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Ask an Expert - Dear Elizabeth Guarino

Ask an Expert - Elizabeth Guarino
Ask an Expert - Elizabeth Guarino

Dear Elizabeth:  How do you load a dishwasher?      

-Karen, married and fighting about it, from Colorado

Dear Karen: I'm curious if every marriage either starts off with this struggle or ends with it.  I'm not sure.  It's a messy battle if you are in it.

The dishwasher wars might begin with something along the lines of this:  One person doesn't feel like the dishwasher is loaded right and so they proceed to rearrange everything the other person has just done.  

I'm sure there are variations of this, for example, the sub-war of pans.  Do pans go in or get hand-washed?  China?  Silver?  Fancy wine glasses?  Plastic?  When the dishwasher should run? Who removes the stuff stuck at the bottom? Better yet, do you know a person who loves to soak everything and not load the dishwasher at all?! Do the dishes need to be rinsed first or can they just go from the table into the dishwasher?In my own home, I see lots of dishes left on the counter for mom or dad to put in the dishwasher, which we spoke to everyone about recently.  We also see a complete avoidance to unload the dishwasher also.  We even get asked questions like, "Where does this bowl go?" (You know the one they get out of the cupboard each day...!!)  to add to the Xbox disruption.

With everyone in the house now taller than me or in college, I no longer hear, "I can't reach that." :)

But let's get back to the re-arranger scenario.  This is a person who thinks they are better at loading the dishwasher than you, lolol.  There apparently was contest and you didn't win.  I'm sorry.  You may even be nominated for the Dishwasher Loader Hall of Shame.

But the solution could be to:

Open the dishwasher, leave it empty and just walk away??

Seriously, if you are just going to get rearranged, I say let the person go for it.  Load and unload and rearrange to their heart's content - minus you.

Of course, once they are done, you should go move stuff around just to mess with them.  (lol, ok maybe not....)

But wait, did the person do the pans?  Sweep the floor?  Wash the counters?  Washed the cupboards? Appliances?  Or did they just rearrange or re-load the dishwasher?  Were they huffing and puffing and speaking under their breath the whole time?  Angry even?  Perplexed about how someone could possibly load the dishwasher in such a way?  hmpff!

Let's Look at the Bigger Picture There is so much that goes into really cleaning up the kitchen after meals.  It's more than just the dishwasher and it's more than just loading, unloading or rearranging.  If you've got chore wars going on in your house or control issues coming out in dishwasherland, it's time to turn the annoyance into an opportunity for a partner or family chat.

Considering talking about:

Is someone helping?


Is there gratitude or attitude at play?

Does it have to be perfect?

Is someone over-tired?

Who is going to do what?

How should the kids help?

When should the dishes be rearranged once loaded?

Are there other chores where good energy could be focused?

Where did smiles and laughter go?

How does the dishwasher fit into the bigger picture of your life?

What is really bothering the person doing the re-arranging?

Think beyond the dishwasher.

Do chores need to be rotated?

What makes for a clean kitchen?

What are the rules for non-everyday items and pans?

Who is cleaning the counters?

Emptying the trash?  

Sweeping the floor? 

Where is the Peace?

Just where is the peace in all of this?  Peacefulness went down the drain with all of this.

Find it and bring it back.

The peace may be the dishes you handwash, dry and put away.  Put a little music on and someone washes and someone dries and puts away.

It could be that we need to stop, pause and be thankful we have someone to load the dishwasher with.  Perhaps attitudes need rearranging, not dishes.

Love and Hugs, Elizabeth

About Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino

Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino is a 20-year veteran of the financial services and regulatory compliance training industry. Now, a recognized leader in personal development, Elizabeth is the founder and CEO of The Best Ever You Network, a brand with more than one million followers in social media and two million radio downloads on The Best Ever You Show.

With a mixture of humor and grace, Elizabeth helps people root in gratitude, discover motivation and implement positive, lasting change. An expert in mentoring people to marketing their strengths and achieve brand excellence, she works with clients worldwide to illuminate their light within, develop their best life and become their Best Ever You with gratitude-based behavior and belief systems.

Elizabeth’s book PERCOLATE – Let Your Best Self Filter Through (Hay House, 2014) has been called “charming” by Publisher’s Weekly, with “an ingenious extended coffee metaphor.” Guarino also ranks consistently as one of the top 40 social CEOs on Twitter and was just named a favorite by Oxford Said Business School in 2016. Her hashtags #BestEverYou and #TipstoBeYourBest are widely circulated.

Visit her websites: and


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