Friday, 26 August 2011

Living Without (a dishwasher, that is)

Jason had one week in London to find and rent us a flat.  We both spent hours scouring the web for a flat that had all of the things we wanted:  two bedrooms, outdoor space, near a Northern Line tube stop, near a large park, close to shopping, dishwasher, washer/dryer . . .

Despite all of the gorgeous options online, finding a flat with half those things (that also happened to fit into our budget) proved to be a bit difficult in real life.  Well, difficult if you also add on things like:  isn't gross, doesn't have old carpet, doesn't smell, doesn't have peeling wallpaper, isn't filled with other people's nasty stuff, etc.

Here is a picture from one of the places Jason toured:

grody to the max

I have two words to describe this:  not awesome

It was a bit discouraging that we were looking to spend more on a London flat than we were spending on our much loved three-bedroom house in the DC burbs and our options were severely limited.  (Oh London, why must you be so pricey?)  We decided that our best bet was to make some compromises.  Could we live without a two-bedroom, without being near a tube stop, without a washing machine?  No.  Could we live without a dishwasher, a clothes dryer, without an outdoor space?  Probably.  Enter our current flat.  We lucked out by finding a place with a lovely backyard, but we compromised on the dishwasher and dryer.

As I mentioned before, living without a dryer isn't ideal, but it is doable.  It is just how people live here.  As for the dishwasher situation, we make it work.  Well, most of the time.  Our dirty dish situation got out of control during my mom's visit.  With three adults, one adorable baby and a schedule packed full of being sick in bed, taking care of Loveday, sight-seeing and socialising (between cough attacks.  Poor ma.), our dish washing fell to the wayside.  Two words describe how I felt about the whole thing.  Can you guess what they were?  That's right.  It was:  not awesome.

A few nights ago, Jason and I were discussing this article from the Washington Post.  It is about how immigrants to the US don't use their dishwashers. Jason had been discussing dishwashers with his co-workers earlier that day and one of his colleagues said, "you're rinsing the dish anyway, why not put in a couple of extra seconds and just wash the dish?".  It was an "ah-ha" moment for me.  It sounds so simple, but I have been washing every dish immediately after I use it since we had that conversation.  Jason decided to join in.  Here is our collection after this morning:

day two of immediate dish washing

That would be two plates from last night, Jason's egg cup, saucepan for cooking the egg, tea mug, water glass, my cereal bowl, Charlie's cereal bowl and assorted silverware. 

I have decided to vow on this public forum, that I will attempt to wash each dish (or other eating related item) immediately after using it.  There is no reasonable excuse not to.  If my brother can live in a converted basement apartment with his wife and two kids, exclusively eat foods grown in his own yard, friend's yards or farmer's markets, and produce less trash in a month than we do in a day, I can wash my dishes by hand.  (Oh, he also does that, too!) 



  1. Hear, hear! A key to being happy in a small space is, I think, keeping the small space tidy.

  2. That's what I do. I much prefer two small loads of dishes to one big one. But be careful - now I can't even wait till the company leaves to get the dishes done! I do them while the water is boiling for tea. :)

  3. You need a dishmatic!

    If you don't already have one, it's a dish brush with a hollow handle that you put detergent in. MADE for washing individual items.

    You can get them from any grocery store

  4. Welcome to London! Your article made me laugh. I'm in the process of house hunting at the moment, we found a stellar place last night but it lacks a dishwasher. I just found myself googling 'can you live without a dishwasher'. What has my life become.

  5. Oh man, we tried handwashing dishes for about a year (didn't use our dishwasher) and it was waaay hard to keep up, even with immediate washing, and especially with all the bottles/sippy cups/pumping gear, etc. We thought we could get rid of our dishwasher and make a pantry, but apparently we're not disciplined enough for that kind of lifestyle!

  6. Wow. Good for you, Rae. I would never have resorted to handwashing dishes if I didn't have to!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...