He Was Right About the Dishwasher…

Fact #1: I love our dishwasher. Until a little over four years ago I had never rented, owned, or otherwise lived in a space with a dishwasher. I know some people willfully go without, but I hope never to be without a dishwasher again.

Lest you worry about my home economic skills – I still find myself elbow-deep in suds at least twice a day, so I keep my dishwashing skills finely polished.

Fact #2: I have a tendency to act like an obstinate toddler, especially when someone is telling me how I should do something.

Fact #3: I love to be “right”.


For years my husband has (only occasionally, to his credit) suggested my method of loading the dishwasher is less efficient than his own. Depending on my mood that day I would either nod absently or launch into a 10-point lecture about how my method is very efficient, Thank you very much, and likely superior.

John recently asked if I could please start loading the dishwasher his way and instead of nodding (with no intention of actually following through) or bursting into a tirade, I agreed – believing that I’d soon prove this dishwasher debate once and for all and emerge victorious, complete with a Dishwasher Genius crown upon my head.

You know where this is going, right?

He was 100% correct. Absolutely, indisputably correct. His way is not only more efficient, but it is also much easier to load and unload the dishes.


For years, mostly because of my pigheadedness I’ve stuck to my way. Why?

Now lots of the time I am right when I enter a debate over big – or small – matters (there is, for example, only one correct way to load toilet paper and I will never back down on that debate; thankfully John and I have always agreed on this critical point).

But lots of the time I’m not right. And it can be hard for someone of my personality to cede an inch. Why do I have such resistance to being open-minded? Why not learn from others, why not try new things?

Sigh. I’m not sure, but I’m now very happily loading the dishwasher “his way” which leads me to wonder what other things I’m making unnecessarily difficult because I’m channeling my inner toddler.

Your turn? Have you ever had to serve yourself a giant slice of humble pie?

Header photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

20 thoughts on “He Was Right About the Dishwasher…”

  1. Oh I feel this big time lol- why is it so hard? Especially with a husband! If a stranger suggested something like that, I would be more likely to try it first!

    1. A good point!! It starts young – literally as a toddler – to be most resistant to those directly around us…who likely have the best insights into what will work. Sigh.

  2. I’ve ceded to my husband’s preference on dishwasher loading as well. It’s not all that different than mine, but he is better at optimizing space than I am. We run our dishwasher every 2-3 days so really try to fit as much in as possible so it’s best to let him play dishwasher tetris.

    I am very stubborn by nature so I can have a hard to adjusting to someone else’s way of doing things. Phil mostly goes with my preferences but I try to recognize when he has a better approach, as hard as that can be at times!

    1. Yes – my way was much less efficient in terms of space!

      Dishwasher Tetris – when you put it that way, maybe it would convince the kids to be more effective at their dishwasher loading? Naming something in a fun/whimsical manner can be half the battle with kids.

  3. Elisabeth! I read this and my first thoughts: “Really” Does he really have the most efficient way? And what is that, because now I’m ready to debate the finer points of dishwasher loading!”.
    You are not alone in the not wanting to cede an inch, although only on certain things. And I think I’m pretty open-minded usually. Oops. Blind-sided by this conversation. It’s given me some food for thought this morning!

    1. Ha. I’m not sure about the MOST efficient way, but his way is definitely more efficient than mine.
      I always loaded one side of the dishwasher first (in rows; both top and bottom). He loads across so both sides get filled and it means that the “Tetris” that Lisa described is much more compact. It’s hard to describe without pictures, but you’ll have to take my word for it, that despite my resistence for years, there is no denying the fact that his way is easier/more efficient!

        1. Hmmm. I’ll try to post some pictures.
          My description is SO confusing.
          If you imagine the dishwasher as being organized in two parallel rows, I would always fill one row first (all the dishes facing in the same direction – we do this the same; I have never faced things “inward” toward the center). He works at filling both rows at the same time.
          The biggest issue with what I did is it was SO hard to overlap the edges of plates when I was filling the second row.
          I’m not doing his way justice in this description! In OUR dishwasher at least (and with our plates/bowls etc), it works so much better to fill across both rows simultaneously.

  4. This picture blows my mind because I always thought the “right” way to load the dishwasher was to make sure everything faces the middle because that’s where the water comes from.

    1. I have never done that ever. Hmmm. I face everything toward the right…
      The dishes come out clean *shrugs*?!

  5. I can relate! It’s so hard to have a teachable attitude, especially at home for some reason. It’s easier to get defensive in such a close relationship: “What? You don’t think I’m doing a good enough job? Remember that time when I CARRIED YOUR CHILDREN?!”
    A little exaggerated, but basically the truth.
    It’s hardest when it’s his preferences about what I think of as MY work.

    1. Ha. There is always the trump card of carrying/birthing children!

      Though I do the same thing with anyone close to me – siblings, parents, my kids. I tend to have this idea that my way is the best way or that I’ve thought through every angle…when in fact…I haven’t. It can be a tough pill to swallow and I’m admittedly not always great at doing so gracefully!

  6. The funny thing about this post is, apparently people are VERY attached to their own ways of loading the dishwasher! Just yesterday I was reading an article about “100 easy ways to make your life happier” and one of the tips was, don’t be so uptight about how you load the dishwasher. Having said that… I’m actually VERY methodical about how I load mine! My husband just throws things in any which way, and I usually go in and rearrange everything. I’m not sure he even notices.
    I know this post wasn’t really about the dishwasher, and yes- I can be very stubborn too. Why is it so important to be right about these silly little things???

    1. That’s hilarious that being less uptight about the dishwasher is (supposedly) a way to make one happier. I have to say that loading it this new way has actually been a boost to my satisfaction (happier might be a stretch)!

  7. Sometimes I feel like the dishwasher debate is as strong as the toilet paper debate! People are very particular about how to load the dishwasher.

    I tend to be an obstinate toddler about things like this, too. I think part of it is just, like, embarrassment. I feel silly for doing things a certain way for such a long time when there was a better way to do it, and almost feel like someone is judging me for doing things “wrong.” It’s a battle of letting go of that control.

    1. The difference between the toilet paper and dishwasher is there IS ONLY ONE CORRECT WAY to load toilet paper. I will die on this hill…haha

  8. OK, I had to laugh at this. Seriously -why do we get SO STUCK on “my way is the only way”? I am like this too! and for weird stuff – dishwasher, order in which I wash the dishes, way I clean the bathroom, or make the bed, or any number of things! I think it’s one of the hardest parts of learning to live with someone! That said, I did (in the time I was married) “win” a few of these – specifically, shirt folding. 🙂 I did it better than either of our mothers. Go, me! Ha.
    I’m glad you did open up and consider the alternative, and I’m impressed with your ability to say (perhaps with a tiny sigh?) “You were right”.

    1. I’m terrible at shirt folding (I do it too quickly, and don’t really care); my husband is DEFINITELY the pro in that department!
      I hang my shirts – I say it makes it easier, but maybe it’s really because I hate folding shirts so much 🤣

  9. Elisabeth! How can you share this whole post without sharing “his way” of loading the dishwasher?? I need to compare if I do it efficiently enough or if I could learn something new here? 🙂 Help a girl out!

    1. He loads across rows simultaneously. I always filled up one row of the dishwasher at a time, but he fills across. It really is much more efficient than how I did it.
      Now I can’t claim it’s the MOST efficient way to load a dishwasher, but compared to how I was doing it, it has actually made a tangible difference in how often I have to run the dishwasher!

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