I Hate My Utensil Caddy

Juliette and I have a nice little system for figuring out our nightly chores. When Juliette cooks, I do the dishes. When I cook, I do the dishes. It works out perfectly because Juliette gets some time to relax in the evening and I get the peace of mind that comes from knowing that the dishwasher has been loaded properly and the dishes have been cleaned to my standards. There is one thing I hate about doing the dishes, though. I hate the utensil caddy.

You may be thinking, "But Mike, why would you hate your utensil caddy? All it does is sit in your silverware drawer and make sure that your salad forks and dinner forks stay separate. Surely you don't hate your utensil caddy. After all, what could it possibly have done to you to inspire such strong emotion?" I do hate it, though. And I'll tell you why: it's because I'm a crazy person.

I hate that my utensil caddy is made out of widely-spaced wire mesh, because it means that every time I open the silverware drawer, the butter knives slide through the spaces in the mesh grid and stick there. I end up either having to unstick them before taking them out to use them or remembering to open the drawer very slowly every single time. Or deal with bent butter knives. People, this is not a choice I should have to make.

As annoying as that is, it's not such a huge problem. After all, I could just go get a new utensil caddy, one with smaller gaps, or which lacks gaps entirely. (I shouldn't have to do this, but it's still an easy enough solution.) What really drives me up the wall about my utensil caddy is something common to every caddy I've ever seen. It is an inherent design flaw.

Imagine that you have finished washing and drying your dishes, and now must set about putting your utensils back where they belong. If your house is anything like my house, you've probably got two or three forks to put away, maybe four, and perhaps six or eight clean ones already in the drawer. So you drop your nice, freshly cleaned forks back into their neat little caddy spaces and go on about your business.

Some time in the not too distant future, you will need a fork again, of course, so back to the caddy you'll go. And most likely you'll take the fork from the top of the little pile in the fork space. But, people, that is one of the forks that you just put back in there. What about those six or eight forks sitting on the bottom of the pile? Odds are, you won't get down to them at all unless you have company over, which at my house, anyway, happens no more than twice a week and usually a lot less. This means that a small minority of your forks is being used at least 2.5 times more than the rest, and is thus accumulating that much more wear than the rest.

Of course I recognize that you can easily avoid this problem by either always taking the fork from the bottom or by always putting away the clean forks on the bottom of the pile. But that is completely unsatisfying, because either way it means you have to take out all of the forks to get to the spot you want and then put them all back every single time. And that's just unacceptably inefficient.

Look, I already told you that I'm a crazy person.

Like most crazy people, I'd like to blame it on my parents. I know that's kind of a cliché, but in my case I think it's probably true, since this particular sort of crazy seems to run in my family. Trust me, if you've ever seen the look on my aunt's face when someone says that they may have accidentally spilled a drop of spaghetti sauce into the crack between her stove and counter, you'll know that I'm not making this up.

I'm convinced, though, that it's not just me and my mom's family who are crazy like this. Somebody else out there has gotten worked up about stuff just as ridiculous as a utensil caddy. So tell me: what's your bit of crazy?



I have 12 place settings of silverware. About every-other month when putting away dishes I take the bottom 6 of each type out and put them on top. I do dishes infrequently enough that the 6 on top get a regular rotation, and I figure that way the entire set wears close to evenly without always having to take the one from the bottom. I don't know what you're talking about crazy.

Also, wooden caddy instead of wire mesh and lord save me from house guests who try to load the dishwasher. *shudder*

Mike Sakasegawa:

Juliette's first comment after reading this--in fact, even before she finished--was "We should get a new utensil caddy."


Well, there's the solid plastic kind of caddy from the 80's. No knife trouble with those.

There's also the modular rectangular bins that slide together- "build your own caddy" basically. One benefit of this is that their much wider than the actual silverware. Any kind of juice when opening and closing the drawer and the stuff is sliding around.

Of course, it's not stacked neatly any more.

I have my silverware in a bamboo stand up caddy on the counter due to lack of drawers. I load the clean stuff into the front of each stack and take from the back.

Get a new caddy. Life is too short.


We avoid the problem in question by frequently not doing dishes until there are no clean ones left. Yeah, I know. If you saw the house I grew up in, though, you'd marvel that I do any housekeeping at all. :P


Yeah, but sometimes I need spoons, glasses or butter knives while there are plenty of plates.

My dish use is uneven.


Bill: I think that is a solid complaint.

Bill: I especially like that he points out that his wife has problems properly loading a dishwasher.

quis: i am going to post that as a response

Bill: Even though I find your failure to properly load a dishwasher to be annoying... I cut you some slack being that you lack the crucial packing Y chromosome.

Bill: Also... this somewhat touches on the reason I cleaned the food processor last night. I didn't want to question your cleaning ability at the time. But that was a whole lot of raw meat.

quis: I am comfortable with not cleaning whatever dishes you would prefer to clean