I'm fairly certain it could be considered a mental illness on my part.  We all have our cross to bear, I'm told.  If so, my cross is the dishwasher.  I'm either an idiot savant or I have way too much free time to think about such things.

Photo by me.

You'd think something as silly as loading the dishwasher wouldn't be a big deal to me, but it actually comes from a bit of laziness.  I figure the more I can load INTO the dishwasher in one cycle, the less I have to wash myself in the sink.  My preference for perfection in loading the dishwasher comes from NOT wanting to load the same dishes into another cycle because of bad dishwasher technique.

This is a battle I live every day.  My wife is, shall we say, not the least bit concerned with loading the dishwasher the "Jamie way".  She'll throw the crock pot into the bottom shelf and not wash out her green blender before throwing it into the mix.  All that's OK, because I've come to the conclusion that this is my life's special gift.

I'm not musically gifted.  I'm not... well, much, other than freakishly able to pack luggage into a car, load dishes into the dishwasher in the most effective method possible, and count toothpicks when they fall onto the floor.  Definitely.  Definitely able to count the toothpicks.  Alright, I haven't tried the toothpick thing yet, but my dishwasher-loading skills are Rainman-like.

Admit it. You're impressed. Photo by me.

Take a look at these miraculous images in front of you.  Behold the beauty of a perfectly-loaded dishwasher.  I've got the plates laid out perfectly on the bottom shelf, allowing water to reach the upper shelf that's filled with cups and various other dishes.  The biggest key to optimum dishwasher success is allowing the free flow of water all the way to the top shelf.

If you block flow with large objects on the bottom shelf, you'll find the same coffee from yesterday that you drank yesterday.  The 2nd-biggest reason dishwashers don't clean as well as they can is not washing the dishes ahead of time.  I know that sounds as dumb as... well, as dumb as it sounds.  But if that dried-on ketchup from the tater tots you drunkenly made at 3am last Friday morning doesn't get loosened up with a little ol-fashioned elbow grease, you're going to be washing last Friday's ketchup again this Friday.