Two different styles
Here’s how I load the dishwasher: load all of the cups first, then the bowls, then the plates, then larger cooking items (like pots or pans), then utensils. I make sure every item is in the exact right position so that I can fit the maximum number of items in the dishwasher. I’ll spend several minutes rearranging items so that every single thing in the sink or on the table will fit. When I go to run the dishwasher, it is jam-packed. There’s no room for even one more spoon!
Here’s how Riley loads the dishwasher: he takes whatever’s in the sink, spaces it out throughout the dishwasher, and runs it. If something doesn’t fit easily, or it would take moving around other items to make it fit, it stays in the sink until the next load. Riley’s dishwasher loads are at least a third less full than mine–if not half as full!
When we first got married (and moved in together), this drove me a little batty. I would stand next to Riley as he loaded the dishwasher and coach him. “If you move that bowl and shift that cup to the right, the mug will fit. And then you’ll have room for three more bowls over there!” Those days ended shortly thereafter…because it turns out that Dishwashing Coaches are both unnecessary and very annoying in a marriage. Who knew?
Less is so much more
Often, less really is more. Less dishes in the dishwasher means less time loading it, less time unloading it, and less of a headache overall. Theoretically, it means that each dish gets cleaner too. Riley dishwashers are far simpler and easier than mine. (This isn’t a commentary on water usage–I win that one! 😉 )
This post isn’t really about dishwashers
Though I wouldn’t put it past myself to write an entire post about dishwashers (I love writing about homemaking), this post isn’t actually about dishwashers. The way Riley loads a dishwasher is a great illustration of one way of living; my way illustrates another.
To me, the way Riley loads a dishwasher is the perfect illustration of the way I want to fill my life. I don’t want a jam-packed life. I don’t want to wear the badge of busy. I don’t want to spend endless time and energy constantly shuffling my schedule around so that I can fit every. single. thing. in it. I want my life to be full of good things, not packed with every thing.
We live in a more-more-more culture. Nothing is ever enough. Contentment is a foreign word. We’re encouraged to eat more healthy foods, exercise more, travel more, make more money, socialize more, travel more, decorate more, buy more, spend more…more, more, more! (This is exactly the way I load the dishwasher–cram everything in until it fits, dangit!)
No one will guard your time for you
I used to have a professional mentor who often reminded me of this truth: no one will guard your time for you. No one is going to look at your calendar and take things off it. No one is going to look at your to-do list and remove tasks. No one is going to simplify your schedule, create proverbial white space for you, or say no to new projects.
You have to guard your own time.
You have to be the one who refuses to jam-pack your dishwasher and life. If you need a season of rest, you have to be the one to carve it out. It’s never easy, but it can be done!
Simplifying our life
After getting back from my sister’s wedding in late August, both Riley and I felt a strong pull to stay home this fall and not plan any travel until Christmastime. We talked about September, October, November, and most of December, and decided that we would not make out-of-town plans for those months.
It’s a good thing we made this decision upfront, because we have already had to turn down three different weekend trip opportunities. All three trips would be great, enjoyable, and fun…but all three would take significant time and energy to prepare for, go on, and unwind from.
Saying no to good things is challenging. The people-pleaser in me hates it! But I know that we need to settle in for a few months and rest after a fast-paced summer. As Gretchen Rubin always says, future me will be thankful. In January, I’ll feel grounded and well-rested, which will allow me to jump into 2018 with excitement and energy!
Although I’ll likely continue to load our literal dishwasher so it’s completely full and packed, I’m working on making sure I don’t treat my life and schedule the same way. What about you?
// How do YOU load your dishwasher–literally and figuratively?
PS- This post isn’t about marriage, but if it was, I’d say to let your husband load the dishwasher (and do other household chores) any way he wants! It really, really doesn’t matter. Take it from me. 😉
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Oh, my! I love this post, Blair! In our family, we constantly refer to this type of thing as prioritizing our time. And it is HARD! Especially with teenage kids who are involved in many (good) activities! Recently, my son had a youth worship team practice scheduled for a Sunday afternoon. It’s a good thing, right? However, it was scheduled during a time that our family had prioritized as family time. Sunday afternoons are often the only “down” time we get during a week, and we cherish it. My husband chatted with the youth director at church and said our son wouldn’t be practicing on Sunday afternoons as that’s prioritized as family time. It’s so hard, but if we don’t set priorities, we will never have down time. SO many things are fighting for our time as adults, as teens, and as families. We need to protect our time. I’m with you, girl! I’m proud of you and Riley for sticking to your plans of NOT making plans during these months! I know how tough it can be, yet how necessary! Way to go!!!!
Grady Katherine Savage says
Everything about this post is awesome. I’m working on getting better at loading my life less, which has provided ROI like I never could’ve imagined. I’m still a little busy-busy-busy, but it’s more to my liking since I’m much more selective with my projects and time.
I’m probably in the middle of you two as far as the literal dishwasher, by the way. Chris is MUCH more like your method, but it’s more important to me that it gets DONE than everything is perfectly full. I will move things around to try to make them fit, though – I’m just not too stressed about getting EVERYTHING in there if it’s going to be a trial. And YES! If your spouse is getting a chore done, less focus on how is always key, I’ve found! 😉
Sara | Mrs. Imperfect says
I had to laugh when I read the title of this post because our first argument after getting married was over the dishwasher and how we load it differently.
It’s so difficult. I’m a counseling student who also works full-time and really take time for myself has been squeezed out recently and I only just realized it. Thanks for always talking about slowing down. it’s so imporant.
Love this post! I personally think of the dishwasher as a puzzle that you can “win” by arranging things juuuust right, but my husband is in the Riley camp and just chucks things in!
Really appreciate the thoughts on being mindful of your time and learning to say no. Especially with the busy holiday season coming up, it’s important to sort of catch your breath and just take a step back. I like the idea of just settling in for a bit to get relaxed and recharged.