How a dishwasher magnet and a little motivation gets this mom out of doing dishes every day.
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to live with a small annoyance because you never think about it until you need it? Or maybe you think it’ll be difficult or expensive to replace or fix. Or maybe, like me, you’re hoping someone else will take care of it before you have to?
This was me with our dishwasher routine.
If your family spends as much time arguing over whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher as mine does, then do yourself a favor and make up one of these cute magnets.
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A Brief History of Family Chores
Several years ago I embarked on a mission to teach my kids how to become contributing members of society. AKA I gave them chores.
Some chores were paid, some were unpaid. Some were assigned daily, weekly or monthly. One of their chores is to do the dishes for an entire week. (This cuts down on arguing over whose day it is.)
The way we do it in our house is, when the dishwasher is empty or has a few dirty dishes in it waiting to be washed, the rest of the family is responsible for putting their plate, cup and silverware in after eating.
If the dishwasher is full or clean, the rest of the family doesn’t have to put their dishes in, but can set them in the sink or on the counter. Then the designated dish-doer for the week needs to empty the dishwasher as well as fill it with all the dishes that have accumulated while it was waiting to be emptied.
Over time, our family has started describing this as “the dishwasher is (or isn’t) accepting dishes.”
What’s the problem?
Because one child (who shall remain nameless) is less motivated by the piles of dirty dishes in the sink, we’ve sunk into a kind of family rhythm where we know whether we have to put our dishes in the sink or washer, based on whose week it is.
My other daughter who HATES touching dirty dishes, and therefore always tries to make sure the dishwasher is “accepting dishes” made a sign for the door that’s held up by a magnetic clip, in hopes of reminding us to put our dishes in the washer and not the sink.
Over time, we’ve all come to rely on the sign to tell us what to do with our dishes, or who to answer to if we’ve done wrong.
It’s a system and it works, but it just doesn’t look very nice, in spite of her super cute drawing.
So I decided to try and craft a more permanent solution, and I made my own dishwasher magnet.
Yes, I know you can buy such magnets online, but what kind of DIY-er would I be if I just did that? (Maybe a smarter one, but that’s beside the point.)
Anyway, if you find yourself in the same position, feel free to use this free printable to make your own dishwasher magnet.
DIY Dishwasher Magnet
For this easy craft project, you’ll simply need a self adhesive magnet sheet, a pair of scissors, and access to a black and white (or color) printer.
First, print out your printable, following these instructions.
I’ve included two designs, mostly because I couldn’t decide which one I wanted to use. The rectangular design will be easier to cut, but the circular design is so cute. I think I’m going with the circular one for now.
Next, cut out along the edge of the printed area.
Peel off the cover of the self adhesive backing from the magnet and carefully stick the printable onto the magnet. (Try flexing the paper so the middle touches the adhesive surface first, and then work out to the edges.) Use your fingers to smooth out the paper on the magnet.
Bonus Step: I went ahead and covered mine with a coat of Mod Podge to keep water and smudgy fingers off the paper.
That’s it! So easy, and now so cute. The hard part is training your family to use it!
By the way, if you like my tea towel, you can make one like it using this block printing tutorial.
Happy dishwashing! (Or better yet, happy NOT dishwashing, once you get your family trained.)
- Print out the free printable page on a black and white or color printer. There are two designs to choose from on one page.
- Cut out around the dotted lines of the design you want to you.
- Remove the self-adhesive backing from the magnet sheet. (If you're using a larger sheet, cut it down to the size you need to conserve the rest of the magnet for another project.
- Stick your printed cut-out to the magnetic sheet, smoothing from the middle to the outside edges.
- Optional: Cover the paper side with a coat of ModPodge to protect against water and smudges.
When you're affixing the paper to the magnet, it helps to slightly bend the paper up at the edges, so the middle part touches the adhesive first. Then work your way toward the edges. This will prevent air bubbles.