The One Habit That Changed My Housekeeping Game

One Habit Changed Everything


If you’ve been coming around for a while you may have a guess as to what this one life-changing habit is. I talk about it again and again on my blog and on social media. 


The one thing I do every day that keeps my house clean and keeps me from getting stressed in the mess of my own home. 


Do you have a guess? I want to hear your guess? 


A load of laundry every day? Well, that is a life-changing habit for sure but not THE habit. 


Decluttering? Well yes… another good habit but not THE habit I’m speaking of. 




Let me paint you a picture first. 


Life Before The One Habit That Changed My Home


I would come home from work and need to start dinner. Breakfast dishes were still in the sink. The stress from a day of work was still weighing on my shoulders and now the stress of a messy house got stacked on top.



I started to cook and the mess would just grow. It had nowhere to go but in the sink and on the countertops. 


I spent precious time cooking that dinner only to have it eaten and gone in less than 10 minutes. 


Then, I would look around at the mess. The mess that wasn’t going away unless we did something about it. And boy was it overwhelming. I mean really?! When was I going to get to sit down? 


So I started the long journey of emptying the dishwasher, packing lunches for the next day, cleaning up last nights dinner, this mornings breakfast, and tonight’s dinner. By the time I was done it was time to go to bed.


There was little time for family and no time for enjoying a show or a good book. 


So What’s the Habit?


Okay, story time is over. I know you are here for one thing and one thing only… to know the one habit that will change your housekeeping game forever. 


Load and run your dishwasher EVERY night. 


That’s it. I’m serious. It’s so simple and makes such a huge impact on so many other areas of your home. If you haven’t tried it… just do it. 


I obviously feel so passionately about this that I am writing a whole blog post about it. I know I could have told you that in one sentence, but I don’t think you quite get it. 


Everyone who reads my blog or listens to me ramble on my Instagram stories, knows I do this every day and that I encourage you to do it as well, but how many people actually do it? Not as many as I thought. 


So here I am, about to tell you every detail about making sure your dishes are cleaned before you wake up in the morning. I want you to see the true benefit in this.


I want you to learn that housekeeping and homemaking don’t have to be stressful and overwhelming. You can enjoy your home and enjoy taking care of it. Declutter and build yourself systems and routines that are simple. It will make your life easier. I promise. 


Starting with this one habit… load your dishwasher and run it every night. No matter what. (Well obviously there are exceptions to this rule. ) 


load your dishwasher every night

This page may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.

What You Need To Make The Job Easier


There are a couple of tools that help me get the dishwasher loaded as fast as possible. 


The OXO soap dispensing scrub brush is THE BEST scrub brush… trust me… I’ve tried them all. Just do a quick rinse, scrub if you have to and toss in the dishwasher. 

I fill this up with Mrs. Meyers Dish Soap. My favorite is the Honeysuckle scent.



Scotch Brite Stainless Steel Scouring Pads are great for my stainless steel pan. They make the job much easier!




These antibacterial sponges are great for the average clean up and don’t scratch my ceramic pans.




6 Reasons You Should Run Your Dishwasher Every Night


It prompts you to clean up the whole kitchen before bed.



Making yourself load up the dishwasher before bed also prompts you to check the rest of the kitchen.


I personally, load up the dishes, wipe down the counters, and give the sink a quick rinse. 


It leaves us with a calm and tidy space before bed. 



Related: Kitchen Declutter | Benefits of A Minimalist Kitchen


Waking up to a clean kitchen starts your day with a little less stress.


I REALLY dislike waking up and walking into a kitchen with a sink full of dishes from the night before. It makes me start out my day with a big “ugh! I have so much to do today.” 


But when I load and run my dishwasher every night, I walk into a clean and peaceful kitchen. I cook breakfast, do our bible study, then carry on with our morning chores. It’s a much more peaceful and less rushed morning. 


Plus, I’m not leaving the house, with that sense of dread… “I have to take care of that mess when I get home.”



Related: Morning Cleaning Routine For the Busy Lady


Unload it in the morning for easy clean up during the day.


After breakfast and our morning Bible study, I unload the dishwasher and pack up the breakfast dishes. The dishwasher is now clear and usable, making the rest of the day easier. I can put dishes away as we go instead of leaving them to pile by the sink. 



Keep in mind that these tasks, like unloading the dishwasher every morning, will only take you 5 minutes. This is why I make myself do this, even when I worked outside the home.


Before I rushed out the door, I would force myself to quickly unload the dishwasher. This only took 5 minutes and was so worth it. I came home to a clean kitchen and could let some of the days stress roll off my shoulders. 




Makes dinner clean up faster.


When you load the dishwasher every night you then have the ability to put yourself in the position to make dinner clean up really stinkin easy. 


As I said, try to also unload it every morning. At the very least I make myself unload it before dinner. I never start cooking dinner if I have a dishwasher full of clean dishes. This will only make things harder on me. 



Have the dishwasher in a state where you can put dishes away asap. Done with a measuring cup, throw it in the dishwasher. Finished with that cutting board, put in the dishwasher while the veggies cook up. 


Being able to clean up as you go makes the whole dinner process so much easier. This happens when you run the dishwasher every night so that you can unload it the next day. 


Related: 12 Kitchen Cleaning Hacks for Quick Clean Up



Do it even if it’s a small load


One of the biggest reasons I hear for not doing this is that you just don’t have enough dishes. I get that, I don’t want to promote wasting water or force you to do more work if you truly don’t go through that many dishes in a day. 



But here is what happens to me… I think “we didn’t use that many dishes today. I’ll just run it after dinner tomorrow. ” Then by the time we get to dinner I have a jam-packed dishwasher and I can’t fit all of the dinner mess into the dishwasher. 



I then end up with dishes left in the sink overnight and I have to load them up in the morning. 



Worse things can happen and it’s not the end of the world, but over time I’ve come to realize that I really just need to wash the dishes every night so that I have plenty of room to clean up everything the next day. Otherwise, I end up having to catch up on dishes and have to run the dishwasher twice in a day. 



Related: Simple Cleaning Routine | A Clean Home In Less Time


Clean kitchens make the whole house feel cleaner


Running the dishwasher every night makes the kitchen clean and often. Of course, there will always be day to day messes that you have to clean up, but overall this one habit keeps the kitchen clean most of the time.



Then, there is something magical about a clean kitchen. Have you realized that when you have a clean kitchen the rest of your house seems cleaner? 



Or has this happened to you… you start a new habit like this and before you know it you are starting other new habits. 


Related: The Easiest Way to Clean Your Entire Oven


The Magic Of This One Habit


That’s what happened to me, I started out with this one night time cleaning routine and before I knew it I worked myself into having a full-blown cleaning routine. These routines end up saving me so much time and saving me from so many headaches. 


If you are tired of the mess in your home I encourage you to start with this one small habit and see where it takes you. 


Need More Help?


If you are still feeling extremely overwhelmed by the mess in your home, then I recommend having a look around my site. I can help you come up with systems and routines that will make homemaking so much easier for you.


I will always recommend two main things to get you started. Declutter your entire home and start a cleaning routine.


If you want to know more about my cleaning routines. I suggest checking out my free printables library. I have made multiple checklist and printables that you can print out and use to help you build these daily habits. You also get a copy of my Ebook – Simplify Your Life With a Cleaning Routine. This book will help you design your own cleaning routine.


If clutter is your problem. I suggest either my 3-day challenge or my Declutter Handbook.


3-day challenge โ€“ Declutter Your Bedroom in 3 Days.


Declutter Guide โ€“ Declutter Your Whole House In Your Own Time.


Also, check out the list of other related blog posts, below.


Thanks for stopping by! Come back anytime. ?



3 day declutter challenge


declutter your whole house



Read More:
10 Habits Of People With Consistently Clean Homes


No More Clutter On Your Countertops


23 Super Simple Bedroom Organization Ideas


The One Habit That Changed My Housekeeping Game


  1. Glenda Robertson

    February 20, 2022 at 1:09 am

    I never have dirty dishes . . . Why not? . . . My dirty dishes go straight from the table to the dishwasher . . . Even preparing a meal, . . . I cook on an island . . . I put my dirty dishes on a turntable that turns to the dishwasher side . . . Immediately into the dishwasher . . No dirty dishes are ever on the counter . . . Dishes go from being eaten out of to being in placed dishwasher . . . HEAVEN . . . .

  2. CJ

    August 3, 2020 at 5:24 pm

    Great advice! I definitely agree that a cluttered kitchen and a sink full of dirty dishes can really bring you down mentally. It took me a couple of years to figure this out for myself but now I too make it a habit to do the dishes every night!

    1. KatiesKottage

      September 8, 2020 at 3:12 pm

      That’s great CJ! I’m glad you are able to get those dishes done and find some clarity each night. ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. Danielle

      May 25, 2021 at 11:32 am

      Too bad I don’t have a dishwasher. ?

  3. Susan Barr

    May 21, 2020 at 5:09 am

    This is a great post and idea! Having a clean sink to wake up to is so encouraging. There are only two of us at home these days, so sometimes the dishwasher isnโ€™t full after a simple meal. Many dishwashers these days have a โ€œquick washโ€ cycle that seems good enough for smaller loads after rinsing well before loading. Either way, keeping the kitchen under control makes all the difference!

    1. KatiesKottage

      May 26, 2020 at 3:27 pm

      Yes it makes a huge difference. The quick wash setting is a great idea. Thanks for the tip and the kind comment Susan. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Iva

    May 1, 2020 at 9:30 am

    Dear Katie,
    your suggestion is the best, especially when you have a dishwasher ? I am in the battle with dishes every evening, but sometimes the plates and cups win… ?

    1. KatiesKottage

      May 4, 2020 at 2:53 pm

      Yes sometimes they do win. Such is life. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Grace

    April 29, 2020 at 10:42 am

    It truly is a life changing habit and it only took me nearly 40 years to figure it out. Lol! Walking into a clean kitchen in the mornings makes for a great start to my day. I unload the dishwasher while the coffee makes and then Iโ€™m free to enjoy my coffee without having to rush because I have things to do.

    1. KatiesKottage

      May 4, 2020 at 2:52 pm

      Hi Grace! Such a simple thing but it does help a ton. I’m glad you’ve got your routine down. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for reading.

  6. Judy Johnson

    March 14, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    Yes, it’s just not great to wake up to a cluttered kitchen. It’s just me to take care of, so it’s not a stretch to wash up by hand every night. When my hubby was alive, he would cook on his days off. I pushed him to clean up so that I didn’t have to get up to a pile of dirty dishes before I went to work. It’s just not the way to start the day. I don’t often put dishes away before bed, but by the time the coffee is made, I can have the dishes put away. At least they are clean

    1. KatiesKottage

      April 4, 2020 at 8:31 pm

      It sounds like you have had a great routine that works for you. Thank you for reading and for your kind comment.

  7. Lauren

    July 17, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    Thanks for addressing the question about not having enough dishes. We usually have about 3/4 of a load at the end of the day. I’m at home during the day, so it’s not a problem to run the dishwasher once the load is full. BUT, I have heard this tip so many times that it must be true! ๐Ÿ™‚

    When we do run the dishwasher at night, I have a bad habit of not unloading it until the afternoon the next day. By that point, the sink and counter are full of dirty dishes. :/

    1. KatiesKottage

      July 18, 2019 at 2:00 pm

      Hi Lauren, What works best for me is running it each night and unloading it sometime around breakfast. That way we can easily put dishes away through the day. Really just find a routine that works best for you. Thanks so much for reading and for taking the time to leave such a positive comment. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Valerie

    July 8, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    I have done this since I lived out of my parents house. It started bc the dishwasher was too loud, lol! But I quickly saw the same thing you talk about, and now Iโ€™m the same way- I donโ€™t even start dinner if thereโ€™s anything in the sink or on the counters from the day. Itโ€™s an amazingly simple routine, and itโ€™s embarrassing how my whole day is thrown off if it doesnโ€™t happen every day ( I have even taken to hand washing things if I KNOW the dishwasher wonโ€™t be at least half full at the end of the day, so I donโ€™t trap myself then next day!)
    Really, itโ€™s a great tip!

    1. KatiesKottage

      July 8, 2019 at 7:21 pm

      Thanks Valerie! It is such an amazing tip and so simple. I’m glad that you are already doing it and that it works for you. Thanks for reading and leaving such a positive comment. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Stan

    July 7, 2019 at 10:48 am

    Growing up in a family of 7, if you wanted to eat off the table, you left the dishes in the sink. It really comes down to habits. We over-emphasize the life is too busy habit. No matter how you do it, it is a small part of the day.

    1. KatiesKottage

      July 7, 2019 at 2:09 pm

      You are right, it really does come down to good habits. I love that this was an expectation in your home. And yes! I totally agree that everyone is so stuck on how busy they are. Almost like it’s the cool thing to do. Thank you so much for reading and for leaving a comment. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Beverly

    July 1, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    I eat out of the same dishes everyday, after eating I wash the dishes (old school, in the sink) and put them in the dishwasher. The next day, I use the same dishes, wash them and put them in dishwasher. I use the dishwasher every Saturday.

    1. KatiesKottage

      July 2, 2019 at 2:48 pm

      This is a great way to keep up with your dishes. Thank you for sharing your tips Beverly. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Robyn

    June 25, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    On those days when there are not a lot of dishes for the dishwasher, consider things that can go in there for a clean and disinfect : the filters on your range-hood (check your manual first, just in case they aren’t suitable); the scrubbing brush you might use on pots; the bottle brush for baby’s bottles.

    1. KatiesKottage

      June 25, 2019 at 9:26 pm

      That is such a good idea Robyn. Thank you for sharing that. I’m am definitely going to start doing that.

  12. Jane Allen

    May 31, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    My grandmother had a firm rule: the cook never does the dishes, and she never did. She was a fantastic cook and boy did she make a mess in the kitchen! So it was up to husband, children and later, grandchildren to do the dishes, which was done every night after dinner.
    I guess that I am one of those exceptions since I live alone and do not use many dishes throughout the day. I usually just use my dishwasher only when I have company. Only recently did I start making sure that my dishes were all clean (I wash by hand) and countertops cleaned off before going to bed at night. So the idea is the same as your goal of having dishes clean in the morning. It feels so good to walk into a clean kitchen and always have clean pots/pans, dishes and utensils to use.

  13. Vickie

    May 29, 2019 at 11:07 pm

    Who has a dishwasher, not me! I am from the old school, wash dishes every night after supper!

    1. KatiesKottage

      May 30, 2019 at 4:02 pm

      That is still a great habit to have. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks Vickie. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Nina

    March 31, 2019 at 6:21 pm

    I learned this two years ago.. you are right! I decided that waste of soap and water didn’t stack up next to my sanity (and If I waited, just like you said- I had too many to fit in the dishwasher and that irritated me! And a full dishwasher isn’t fun to empty either! Now, if it doesn’t have much–the next morning, I consider that a gift to me! Every time I go to the kitchen I put whatever is in the sink into the dishwasher. Now I no longer resent my family using dishes during the day.

    1. KatiesKottage

      April 1, 2019 at 1:51 pm

      Nina that is great! I’m glad you area already doing this and that it has made you have a better out look on the mess made in our homes. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so much for reading and for leaving such a positive comment.

  15. Mary

    March 25, 2019 at 8:22 am

    I do this! Then, when I wake up in the morning, I race against the coffee machine to finish unloading the dishes before the coffee is done – and I usually win. This makes a huge difference with kids, too – our kids are expected to clear their place and put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher after each meal. If the dishwasher is empty, that system works.

    1. KatiesKottage

      March 25, 2019 at 10:12 am

      That’s great! I love this idea. I don’t drink coffee but I’ll have to come up with some other trick like this! Love the idea with the kids too. Thanks for sharing all of these great tips with us. ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. Patty

      June 20, 2019 at 2:04 am

      I lovethis idea! Race against the coffee machine. Will start this right away.

      1. KatiesKottage

        June 20, 2019 at 8:32 am

        That’s great! So glad you liked this idea. I hope it helps you out. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Christy

    March 23, 2019 at 4:27 pm

    AMEN AMEN AMEN! i started this same thing a fee years ago- it was life changing!!!! It was hard at first to send through a load that wasnt totally full, but that didnt take long to get over!!! If u aren’t doing this start now!

    1. KatiesKottage

      March 23, 2019 at 5:48 pm

      Thanks Christy! I’m so glad there are other people out there who are benefiting from this habit. Thanks so much for reading my blog and leaving such a positive comment. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Kelly

    March 22, 2019 at 10:10 pm

    I agree with you on this post! I started running the dishwasher every night about three years ago. It’s my top secret weapon to sanity! I don’t always get it unloaded first thing in the morning, but I LOVE a clean kitchen in the morning!

    1. KatiesKottage

      March 23, 2019 at 8:10 am

      That’s awesome Kelly! Good to know I’m not the only one who things this one task is a secret weapon. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks so much for the kind comment.

  18. Komori

    March 18, 2019 at 3:53 pm

    Hey Katie, what would you do if you didnโ€™t own a dishwasher? Because I donโ€™t have one, which leaves me with dishes in the sink ALL the time…

    1. KatiesKottage

      March 18, 2019 at 5:21 pm

      Hi Komori, that is a great question! I would do one of two things. I would either wash every dish after it was used. Keeping up with it through out the day. I already do this anyway but I have a dishwasher to put them in. Your other option is to free dishes of food etc. through the day, stack them up in one side of the sink and do them all at once at the end of the day. I think this would depend on how many dishes you use through out the day, if it’s just dishes for you or if you have others living with you. What do you think would work best for you? Thanks!

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