Jun 262012

by hand. Most of the time.

It all started last year in September when we went camping in Italy. We used to be a weird sort of camper, we sleep in a tent, on the floor, we don’t take any gear but mats, sleeping bags, a mat for sitting on, two plastic glasses for wine, and a Swiss army knife.

Other than that we acted mostly like the locals, going out for every meal, and eating cheese, bread, and wine in between. But last September was different, because of my husband’s food sensitivities, and because of our lack of funds we did take a propane stove, a pot, some plates, and mugs, and silverware. And all of a sudden we had dirty dishes to wash.

Now with the minimal equipment of the years before you can get by with rinsing everything under water, and that’s mostly it but last year we also took a dishtowel, and detergent and such. And I waited for the moment when I felt miserable about doing housework while on vacation but that moment never came.

And then we went home again, and everything was back to normal until the dishwasher didn’t work anymore. And on that day we unloaded it again, and we ran hot water in the sink, and did the dishes by hand. And since the dishwasher still wasn’t working we did it again the next day.

In the beginning we were quite diligent about it. We did the dishes after every single meal. And it didn’t really feel like a chore because it was my husband and me talking, and doing dishes together. Like a very social time. A conversation that happened to have soapy glasses and plates in it.

And we were a bit low on money, and we found that we didn’t really minded the dishes, and so we’ve been doing them by hand every day since then.

Of course it isn’t always fun but on the other hand we had been washing quite a few things by hand before that time anyway. Like the hand-thrown mugs that we use for our morning tea and coffee. We only have one of those each, and they are not dishwasher safe so those had to be washed anyway. And we don’t own enough pots to put them in the dishwasher because the dishwasher only ran about every other day, and we need those pots every single day, sometimes twice so those had to be washed by hand as well. And the big knives, the ones you need every time you cook, those couldn’t be put in the dishwasher as well.

So what if we just added three plates, and three glasses, and three sets of silverware to the things that needed to be washed by hand? No big deal.

Well, there are days when we don’t really feel like washing up, and then we have piles of dirty dishes and pots cluttering the kitchen. That’s not nice. And there are times when we don’t have much time, and then we feel awful every time we look at the kitchen.

But still, most days one of us just gets to work, filling the sink with nicely smelling bubbles, and we scrub and we wash, and it’s not a big deal. In fact, I find that when I’m not too much in a hurry I really enjoy doing the dishes. It’s a small task, it’s easy, I don’t have to think, it’s not complicated, it doesn’t take more than twenty minutes at the most (and that’s the beauty of doing it often, at least once a day), and afterwards the kitchen is tidy, and everything is clean, and I have done something good for my family.

And we don’t need nearly as many plates and glasses and knives. Before we were always out of small plates, and knives, and small spoons. So much so that we went out and bought some more. And those still weren’t really enough. Now that we wash everything by hand we always have as many clean plates and knives and spoons as we possibly need. Luxury.

Also it smells much better than the stuff that goes into the dishwasher, no idea why. And the glasses don’t turn blind, and everything gets cleaner. Weirdly enough.

So we’re thinking about getting a new kitchen. One of my many aunts has decided to do good, and to give us a bit of money for that. And my husband and I stood there thinking, and all of a sudden he asks me, “So, do you want to get a new dishwasher then?”

“No.” I said. “I like it better when we do the dishes by hand.” And he said it’s the same for him, even if it’s a little more work.

I only feel silly about this when talking to other people. And yes, I remember that we were the couple who said that the dishwasher had saved out marriage. But it seemed that we changed, and now we don’t mind doing the dishes, and we’d very much like to throw the old one out, the one that is still cluttering our kitchen, and put a nice little storage space in there, something we really need.

What about you, do you mind doing the dishes?

  5 Responses to “Why I don’t really mind doing the dishes”

  1. Ich hasse es abzuwaschen! Erst einmal hilft mir mein Mann dabei nicht, so dass ich zur Gesellschaft höchstens ein Hörbuch habe, und dann ist unsere Küchensituation nicht gerade ideal, um den Abwasch zu machen. In meiner neuen Küche wird es eine Spülmaschine geben und ich bin sehr froh darüber (vor allem, da wir aufgrund der Anschlüsse auch nur eine flache Spüle einbauen köönnen).

  2. We own a dishwasher, but only use it during holidays or large parties when we can fill it and run it. Like you, we found it wasn’t much work to do the dishes for our family each day in the sink. One of Fiona’s challenges for this summer is to design a really great dish drying rack. None of the ones you can purchase here meet my criteria.

  3. Uhm, yes and no.
    We don´t own a dishwasher, because we have no appropriate space in the kitchen. We would have to change the whole kitchen (wich is part of the rented flat).
    I often say “it would be nice to have a dishwasher”. But then You are right, there are a lot of things that don´t go into the dishwasher. Or that we own only one time – like pots and the good knife. The dishwasher would ran one or two times a week, so the unique things have to be cleaned by hand.
    Then on workdays we don´t cook (we eat at work), so there are not many dishes.
    And I really don´t like the smell of many dishwashers! Dishes often are salty and smell disgusting. Maybe because I rinse with pure water while the dishwasher doesn´t (I don´t want to eat detergents).

    Lots of arguments not to have one. Possible, that if we come to a situation deciding to have or not to have a dishwasher, we would decide against one.
    Because: It´s not a great effort (well, sometimes we do the dishes once a week, than it is a bit more work). And in winter you get warm hands!
    We don´t do the dishes together, because mostly we only wash and let them dry alone. But each of us does the washing and the putting away.

  4. Wichtig ist, was für Euch gut ist. Bei uns würde der Geschirrberg direkt zum Scheidungsanwalt führen. Wir spülen beide ungern ab und mit zwei kleinen Kindern stapelt sich hier jeden Tag so viel Geschirr, dass die Spülmaschine fast täglich läuft. Und wir haben auch genug Töpfe, Pfannen, Messer usw. Das einzige, was ich von Hand abwasche, ist die Brotform des Backautomaten samt Knethaken wegen der Beschichtung. Oder entsprechende Formen vom Kuchenbacken. Aber das ist alles nicht so eklig.

    Ich kann dieses Spülwasser mit Essenszeiten drin nicht leiden. Meine Hände werden schrumpelig. Nee, brrrr. Aber wer weiß, wie ich in 10 Jahren darüber denke.
    Wie ich neulich schon bei Distel geschrieben habe: Jeder zieht seine Grenzen selber. Ich backe unser Brot immer selbst. Dafür lasse ich abwaschen.

    Liebe Grüße aus Berlin,

  5. ups, das sollte “Essensresten” heißen.

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