Friday, November 8, 2013

Dishwasher Packing Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Do you, or someone you love, suffer from Dishwasher Packing Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (DPOCD)? If so, then this is the post for you.

Hello! My name is Michelle and I have DPOCD, which is a very serious condition.  There is a right way to load a dishwasher and a wrong way. I apparently am the only one who knows the right way. And I will reload it if necessary, and then mentally attack you (you, who cannot properly load the dishwasher, you) with ninja swords. You've been warned. 

I'm not quite sure when I discovered I had DPOCD, but once I was diagnosed my entire life made much more sense.  There is a reason to the way I pack a dishwasher.  I don't just pack dishes for the fun of it. I don't particularly love doing dishes. But I do know there is a right way and a wrong way to load the dishwasher. Since I have been blessed and know the correct way I figure I can put this out there to help others in need.

There are some simple truths about dishwasher packing that you should know and accept before moving forward:

5 Truths about Dishwasher Packing:

1. There is a right way to load a dishwasher.
2. A correctly loaded dishwasher washes the dishes better.
3. Loading the dishwasher is an art form.
4. Every dishwasher is unique and deserves it's own packing technique.
5.  Anyone can learn how to correctly load a dishwasher.

With all that in mind, what can you do? Don't worry. I've got some suggestions to help you out.

What you can do if someone you love is suffering from DPOCD:

1. Put the dishes IN the dishwasher. OK, so yes, I know you can't properly load the dishwasher (because I've seen what you do), and you possibly know that I can (obviously). But that doesn't mean you just leave all the dishes in the sink, or worse the counter next to the freaking sink.  I'd much rather rearrange dishes then have to grumble my way through putting an entire sink of dirty dishes in the sink because you are too lazy. And don't use the excuse that you were going to do it later.  I guarantee you I did give you enough time to put them away.

2. Pay attention to the dishwasher.  If your loved one is always putting a specific plate in the same spot, then it is really simple: when you load the dishwasher, put it in that same spot.  I guarantee that after two dishwasher loads you'll see the pattern and how to load it. Plus you'll prevent your loved one from having an anxiety attack.

3. Learn where the dishes "live". So, you still can't load the dishwasher properly even after you have tried many times? Don't worry. You can still help. The least you can do is to put away the clean dishes. That does require knowing where the dishes go.  Finding a million tupperware on the counter because you couldn't figure out where they go is not helpful at all. Every dish has a place. Take five minutes and study your cabinets. (oh and by the way, for the tupperware, it is very simple to stack tupperware. Please don't act like you don't know how to put the larger ones on the bottom and stack with the smaller ones inside. That is considered basic stacking skills, something you learn as a toddler.)

4. Follow the basic rule that like dishes go together. Don't put a large plate, then a small plate then a bowl all in a row in your dishwasher.  Put all your large plates together in a row; then all your small plates together in a row; then all your bowls together in a row.  That way the dishes stack are much more snug and you can fit more in your dishwasher. Go ahead and try it. Your mind will be blown. (and now you understand your loved one better now).

5. If it is late at night and the dishwasher has not been started yet you need to spring into action! Quickly load/finish loading the dishwasher and start the cycle.  This will give your loved one a break.  But please keep in mind the above suggestions and don't just throw all the dishes in the dishwasher. Loading the dishwasher is an art form, remember that.

What you can do if you suffer from DPOCD:

1. Take one dishwasher load at a time. If you start to get overwhelmed with dishwasher packing, remember it is only one load at a time. So do this one load and then take a breather. Then go reward yourself and eat some chocolate. you deserve it.

2. Understand that you can properly train others how to load a dishwasher. Also keep in mind that they will completely forget their training within less than a week. Baby steps. Baby steps...

3. Pick 1 (yes ONE) thing that drives you crazy about the other dishwasher packers in your household to work on at a time. For example: So and so keeps putting a particular utensil on the top rack.  Not only does it clearly belong with the utensils it also hasn't been coming out of the dishwasher fully cleaned. So then you have to rinse it again after it has already been washed in the dishwasher.  So try saying something like this, while loading the dishwasher of course, "Oh hey {insert name} I realized that this {particular utensil} doesn't wash well in the top rack and would wash better with the utensils. Just so you know next time!" Warning: This step may need to be repeated multiple times.

4. If the above suggestion does not work please allow Mr or Miss so and so, who obviously enjoys dirty dishes, to empty the dishwasher themselves -- OR leave spatula as is and let them discover that it is not coming out clean by themselves.  This can be particularly difficult because not all people notice cleanliness of dishes, so this may prove unsuccessful.

5. Give yourself a curfew.  If it is late at night and you should be going to sleep and you see a few more dishes that need to go in the dishwasher DON'T DO IT. Don't do it because more than likely you'll have to rearrange the dishwasher because someone else in the family did not load it properly. So don't even open the dishwasher. Leave it AS IS. Have someone else start the dishwasher and walk away. That way you prevent yourself from spending at least 20 minutes rearranging. And you more than likely rearranged it earlier in the day so the damage is hopefully minimal.

If you or a loved one is suffering from DPOCD, do not feel alone.  There are others who understand and feel your pain.  If you are looking for a place to vent, here is a safe place. 

And, Remember my friends; loading the dishwasher is an art form. It should be treated likewise.

♥ Michelle

*disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor do I proclaim to be one. 
If you should need medical attention for your DPOCD please seek out your doctor for help.


  1. I have it, too, the DPOCD. Is there a support group? Monthly meetings would be wonderful.

    1. Terry, I wish! A support group would be wonderful ;)

  2. I've got DPOCD too... :)

  3. me too :) and my obsession is that of the utensils! Our dishwasher have a top rack separator for utensils and not the basket type.

    Aside from the fact that utensils are the most important item to be well cleaned and sanitized, given its proper spacing, I also want to have it properly arranged and put together ie. all spoons right next to each other, next to the group of forks, then next to the group of knives, so on and so forth (same goes with the dishes - like dishes go together, right?) - oh that calmness when I see them all together lined up like an army :) but none of my household do it like I do and none of them realize how easier life gets putting away clean dishes if it were only stacked this way :)

    1. Jade -- so glad I'm not alone. It is just the best thing ever when the dishwasher is loaded correctly. A work of art. So sad that no one else in your household understands the beauty of that! :)

  4. I do not suffer with but am blessed with DPOCD. My logical thinking on how to load the dishwasher extends to the way that my CD collection has a draw for male artist, a draw for female, a draw for compilation and a draw for eyebrow. None of the draws are ever opened any more as we have access to over 6,000 tracks on i-pod and excellent 6 music on the radio. But it is reassuring to know that all CD's are where they should be. My organisation extends to work shirts all together and social in a separate wardrobe. I have a draw for black work socks and one for all my coloured socks. I read that Einstein had 5 suites all the same so he did not have to think about which one to wear and feel sure he would also have also been blessed with DPOCD. To me the loading takes no more thought or effort than driving a car or walking as it is completed through subconscious competence. I feel sorry for those that are incapable of loading a dishwasher, like my partner who brought my attention to this posting. Clearly she anguishes over her conscious incompetence. Alas she has difficulty with the CD draw also and often mixes her nickers with her bras. Her life may seem like hell but I think the worst is that she has to observe the ease at which I arrange my things with such order. So all those out there with DPOCD I suggest you continue to load correctly and think how fortunate you are and have some pity, not anger with those lesser mortals.

  5. OMG this is hysterical. MY husband has it, I do not. I actually thought it was better to load the silverware with handles up - my logic so, we wouldn't get germs on the actual part where we eat. Plus it is easier to put away. My husband is OBSESSED - the cutlery must be pointed up. He will redo the whole tray. I refuse to do it his way...until I googled and saw that I am in the minority. Cutlery goes up.

    So tomorrow I won't admit a thing. I will just change my ways and see if he notices. My first new year change for the better.