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I work at a pizza place, a really good pizza place. No, I don’t have the illustrious job of pizza maker; I have less appealing duties at work. I make salads and clean dishes, usually in that order. As surprising as it may sound I actually really enjoy my time in the dish pit. Scrubbing dirty plates and getting pizza sauce everywhere really helps clear my head. I’m not a bad little dishwasher either, and here are a few tips if you ever find yourself with a mountain of dishes in front of you:

Wash the biggest dishes first.

The most frightening part of a dish mountain is just that, it is a mountain. However often times the mountain is made of fewer dishes than you would think, they’re just big ones. Knocking out the big buckets or giant baking pans can cut the mountain nearly in half with only a few loads of the dishwasher. While there are still plenty of loads to wash after the big dishes are done, clearing out the biggest space-takers makes the remaining dishes seem more manageable.

Scrub, scrub, scrub.

The dish mountain only knows one thing: dishes. Don’t think just because you take a break from dishes that the mountain will be doing the same. Dishes are added and added and added no matter what. Which can lead to some serious dish-related problems if you aren’t careful. My advice? Keep on scrubbin! A steady work pace is your best weapon against all those plates that just can’t seem to stay clean.

Soapy water is your friend.

Speed is important, but cleaning dishes isn’t about how fast you can do it; it is only about having clean dishes once you’re finished. While it can be time-consuming, you should probably change your sink water pretty regularly. Say you finished your entire dish mountain in 20 minutes, WOAH! That’s fast! But if all your dishes still have smudges and streaks on them, what have you accomplished? You just wasted 20 minutes. That’s it. Obviously work as quickly as you can but never sacrifice your work’s quality for speed.

It doesn’t matter what your job is, or how often you touch half-eaten calzones, doing dishes applies to you. Think of success, whatever that may look like to you, as a clean sink, YOUR clean sink. All these problems keep piling up to stop you from having your clean sink stay clean.

Don’t feel like you need to fix everything at once. Deal with your biggest problems first, let less important things wait until you don’t seem as overwhelmed. Keep working, always; problems won’t stop showing up just because you’ve solved one or two. But no matter how full your plate may be, don’t do anything halfway. Sometimes you lose your soapiness; sometimes you need to refill your sink, to recharge, so you are better prepared for the problems ahead.

When looking at your mountain of dishes remember that much taller mountains have been climbed and much dirtier dishes have been washed, so crack out that steel wool and scrub scrub scrub!