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Kitchen Tips & Tricks – How to Reduce Dirty Dishes

Reduce the amount of time you spend doing dishes with these simple kitchen tips and tricks!

AnnMarie and I have shared some of the ways that we’re alike, but after reading her post about her daily drinks, I was struck by some of the ways we’re different!

One of our big differences?

She loves to clean up her kitchen and do dishes.

Meanwhile, I despise washing dishes.

Like, hate is not a strong enough word…

It’s a cruel twist that I love to cook and create new recipes!

I’m also a dedicated meal planner when it comes to dinners, while AnnMarie tends to plan on the fly.

For now, I’m grateful for my dishwasher.

That Time When I Didn’t Have a Dishwasher

True confession time. Things are about to get real.

You may decide you don’t want to be friends with me anymore.

Because this is embarrassing.

When Kevin and I first got married, we lived in the upstairs apartment of an old house.

The kitchen had metal cabinets and not all the doors closed.

Peeling linoleum flooring.

And of course, there was no dishwasher.

We were lucky to have a working stove and fridge!

Washing dishes was not at the top of our priorities.

We both worked full time and then some, and I had almost an hour and a half commute each way to Washington, D.C.

Since we were newly married, we had a lot of new dishes for just the two of us.

We didn’t have to wash dishes after every meal.

Usually, the day’s dishes were washed every evening.


There was a time when we went several days without washing them.

Days, y’all.

It might’ve been close to a week…

I’m not sure why?

We weren’t total pigs.

We did rinse them.

And stack them neatly to be washed later.

I’m thinking as the pile got higher we each hoped the other would cave and wash them?

Of course, eventually, we ran out of clean dishes.

And pots and pans.

Our counters were covered with dirty dishes.

We looked at each other and busted out laughing! Mark this up as an adulting fail.

Then, my hubby had a brilliant idea…

We could carry all those dirty dishes to the bathroom where we had a huge claw foot tub and wash them in there!

Because there was a sprayer with the shower head.

It took us a while to get everything washed, dried, and put back away.

The bathtub had to be cleaned afterward too.

Yes, we did learn our lesson!

But I still really dislike washing dishes.

Kitchen Tips to Reduce Your Dirty Dishes

Anywho! Back to the point.

Even though I’ve got a dishwasher, I still use some creative tricks to reduce how many dishes need to be washed.

After all, with a family of 5, it’s easy to dirty more dishes in a day than will fit in that dishwasher.

If you’re in my camp and don’t enjoy washing dishes, I hope these kitchen tips will help you too!


Learn to eyeball what certain amounts look like.

I don’t recommend doing this for baking since there’s a little more science with the measurements. 

But, if you’re making a dish that calls for half a cup of yogurt, get a big spoon and see how many scoops it takes to fill your half-cup measure.

In the future, you won’t need to pull out a measuring cup for things like yogurt, mayonnaise, peanut butter, etc.

Just use that same spoon and scoop up approximately the same amount.

I try to err on the side of using a little less than I think I may need.

It’s easy to add a little more if something seems too dry.


If you prefer to use measuring cups or spoons, no worries!

A little planning and some basic math will help your dishpan hands out.

Let’s say you have a recipe that calls for:

  • 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 3 Tablespoons of golden flax seed meal
  • 1 Tablespoon of cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons of erythritol

You can do this entire recipe with accurate measuring and just TWO measuring spoons: a tablespoon and a 1/2 teaspoon.

Always start with dry ingredients before the wet ones.

It’s super easy to eyeball half a measuring spoon or fill a 1/2 spoon several times.

This method takes a little bit of thinking ahead, but it’s second nature for me now.

The Easiest Kitchen Hack

Over time, I noticed that recipes often used the same quantities of certain ingredients.

For instance, almost every recipe I make with cocoa powder uses 1-2 Tablespoons.

My container of chia seeds came with a cute little scoop that was 1 Tablespoon. When I finished that container of chia seeds, I took the little scoop and put it in my cocoa canister!

I still use that same scoop almost 6 years later.

cannister filled with cocoa powder

That got me thinking.

What other ingredients often use the same quantity?

A lot of them, actually.

So I took a trip to the dollar store and bought a few sets of inexpensive measuring spoons to leave in the containers!

I felt like an absolute genius with this little kitchen tip.

A lazy genius, sure, but a genius nonetheless.

square plastic cannister filled with sweetener and a measuring spoon
filled mason jar with chalkboard label

You get the idea. I’m not going to show you every single canister.

Poke a Hole…

I love flavored extracts.

I add them to almost everything I make!

And often the recipe calls for just a few drops.

To easily add extracts, just puncture a small hole in the seal of a new bottle.

bottles of flavored extracts with lids off and holes poked in tops

You can easily add just a few drops!

I learned that one gentle squeeze equals 1/4 teaspoon! 

I don’t measure extracts with a spoon ever now.

Except for vanilla.

Because that stuff got super expensive.

Small Changes Have a Big Impact

These may seem like small steps, and it’s only saving me from washing some measuring spoons and cups.

But when you cook something for nearly every meal, these little steps really do help.

By using fewer measuring spoons I now always have enough room in the dishwasher for the utensils we eat from.

And let’s face it: those are the ones that get germy and need to go through the sani-cycle!

I’d love to hear your tips or tricks for helping with kitchen clean up! Be sure to share them in the comments so everyone can see them too.

If you have any questions or suggestions, contact me.

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