Dishes. And laundry, but I'm tackling one thing at a time.
Every appliance in my house is old, including my dishwasher. One day I was fretting over the fact it will finally fail soon- and then it hit me. Dishwashers are really a luxury. A want, not a need.
Slowly, I began to accept the idea of hand washing my dishes instead of using the dishwasher. I have to wash them ahead of time, anyway, and if I don't, the whole load ends up dirtier than before the machine washed them.
Then I started to get excited about it. Before we had a dishwasher growing up, I gained memories of drying dishes next to my mom- I remember kind of liking it :)
Currently, our mission is to wash dishes after each meal. I have reduced their chores to three a day after meals in order to focus on developing this habit. One girl sweeps the kitchen, one cleans off the table (everyone is responsible for taking their own plate to the sink), and one helps me do the dishes. Max vacuums under the table.
The very first thing we do is rinse and scrape as clean as possible, stacking dishes according to wash order.
If something- especially pots and pans- are extra greasy, I sprinkle some baking soda on it to soak up the grease. ( I put it in a small mason jar with a few holes poked in the lid).
We use this homemade soap.
The first sink is for washing. I like to soak them a few minutes before washing if needed. The water is as hot as tolerated, with a few squirts of soap.
Glasses first, silverware second, then dishes and baking pans.
Second sink is for rinse. I pour a little vinegar in the hot water because it helps with reducing water marks and greasy dishes. I love my soap, but it is not sudsy like the store brand and does not always get rid of grease. Vinegar does help. Lemon juice works as well.
Place on racks to dry. If possible, it is most sanitary to air dry. It's also less work :) Otherwise, towel dry. Make sure they are completely dry before putting dishes away in order to prevent bacteria growth.
It is best when we put some music on and work together, and then it is done- no waiting for the dishwasher to finish. I'm loving the elimination of the dishwasher!