5 Tips on Annihilating Dirty Dishes

Hey Collectors!

Are you living in a dish disaster? Have you gone to paper plates now that you have used all of your dishes? Are you even buying new dishes? Surrounded by fruit flies?

One of the main sources of clutter in the kitchen is dirty dishes. I know this personally and professionally. After cooking and eating, who wants to clean? Everyone has a different threshold. Some clean after every meal, at the end of the day, and some leave dirty dishes for weeks or even months. What is your threshold?

I have worked with people who clean while they cook, so there are only a few dishes and they do them immediately afterwards. I have worked with people who have had dishes sit in the sink for decades.

Here are five tips on annihilating dishes so you can clear dirty dish clutter.

  1. Begin by clearing space on your kitchen counter so dishes can sit and dry. Grab a box or bin or bag and put all the dirty dishes in and move them out of way. This could be six or seven small boxes or less. Don’t worry about the number. Next, put the boxes in another room.
  2. The goal is to have a clear space to work and have dishes dry. No deep cleaning or obsessing; get the counter de junked and have a clear surface. Put a clean towel on top if the surface is dirty. Pick a towel–don’t get stuck in figuring out which one. Use a sheet if you have to. No one is perfect. If you are able to quickly clean the surface do so.
  3. Soaking. This is a huge part of process. Get water out of your tub or backyard if you need to and put it in a bin (or plastic storage container—whatever can hold water) and let the dishes soak. Soaking is important if you haven’t washed the dishes in a long time. This step will give you time and energy when you need to wash. Soaking overnight makes cleaning easier. If the dishes aren’t too dirty, a few hours might be all the time you need. Put a stopper in the sink and fill with warm water (cold is okay), and add Dawn liquid.
  4. Using a clean sponge, scrub brush wash your dishes. You can wash in the sink or in the container. Take the scrub brush and wash. If you are disabled, sit on a stool or chair. Wash each dish one by one. Wash the front, the back, the rim and around the ridge. Be very through. Rinse your dishes immediately after you wash. Dump out the bucket and get clean water. Once the dishes are rinsed, put them on a clean towel or sheet in the space you created on your kitchen counter. You can spend time drying or let them air dry.
  5. Put your dishes away. If you don’t have space, which is quite common, put them in an organized fashion on your cleared counter space. Keep plates with plates, and work in small increments. Consider decluttering your cabinets once you have wash your dishes. When your dishes are clean, your house won’t smell and fruit flies will go away. Clean dishes are better for your healthy. Congratulate yourself! You have conquered huge source of clutter.
  6. Fruit flies are small and eat your food. Eliminating dirty dishes is a priority! Once your dishes are clean, all the rotten food thrown out, and all recycling and trash is outside, they will leave. Start thinking what is best for you. You may need to take baby steps and take your time, especially if you are older, injured or disabled. Doing dishes in small increments will help you. Remember, the goal is to create a nice, safe place, not a perfect place.

Overwhelmed with dirty dishes? Looking to clear clutter or get organized but have no idea where to start? Would you like to walk into a decluttered and organized home? Collector Care can help you with extreme clutter, regular decluttering work with you if you are a hoarder.

Call Collector Care at 925.548.7750 or email to schedule your free 30-minute consultation and learn about how we can help you!

Dusted and Disgusted – Facts About Dust and Clutter

Hey Collectors!

Dust. Almost every cluttered home that I work in has a lot of dust. You name it; I have seen dust caked on its surface. My team once vacuumed 10 pounds of dust from one home. Many of my clients have some sort of breathing problem or challenge and must use a breathing machine. I believe that many of these breathing problems are because of the dust in the home.

I speak regularly about dust and clutter during presentations for the Better Breathers Club California American Lung Association. With the hotter months coming up, I wanted to share some important facts about dust. (Read further to see what is significant this month). We also perform detailed vacuuming using a HEPA filter high-grade vacuum when working with clients because of the impact of dust.

Clutter attracts dust. When our dust rag hits a surface it goes POOF like a bag of flour exploding. Without a mask I feel dust seep into my mouth, tongue, teeth and yes, lungs. The best I can describe this is as chalk like. When clearing and cleaning a lot of dust, it is very important to open up windows before we begin. We encourage everyone on our team, and this includes the client who is part of our team, to wear a N95 dust mask or a respirator.


Here are three interesting facts about dust I was surprised to learn:

Dust consists of particles in the atmosphere that come from various sources such as soil, dust lifted by weather, volcanic eruptions, and pollution. Dust in homes, offices, and other human environments contains small amounts of plant pollen, human and animal hairs, textile fibers, paper fibers, minerals

from outdoor soil, human skin cells, burnt meteorite particles, and many other materials which may be found in the local environment.1

Dust pneumonia is a medical condition that develops due to the excessive exposure to dust. This form of respiratory disorder affected a great number of people during 1930s in America when the Dust Bowl took place. The Dust Bowl was a period of dust storms that affected American and Canadian prairies during a severe drought in the 1930s. The Dust Bowl caused ecological damage, agricultural depression and consequently economic and social disaster. Enormous amount of dust in the air caused dust pneumonia in large portion of the population and many died.2

Dust mites grow best at 75-80% relative humidity, and they cannot survive when the humidity is below 50%. Dust mite populations’ peak during the hot, humid months of July and August. Depending on its age, your mattress may house between one million and ten million dust mites. Dust mites flourish in warm, humid environments.

Now that you have learned some facts about dust, I invite you to consider purchasing a mask or two. Not multiple masks as you still probably need to declutter and don’t want to create more dust. Use when you are cleaning or sorting and kicking up dust. Please make sure it has a particulate filter. Here are two examples of ones Collector Care recommends:

Has clutter caused your breathing problem because of dust? Are you ready to clear your clutter and kick your dust to the curb? Collector Care can help you declutter, whether you have extreme clutter, are a hoarder or need some minor help clearing your clutter. We also can get you organized.

Call Collector Care at 925.548.7750 or email to schedule your free 30-minute consultation and learn about how we can help you declutter.

Photo credit:

Sources 1 2

What NOW? What to do with important STUFF while decluttering

Hey Collectors!

To ensure success, I have broken down where to begin into many different steps. This month, we begin the second half of my series Where Do I Begin? If you are new to my blog, please check out previous blogs or my podcast Hoardganize: This second half of the series focuses on What Now?

Once you have the basic tools and steps down to decluttering and have generated some bags, you need to know what to do with everything. If you feel you still need help making decisions and decluttering, listen or read on my blog Episodes 1 through 5. Listen or read as many times as you need to have down. I want you to have complete confidence as you begin this next step.

Tune in to the Hoardganize Podcast every Sunday night!

Rachel Seavey, Host of Hoardganize

When you declutter you will come across important things need that you need to handle immediately after your decluttering session. It may be a phone number or a bill that needs to be paid. Try and not do anything until you have finished your decluttering session. I know the urge to handle it right now is very strong, especially if you have ADHD. Remember, you have dedicated this time to declutter to change your life. You have blocked it out on your calendar. Keep your attention and focus on decluttering, especially if you are only clearing clutter in small chunks of time, such as 15 minutes. More likely than not, you can wait to make the phone call or complete the other tasks that have come up in your important bag.

If, and only if, it is an absolute emergency, make that call. You should have your phone next to you at all times as I mentioned in Episode 1 to keep from getting up. Make the call and then resume decluttering.

You might have also found money, change, and gift cards. You most likely will. I cannot tell you how many boxes and bins I have found filled with money. After each decluttering session, put away your money. Commit to doing this after each session. Respect your money and put it away nicely. It might not have an official place to live like a wallet or piggy bank. If you are coming across lots of money, find a separate sturdy container to keep it

all together. A paper bag might break. Also, money could be dirty and you don’t want it mixed in with other important stuff.

What if you find important documents like a passport? At the moment, you don’t have a designated spot because you have no room to put it anywhere. I suggest labeling the heck out of your important bin. You might have several important items and that is okay. It’s better to keep important stuff in multiple labeled containers than unleash stuff into the clutter again.

As you continue to declutter your home, make sure that you keep your important containers staged in the same place. Don’t leave these boxes and bins out and around because they could get lost in the chaos. Have an area you can remember and easily access. It might not be pretty; find a corner in the kitchen, a closet…whatever feels good to you. Put all your important bags and containers there and keep them in one area. That way if you are looking for something important, you have it narrowed down to one area where it could be.

It is OK to have multiple important containers in a stacked pile. Remember, this is only temporary. I know it is not perfect, but ultimately in the future you won’t have a corner full of containers. Right now, take it step-by-step and day-by-day. In the future, all of your important items will have a home.

How do you designate important items when you declutter? What is your biggest challenge when you find significant stuff when clearing your clutter? Share your comments below.

Next month our What Now? focuses on sorting your keep containers.

Collector Care can help you will all of your decluttering and organizing needs whether you need a tune up, a complete decluttering or are a Hoarder. Call Collector Care at 925.548.7750 or email to schedule your free 30-minute consultation to discuss how we can help you clear clutter, get organized, tackle extreme clutter or hoarding.