@Max the fact that the container is open means the disjher are clean
That is far too complicated for kids to comprehend. Just getting them to move their dishes from bedroom to kitchen was a challenge. Of course, when parents go on strike and refuse to move dishes, and the sinks pile up, and suddenly there are no clean dishes available; the kids finally realized what a dishwasher is for and reacted accordingly. They were too young to have ever experienced having to wash dishes by hand in pre-dishwasher days...
I was given another "mental crutch" (so far unused and still in its blister-pack) by another kid, a magnetic-backed sign that has the "DIRTY" and "CLEAN" printed opposite-upside-down, the idea is to place them in the correct position on the front of he dishwasher. But I can see this as eventually scratching the shiny surface of the dishwasher and reducing it's re-sale value :>}
All kidding aside, your article discusses a subject that is a problem in every household worldwide that has a dishwasher. My wife often complains about my re-packing; I prefer to refer to it as "squeezing in that last dirty dish".
Any engineer who has had to squeeze every last component onto a pcb, or onto a single-page schematic drawing, can certainly squeeze one more dirty dish into a dishwasher - it will fit some where...
@Zeeglan: I would take the cardboard tube from a used-up roll of paper towels and write "CLEAN" on one side and "DIRTY" on the other.
You can make it even easier than that -- when you empty the dishwasher, place a new dishwashing tablet in the compartment and close the door -- as long as that door remains closed we know that any ports inside are dirty -- when someone eventually washed the dishes, the fact that the container is open means the disjher are clean.
@seeEE: ...and then it slowly dawns on me that no matter how much I work, the silverware basket is not getting emptier...
I've actually been involved in something similar -- I can;t quire recall the occasion, but it was some big function involving lots of people -- during the clear up process there was a younger kid who proved to be the weak link, because (with all good intentions) he was mistakenly returning the clean, dried items and feeding them into the beginning of the cue mixed in with dirty stuff -- it took us ages to realize what was happening LOL
"How do I know whether the stuff in there is clean or dirty?"
Long ago, when the kids were still kids, I would take the cardboard tube from a used-up roll of paper towels and write "CLEAN" on one side and "DIRTY" on the other. Then it was just a matter of placing the tube in the upper basket and rotate it so all would know. The kids were usually pretty good about depositing their used dishes directly into the dishwasher when the sign was positioned to say "DIRTY". I always wanted to build a better version of this, but never got a round tuit.
A few years ago one of my kids (now the father of 2 grandchildren) remembered this and bought me a nifty little plastic gadget that has a sliding cover to expose the words "CLEAN" or "DIRTY" one at a time. It uses an adhesive backing to mount to the top of the dishwasher door. Now it's obvious, as long as one remembers to slide the cover over upon starting a new load.
I was laughing through the whole article, and then I remembered...remembered what happened when I was a kid and our dishwasher broke down. We asked Mom if we were going to get a new dishwasher. Her reply was, "Why should I go buy a new one. We have five of them right here." Yep, talk about five glum faces that day. And then my job (this is like when I was in third grade) was to empty the silverware basket and put the knives, forks, and spoons in their proper places in the drawer. So one morning I am empyting last nights silverware into the drawer...plunk...plunk...plunk.. and then it slowly dawns on me that no matter how much I work, the silverware basket is not getting emptier. Is the silverware basket a current source or a current sink or some strange kitchen vortex? The answer to this mystery was that my wise older brother, who was drying that morning's dishes, was deposting the silverware into the basket to let the person with the official job title put it into the drawer. He thought it was hilarious. I thought it not.
Does it take an engineer to pack a dishwasher? Yes, but anyone can be trained to do this properly thought it may require the standard four years of schooling.