The One Kitchen Tweak That Changed My Attitude

a simple kitchen

I’m not a kitchen design expert.

But I am an expert at using kitchens and knowing if they work well for our family. That might be worth more.

I had three main objects with our modern farmhouse kitchen redesign. And they were all a result of living in 13 different homes with kitchens that functioned poorly with a few good ideas mixed in. My main goals for our kitchen were to have a lot of counter surface, natural light, and places to sit. I knew a sink and stove and storage would naturally get worked in so I didn’t focus on those.

But I did plan for one morning altering decision:

how to organize a kitchen

I planned for the dishwasher to be right next door to the storage for the stuff that we wash in the dishwasher.

how to organize your kitchen

For some reason unloading the dishwasher is a dreaded chore in our house.

It’s a pain to dread something that needs to be done daily.

When I dread something that needs to be done daily, it’s a red flag. It’s an opportunity to evaluate if I’m helping or hurting the situation just by something simple that I can change.

how to organize your kitchen

For years it never occurred to me that I have an intentional say in where stuff goes in my kitchen and that I didn’t have to be at the mercy of whoever helped me unpack my kitchen and their decisions of where my glasses and knives should go or the fact that on TV all the dishes and glasses are always high up in the upper cabinets or that we’ve always had our plates ‘there’ so why would I change it?

What worked well last year might not work for me this year. That’s not bad, that’s life.

organize your kitchen

You get to evaluate the best placement of your stuff and if a change needs to be made, you can change it right now! It’s okay if your family is confused for a few days while they get used to the change. They’ll thank you later for a mindful kitchen.

organize your kitchen

Now, everything but pots and pans can be unloaded from the dishwasher without even taking a step. Dishwasher unloading takes about 90 seconds and even the 16-year-old thanked me for planning out the kitchen to make unloading the dishwasher super fast and non-dread-inducing.

organize your kitchen

I had a moment where I wondered if the silverware should be closer to the table since that’s where we use it. But then I figured it would be best to cater to the chore I dread the most. Which isn’t grabbing the forks to put on the table, but rather putting away the forks from the dishwasher.

organize your kitchen

how to organize your kitchen

The point of this post isn’t that I believe that everyone should have their dishes next to their dishwasher. Oh no. I really don’t care where your dishes are. But I do care that your kitchen works best for you. Two methods that work for me in my home:

Cater to the chore you dread the most.

Question everything & expect to re-evaluate for the current best solution.

Is there something you hate or dread about your kitchen? Accommodate for that one thing and make a change to help your attitude with that, even if it means it might not make as much sense for something else. If you can lower your dread, you raise your happy.

Here are a few other ideas I’ve implemented in a hard working, mom of three boys kitchen :: simple solutions to everyday issues.

summer caldrea



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  1. I am constantly rearranging the contents of my cupboards. I’d love to give this tip a try, except that I have no cupboards near my dishwasher! I will keep this in mind for future kitchens though. I think one of the best things about having to live in “starter homes” or rentals for a while is that you get to slowly figure out the things you like and don’t like.

  2. Your kitchen is beautiful! I would love to have those drawers versus the cabinets I have now. One quick question, and I feel silly asking this since the answer is probably obvious and I’m just missing it: How do you access the buttons on your dishwasher now that it is covered? I love the look and would totally do the same with mine.

    • There are dishwashers where the buttons are along the top edge of the door instead of the front. I like them better even if the door isn’t covered because it’s not tempting for kids and looks less cluttered.

  3. This may have just changed my life. I have dish towels and coloring books in the drawers next to my dishwasher….and silverware on the other side of the room. I’m literally rearranging tonight! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

  4. This makes so much sense. Soooo that makes you awesome.

  5. I hate doing dishes. Period. I hate unloading the dishwasher, loading it, and washing dishes in the sink. My solution: Trade my husband for one of his chores. He doesn’t mind doing it at all, so I take advantage of that. I don’t mind cleaning bathrooms or vacuuming, so I do those things. In return, he keeps the kitchen clean. It totally works for us!

  6. A few years ago we renovated the kitchen of our newly-purchased foreclosure. I had a similar inspiration as I was deciding on cabinets, appliances & placement. I arranged the kitchen so that immediately next to the dishwasher were 3 drawers for plastic Tupperware type containers: one for the set of containers that are color-coded, one for their lids, and one big drawer for all the randomly sized containers. It was the thing I most-hated dealing with, and is now simply addressed. My next goal is to better strategize how I LOAD the dishwasher, so unloading can go smoother.

    • Tupperware! Brilliant!

      I was going, ‘Which chore do I dread….’ Yep, it’s Tupperware. I currently stash it in what I lovingly call The Pit of Doom or Don’t-Open-That-Cabinet-Everything-Will-Fall-Out! I need to do some rethinking…. Now, where to put it is the question.

  7. When I designed our kitchen addition, I made sure that I had dish drawers beside the dishwasher. My glasses are still in upper cabinets, but that is only because I want them there, and they are 2 steps away from the dishwasher. The bottom dish drawer has our everyday dishes and custard cups, etc. the one above has china and the drawer on the top is where the silverware is housed. No one complains about emptying the dishwasher anymore! Your kitchen is lovely, too!

  8. I keep o changing the arrangement in kitchen and still looking for a perfect solution.

  9. Where did you get the faucet? I love it. Also, what is it called ( style, etc)? Thanks.

  10. Carlotta says

    I seriously thought everyone did this LOL.
    I have my stuff in a lazy susan next to my dishwasher because I have small children and that is the easiest way for them to put away dishes.

    Pots and pans are on either side of the stove.
    Mixing bowl etc are in the cabinets between the sink and stove.
    Cutting stuff on other side of sink.

    Cheryl at has a great series on this about not only making due in non-perfect kitchens but designing her kitchen to specific tasks. Great stuff.

  11. I love the idea of the cups, glasses and plates in a cabinet that is lower vs a high one. I am short and we had to get rid of all our ‘pretty’ ironstone dishes as they were too heavy for me to put away over my head, we replaced them with corelle ware. It is lighter and easier to handle. You have a beautiful kitchen.

  12. I love it! Do you have any suggestions for the dreaded washing off the dishes and putting them in the dishwasher? ;) Just teasing. I hate that chore….but try to be thankful that there are six mouths in our family dirtying up all those dishes….

  13. Revolutionzed my life when I realized I could take ownership of my own home! Seriously, why did it take so long for me to figure that out? Anywho…I completely agree with you that tweaking things for the current season ought to be on the must do list. My family is seven children large, and since we homeschool everyone is home 24/7. One of the things I allowed myself to do was add a second dishwasher to the kitchen along with a spot for a second sink in the future. Meal prep dishes, pots, pans, etc. will go in the dishwasher by the main sink. The second dishwasher is located beside the spot where a smaller second sink will someday be located at the end of a counter, closest to the dining area. Dishes will go directly from the table to the sink to the 2nd dishwasher. This will save both time and eliminate congestion during aftermeal cleanup. Not for everyone I know, but something that will work wonderfully for our large family. Makes me want to find that second sink just writing about it. Reading your post made me realize I haven’t been diligent in assessing the current season of our home. Thank you for the reminder and motivation.

  14. Jennifer Tasker says

    Omg, you’re a genius! When I designed our kitchen I asked for those corner drawers (the funky-shaped ones that pull out an entire corner) to be out in. But stupidly (unthinkingly) I had them put in by the dishwasher – so you can’t open the dishwater and corner drawer (where we keep our dishes) at the same time. So the kids have to stack the “white dishes” on the counter, close the dishwasher, then open drawer and put them away. I am totally changing where the dishes are stored. Tonight.

  15. totally get what you are saying here. make your home work for you. a friend put her laundry room on the 2nd floor as that was where everyone changes their clothes and where they are put away. It isn’t for me, but I thought it works brilliantly for her.

  16. Lorraine Ferguson says

    I have always hated emptying and loading the dishwasher. We recently moved and I found myself automatically loading the dishwasher! Why the sudden change? I wondered what it was about this new place that had me loading the dishwasher automatically. It is so simple, I am right handed and the dishwasher is to the right of my sink in this kitchen. I never thought about it before, but even in my custom built house the dishwasher was to the left and I hated loading/unloading it. Now that it is to my right [dominate] side, I do it without pause. LOL! It took me 35 years to figure that out.

  17. I found my way to you via your sister’s blog. I read this post with my mouth open. How had I not though of this before? I rearranged – the pots that were in the drawers fit better in the cupboard where the dishes were and vice versa. I rarely post comments anywhere, but I had to say thank you!


  18. I love this post.
    It’s just so important to figure out WHY you hate doing something, and then DO something about it! I linked to you in my {bits & pieces} this week — so thank you!

  19. Your kitchen is turning out absolutely beautiful! I love it!

  20. I wish I had thought of this when we were building! I HATE unloading the dishwasher! I make my kids do it! I don’t mind doing dishes, touching the dirty dishes. So I always wondered why I hate putting them away when they’re nice and clean. Now I know. This IS why! Wish I had drawers right next to the dishwasher. It makes perfect sense. (I also wish I had put my washer and dryer in my closet. My next house shall have a “clothes room” where all clothes, clean or dirty, that aren’t on your body are. Why do we cart laundry from one end of the house to the other???)

  21. YES! Absolutely. I did similar 9 years ago when we moved last. It works like a charm!

  22. I did this exact same thing when remodeling my old ( 90 years) kitchen last July. It is one of the things I love best about my kitchen now. I didn’t have room for glasses and mugs in the drawers but the glass front cabinet above the drawers works just fine for this.

  23. The product seems to be fantastic while…. Be thankful regarding generating.

  24. Someone may have already asked where you got your faucet, so I may have missed it. I am looking for one like yours—not too contemporary or modern. What is the make/type/brand of yours?

  25. Hi. I love your white counter tops. I’m hoping to do a low budget kitchen remodel and I want very light counter tops. When I found out how much quartz costs, I started looking for another alternative that looks pretty. Would your counter tops happen to be corian?

    I just found your website through Pinterest and I am loving it. Thanks for inspiration. : )

  26. Your kitchen is stunning! Thanks so much for sharing this excellent tip.

  27. i love this! i did the same thing, moving all of our dishes into a low cupboard about 2 years ago. now, my 5&7 year old boys empty the dishwasher with no help (except for me snagging the couple precious vintage bowls out before they start!) so every once in a while a guest cook will be a little confused. it’s totally worth it so that i don’t have to take care of that chore anymore!

  28. I just stumbled upon this post and I love it. I dread unloading the dishwasher too. Sadly, my 1950’s kitchen is so poorly designed that there is no way to rearrange it to make it more efficient. I dream of a totally remodel, but I’m a SAHM and my husband is a youth pastor, so the budget is tight, not to mention, the hubs HATES doing DIY projects. Sad face for this lady. Maybe someday we’ll get a new kitchen and I’ll remember this wonderful tip! Thanks!

  29. We’re getting new cabinets. We have white appliances. What’s your opinion on the Ikea off-white cabinets with white appliances? I want Ikea, but the style I want doesn’t come in white! GRRRR . . .

  30. Hmm… I (and my husband too) must dread putting the casserole dishes away because they always seem to be left out on the counter for days after they’ve been washed. They go up in a high cabinet that you need a step ladder to reach properly without fear of dropping said casserole dish on your head. Hmm… Maybe I should clear out the bottom cabinet drawer where we keep all the cake decorating supplies that get used maybe once a year, and have them trade places with the casserole dishes. Hmm… ideas… :)

  31. No one else has mentioned this, but I have a dishwasher to the left of my sink, which is awkward, I think for a right-handed person. if I were to change anything, it would be that – loading and unloading would be so much better, I think, if I didn’t feel so crowded by the countertop (which is on my right when I turn left to face the dishwasher) – does that make sense? Anyone else feel that way?

  32. Wish this worked in my space. My dishwasher is between my sink and stove. Renovation is in the “thinking about it” stage. I will add this to my ideas.

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  37. HI! This is a very late response to your post, but I was wondering where you stand when you unload your dishwasher? We’re designing our home now and I currently have the dish drawer right next to the dishwasher, but now I’m thinking that maybe they should be spaced apart so I can stand in between them. I’d appreciate your thoughts!

  38. Wish this worked in my space. My dishwasher is between my sink and stove. Renovation is in the “thinking about it” stage. I will add this to my ideas.

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