Solving My Dishes Dilemma

R. James Miller
5 min readMar 15, 2019
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Disclaimer: There will be many times reading this post where “responsible” and/or “mature” adults will not understand how this is an actual problem. Please note I am neither responsible nor mature, thus these are actual problems in my day-to-day life. I’ve added footnotes for any time I think a normal person will question, “How the hell is this a problem?”

I was looking around my apartment this afternoon with one thought in mind:

This place looks like shit!

It was a mess like it almost always is. I don’t think it has been consistently clean for more than two or three days since I had a girlfriend who came over a few nights a week. It needs to be dusted, vacuumed, scrubbed, and decluttered. Next thought:

That’s a lot of work. What could I do that would make a big difference but not require too much effort?

I take note of the dirty dishes piled up on the coffee table and my computer desk, as well as the big stacks next to the sink(1). Doing the dishes will definitely have a big impact on the overall appearance of the apartment. Plus dirty dishes are much less socially acceptable than dusty surfaces or floors in need of vacuuming. This is where the problem begins to take shape.

I have to do dishes by hand the old-fashioned way because the dishwasher in my apartment broke down a few years ago (2). Dirty dishes are a recurring problem that I never quite seem to be able to get under control. Every time I finish doing a ridiculously large amount of dishes, I silently vow to myself that next time I will do them before the stack gets out of control. I never follow through. Because this problem continually reoccurs and past strategies haven’t worked, it was time to put my problem-solving skills to use. I decided to use drill-down problem-solving to get to the root of the issue so I could solve it (3).

Drill-down problem-solving is a method for attempting to identify the root issue that is creating a problem. Basically, the method calls for asking questions to reach the next level of an issue until you are confident you’ve reached the last level. Here’s how it worked for this problem:

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R. James Miller

Mental health, emotional wellness, opinion, & travel-focused writer. Writing about my weight struggles, personal growth, and wanderlust.