For The Love of ..... Loading the Dishwasher

Raise your hand, readers, if you reload the dishwasher after your spouse does. My hand is raised. I'm no domestic diva but I have a system for dishwasher loading optimization and it works.


I recently blogged about my love for laundry, how it feeds my deep-seated compulsion for order and organization, how much I enjoy converting a smelly disorganized hamper-full of dirty clothes into fragrant, neatly folded piles. A few of you called me weird. I get it, that’s cool. But it also sparked a lot of empathy and discussion among readers.

And so this brings me to the topic of loading the dishwasher, another contentious topic methinks, especially among married couples. Raise your hand, readers, if you reload the dishwasher after your spouse does. My hand is raised. The Boston Globe even wrote about the marital strife that the dishwasher causes.

Bottom-line, I have a system and it works.

On the top deck:

  • cups and mugs on one side, handles all facing the same direction
  • big drinking glasses on the other side
  • kids drinking glasses in one row
  • bowls, lunch boxes and other random plastic items in the middle –  but arranged to make optimal use of space


On the bottom deck:

  • plates of the same size, stacked all in the same direction
  • silverware sorted by type
  • bowls, dishes, lids, other utensils around them -  but arranged to make optimal use of space


This, my friends, is not rocket science. Note the phrase “optimal use of space.” For the life of me, I cannot understand why some people throw everything haphazardly? There is absolutely no rhyme or reason to it. And while I’m pointing the finger mostly at you, men of the world, the fact is that I also know of some women who are dishwasher-challenged. (You really must check out this funny card on the topic!)

But let’s get back to the enjoyment factor. When the sink is full and the counter is littered with the detritus of dinner, I get deep pleasure from opening the empty dishwasher, assessing the mess and then methodically organizing and loading. It is always a titillating challenge to try to fit as much as humanly possible into the machine, while not overloading it and rendering the cleaning ineffective.

Equally pleasing, though at first mighty annoying, is opening the dishwasher to find that a certain someone has already filled it, kind of. After an initial sigh, the process of reorganizing and reloading ensues and, lo and behold, another 50 percent more stuff can fit in there. And, because there is organization, the unloading and putting away process is equally efficient.

Call me OCD, call me a control freak. And I reassure you I am NO domestic diva. But I have this strong inkling that you get my drift, am I right?

Several months back, I wrote about the importance of teaching your kids resourcefulness (so that ultimately you can get them to do stuff for you.) My goal is to teach my son how to load the dishwasher efficiently. If I do it right, then not only will I have to load the dishwasher less but I’ll be setting him up for future household (and marital) bliss!


Samantha McGarry is a working Mom, juggling career, family and her household one crazy day at a time - with a smile on her face. You can find more of her blogs over at Keeping the Glass Half Full.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Gary Kelley October 12, 2012 at 12:22 PM
I believe a well loaded dishwasher yields clean dishes AND optimal unloading times. I find loading an engineering "challenge" requiring full attention while unloading is a task. If there are still dirty dishes after the cycle....the loading was a "fail."
Samantha McGarry October 12, 2012 at 01:43 PM
I like the way you think, Gary!
Kim Comatas October 16, 2012 at 09:56 PM
I believe if you can pack a car well, you should be able to do the same with the dishwasher. I'm raising my hand. And I'd follow that with putting items into cabinets and clothes into drawers. Ain't brain surgery people!
Noyes Parent October 16, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Yes! When loading one should think about two factors- cleanliness and ease of unloading. I mostly load and "fix" what others have loaded. Unloading is a task for small children.
Samantha McGarry October 17, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Hi Kim. Re-clothes into drawers, see my earlier post about laundry (there's a theme here!) And funnily enough, I too can pack a car really well. I inherited that from my Dad who incidentally has also made precision dishwasher loading a science. Guess it's in my DNA! Thanks for commenting!


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