Use a dish bowl to keep your sink clear of dirty dishes

Screen shot 2013-04-10 at 10.42.59 AMUpon discussing things you can do to keep your house habitable when you're busy, Homie Mich introduced us to her great dish idea:

When I lived in an apartment without a dishwasher I had a washing up bowl under the sink to put dirty plates in until I washed them so my sink was always clear and useable.

I could stash my dirty dishes out of sight, leaving my sink free for any other uses, and just wash up every couple of days once the bowl was full. (I also always rinsed food particles off dishes first so that it didn't stink while under the sink.)

I can't tell you how annoying it is to have a sink full of dishes and no time to wash them — leaving a practically un-usable sink for days on end. Mich, I could kiss you. But instead, I shall just clear space for a dish bowl under my sink!

  1. Just one piece of advice. Never, ever ever ever, think it is a good idea to put just a little bit of water in there with the dishes.
    It will seem like a good idea: "oh, I'll just let these soak for a bit then wash them" then you will forget about it. Then two days later you will have a container of dirty dishes soaking in cold water with a grease scum on top. It will stink, you will be tempted to throw away the whole mess rather than wash those dishes.
    Now I'm having flashbacks to college life and must go obsessively clean something to remind myself that I am a grown up now.

    9 agree
    • Or, like, yaknow. A week later you look under the sink and–oops–there's hair growing.

      For anyone a little slow to get to the dishes (like me), it might be smart to use one of those plastic dish drainers for this purpose. That way, the liquid drips off the plates and stands a chance of evaporating.

    • Yup. Lots and lots of nasty pests. The thought of reaching under the sink and getting out that bowl just makes me squirm because I know something nasty would be crawling around in there, especially in an apartment complex where you don't have a lot of control about the pests coming in from other apartments.

      The only way I could think of to avoid it would be to thoroughly rinse the dishes off before I put them under the sink, but if I'm going to go to that trouble, I'd rather just wash the dishes and put them away right then.

      17 agree
  2. i'll accept my kiss now Megan

    nope, never had any problems with mice or ants – as i said i scraped/rinsed food particles off most of the time

    2 agree
  3. I. LOVE. THIS. IDEA.

    My husband and I are always fighting over dishes in the sink. I HATE not being able to use my sink because there are dishes piled up in it, and my husband HATES having a counter full of dishes, so we're constantly bickering about it. 😛 This is the solution! Thank you! (And if you get an airtight container, I don't see how pests would become a problem.)

    2 agree
    • I have been using a dish basin for a while now! A real life saver especially with big parties. No one knows they just think your fast at doing dishes lol then you just pull them out when u r ready to do dishes the next day. I made the mistake once of telling people though. Won't give away my secret anymore until someone is in need of help 🙂 life saver for me a family of 6

      1 agrees
  4. I would SO be the 'out of site out of mind' person and open it up a week later to get some soap or something and…. oops.

    But I have been doing almost the same thing with my dirty laundry. I throw it all in my closet and shut the door. I never reliably use hampers and piles of dirty clothes just beckon to my gross cats to pee on. But if I throw them in the closet I have to SEE them at least twice a day, and eventually get sick enough of the sight of piles to do the laundry (which is a chore I actually love anyway). Works much better that my previous system of 'throw it somewhere near the hamper'.

    11 agree
  5. Maybe keeping it under the sink won't work for everyone long term, but using the dish pan is a great idea anyway, even if you leave it in or near the sink. Then you can easily take the whole thing out to use the sink, then put it back in.

    Also it sounds like it would be especially great for the short term, like when you are cooking dinner for guests. You can throw prep dishes or pots and pans in there and stash the whole thing under the sink to tidy up the kitchen. I've heard of stashing dirty pots and pans in the oven, but I know I would forget about them there and accidentally preheat it with them still in there!

    6 agree
    • I did that. Lost a heap of Rubbermaid containers. Now I use my bathtub and close the curtain.

      4 agree
  6. I cook way too much for this to be useful. 3 meals a day from scratch + snacks = way too many dishes to fit under the sink.

    Blender+couple pots+a pan+cutlery+wooden spoons+prep knife+a bowl or two+a plate or two+a mug+a glass is my daily dishes…and that's if I don't have anyone over.

    Might be good for a person who lives alone who doesn't cook much. If you have maybe 2 plates and a mug and some cutlery per day, I could see stashing dishes for a couple days.

    I wish I had a dishwasher SO bad! Where's the post on how to cook all day and dirty as many dishes as you want yet never have to wash them? >_<

    14 agree
  7. I did something similar when I lived alone. I had a plastic container with holes (basket-style) that fit perfectly in my sink. I'd keep my dishes in the container, so that when I needed the sink, I could just lift the container out and put it on the counter, then put it back. I didn't have much counter space, so it was a life-saver.

    Now, my two roommates and I produce too many dirty dishes to leave for very long. Not being able to get to the sink to fill up the water filter is a good motivation to finally clean.

    3 agree
  8. I use a basin under the sink. I have four boys and 1 husband..sometimes they help with complaints and other times they don't. I have no dishwasher. I read once that in the old days it was very comman to use a wash basin under the sink. So I Wash as I go but when I get really busy towards end of day and I'm tired without help, I throw dishes in the dish basin under sink and do them the next day in the morning.

    1 agrees
  9. I think I might have to start doing this! I hate dishes and they always end up piling up and looking gross, and we have an open plan kitchen/living room so unexpected visitors can always see them.
    I'm also an out of sight, out of mind person, but we have so few dishes that we'll run out soon enough and HAVE to wash them.
    I hate dishes, though, and we have such a tiny kitchen that we'll never have space for a dish washer. I'd love a post on more dish washing hacks!

  10. It is okay to place a few glasses or bowls in one side of my double sink…but nobody better mess up my working side ha ha!! Better yet, the dishwasher is right there…go the extra step. Mom of family of 4.

  11. You are a life saver, thank you!

    Lately I have been *so* effin' tired with dirty dishes sitting in the sink. Sometimes I just can't bother with it since I have stuff to do, and I'm chronically ill (so I need to save lots of energy so I can recover and enjoy my day).

    I also recently moved from the family "nest" (where there was a double kitchen sink – so with 2 sides to wash & rinse).

    Now I'm stuck with one, and so far I couldn't figure a way to stash my dirty dishes away until I had the time/energy to get to them.

    And I was also very tired of rinsing so much and not getting my dishes clean due to lack of space.

    That must've been the biggest offense so far, haha :).

    Plus, it's an open kitchen, so people who come over can *see* my stuff in the sink and I *hate* that.

    Makes me look like a slob, urgh!

    I happen to have one of those bowls you speak of but it's filled with stuff. I do have some bigger containers (with handles!) right under my sink that I use to store kitchen utensils in.

    I'm about to go clean out this one container and stuff it with any dirty dishes I haven't gotten to yet.

    Will save me quite a bit of (rinsing) water as well.

    I like your idea of scrubbing off any food scraps; it makes perfect sense to do that so as to keep the dishes somewhat clean.

    Thank you once again! ♥

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