into the next part of their journey, I finally have time for me to grow as a person, not as just a care-giver. What I am learning, however, is that my destiny is to always be a care-giver. When I started writing for The Daily Sisterhood blog, I realized that I was to continue my care-giving through my writing. If my words help even just one person find either solace or joy, I know my life continues to have meaning.


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