Before you get too excited and start shouting "I'm never doing the dishes again!" this post isn't about never doing your dishes. Because that would be extremely gross! But I really think you should feel guilt-free if your breakfast plate doesn't get clean until later. I was obsessive about washing and drying my dishes after every single meal and I slowly realized it decreased my overall efficiency.
Nowadays, I worry less and you should too. Here's why:
There are Better Things to Do
Your to-do list is long and never-ending, right? I can relate because I have the same problem. And every time I look at those plates I think, "It'll only take a few seconds to wash them and then I won't have to worry about them!"
But you and I know that's not necessarily true! It's a few minutes here and a few minutes there. I find that I lose momentum in completing my to-do list if I interrupt my focus to wash a few spoons, even for a "few minutes."
Your Kids are More Important
"Hold on a second, I'm finishing these up." We've all said it to our kids at some point. And yes there are situations where, seriously, they need to just chill for one second. But for dishes? Are they really more important than taking the time to be present with your little ones?
Yes, you've already read The Hungry Caterpillar four times. But they're not going to ask you for the rest of their lives. They can only snuggle in your lap for so many years. Drop that dishcloth and go play with your kids!
Your Guests are More Important
Like I said in the beginning, I washed my dishes after every single meal. It's not uncommon and it's not crazy by any means!
When I spent my first holiday with my in-laws I was confused as to why we all didn't go into the kitchen and start washing and drying as soon as we were done eating. We're family after all, aren't we supposed to help clean up? But they wanted to sit and chat and left the dishes for later. I just kept thinking, "This is so weird...and incredibly refreshing!"
Holidays and get-togethers are about spending time together. NOT spending time in the kitchen cleaning up! Enjoy your dessert and pack the leftovers later.
They'll Be There Tomorrow
There will always always ALWAYS be dishes! You're still eating aren't you? You'll need plate for that sandwich, won't you? If you don't clean them this afternoon, you can catch them after the next meal.
It's Good to Eat In
Every time I see my dishwasher half full of dirty plates I think, "Good! We haven't been eating out!" I wrote about how much money we save from eating inand seeing extra dirty dishes is a good sign, not a bad one.
I'm not sure who created the rule that you have to clean your dishes after every meal but I'm sure even they got sick of that schedule. It's important to get to your chores done but there's always something more pressing to do in the busy afternoon.
Nobody feels comfortable around a host who ignores them or a parent who has better things to do than hang out with them. Spend time with your family and friends and give yourself permission to not feel guilty about it!
Do you clean your dishes after every meal? Do you think it helps or hurts your efficiency in getting things done?