I live in an apartment that was built in 1886.
And still, it does not have a dishwasher.
When my then boyfriend and I were looking at the place before signing a lease, I was quick to decide that not having a dishwasher was nothing to be worried about. Of course, 3 years into living here and I’ve finally just gotten into the rhythm of cleaning the dishes regularly.
At first, dishes would pile up daily, creating nasty films on all of our plates and bowls. Then I’d spend over an hour cleaning, erratically, ready to be done the instant I started.
I realized that we had way too many dishes: we were able to go over a week without cleaning dishes because there were plenty to use. It made washing them impossible when it came time. So, needless to say, I got rid of over half of them: the old bowls I got from a garage sale, the first set of utensils I got from Ikea, the stupid coffee mugs I didn’t even like.
At that time, I got rid of many things. It took me about six months to purge the waste I had been holding onto for years. I realized I had moved over 15 times in my life, and had been carrying all of these pieces with me all along! I felt absolutely ridden with things.
I wouldn’t say that what I have now is horrifically minimal, because I definitely have superfluous items that I could truly do to get rid of, still. But I do feel that I have exactly what I need, exactly where I need it. Something I haven’t felt for years and years.
Now, I do the dishes nearly daily if I can. It takes me less than twenty minutes or so, and I know exactly what dishes we have and which are still in the cupboard. As I pick up each bowl and cup and fork, I think about what we ate in it, with it. I think about the conversation behind those meals. I think about how good it feels to simply wash my dishes.
In a way, I am washing away the life they were given, to let them be fresh and ready for a new one. And in that way, I am able to let go of the burdens of life that even a tiny piece of silver may hold.
Then I think that not having a dishwasher may be the best thing- it saves water and gives me peace, and maybe when I buy a house, I won’t even want one. And then I chuckle at that thought.
And so the story goes:
“You don’t have a dishwasher?”
“You’re looking at the dishwasher!”