Three Major Appliances You Don’t Actually Need
Once upon a time I owned a dishwasher. It was brand new, it worked just as they should. Then one day I went to grab a dish from the cabinet and found there were none. I looked in the dishwasher, and saw that it was not filled all the way yet, so naturally I hadn’t run it. The obvious solution was to buy more dishes, so that I could have a full dishwasher AND clean dishes still in the cabinets. The obvious solution was a stupid solution (no offense).
What is a dishwasher? It’s a semi-clean dish holder. Everyone knows you have to at least rinse all the food off a dish before putting it in the dishwasher. Otherwise that dish goes back in the dishwasher a second time, (and maybe even a third before someone caves and actually soaks and scrubs last week’s dinner off by hand). A dishwasher is an excellent procrastinator, the perfect “out of sight, out of mind”. The dishwasher is more work. Sponge and rinse dish to remove any sign of food, place in dishwasher (or rearrange dishes already there to fit more), pour in soap, something for a “streak-free shine”, re-set all the settings after your toddler pushed the buttons all day long, wait several hours (washing), wait several hours more (drying), remove dishes, get surprise attack of water from that bowl that flipped upwards and have to change socks, use towel to mop up the tops of all the coffee mugs, finally put dishes away. Dishwashers are costly. Have you ever paid attention to how long a dishwasher runs? It’s HOURS! Of course you want the water scalding hot, and of course you want the heat dry to ironically speed things up. Then there’s all the “special” soap and rinse aids with the “poison if eaten” labels…oh more irony.
So now, life without a dishwasher? Only have as many dishes as you would use at one time. One time being Christmas when the most people would ever be in your house all demanding the exact same type of plate. Wash dishes as you use them. You can still occasionally enable the procrastinator in you by allowing some to “soak” in the sink, or “dry themselves” on the drying rack. The process is easier. Apply soap to sponge, wash dish, place dish on drying rack, wait several hours, or just dry by hand with a towel, put dishes away.
Once upon a time I had a microwave. It was brand new, and worked like some sort of magic. I never wanted to know how or why the magic worked, and while I’ll research fluoride all day long, I didn’t even want to know if it was bad. Still don’t. I no longer have a microwave because I am stubborn, and because my new house is too small. Counter and cabinet space are valuable commodities, and microwaves are big. I thought it was impossible to live without a microwave. I assumed they existed since the dawn of time.
Then one day, I realized there is something else in our house that makes heat. The oven. I also discovered that when I wasn’t buying plates at the dollar store (because I had to have so many to fill the dishwasher and then some), I could buy really nice quality plates that could also go in the oven. I also realized that pots can hold more than food. They can also hold water, and be used to heat up said water for things like tea or coffee (french press anyone?). I discovered that even popcorn can be made on the stovetop, and behold, I realized what a rip-off microwavable popcorn really is (I mean seriously, the price is outrageous compared to kernel cost). Yes the oven and stovetop do take longer than the microwave but no one in this house had much patience to begin with, so it’s all OK.
Once upon a time I had a dryer. It was brand new, “fancy”, “energy efficient”, and cost more money then I care to remember ($616.58). It did NOT work as it should. It worked as it SAID, “energy-efficiently”, which means it used minimal heat and time to almost, but not at all, dry your clothes. HOWEVER, instead of an obnoxious ending “BBUUZZZZ” noise, it played a happy light-hearted song that would calm you before you opened the door and became enraged at finding damp clothing. Thankfully it had 25 settings and one of them was labeled “more dry” which meant that if you ran that settings twice, your clothes would finally be dried. Once upon a time I also had humidifier running non-stop in the winter months, and a high electric bill.
Like the microwave, I assumed life without the technology of the dryer was non-existent, and certainly not free. Then one day in winter I realized that dryers pull humidity out of the air in your home. Two things happen as a result of this. The first being dry skin and a near painful drying of all your sinuses and nose, especially while you sleep. The second being your house feels colder because humidity actually makes a temperature feel warmer than it is. So naturally, the obvious solution was to crank up the heat and run a humidifier to make sure that all the extracted moisture was put back in. Once again, the obvious solution was stupid.
I thought not using a dryer in the winter was impossible. Turns out it’s actually brilliant. Drying clothes indoors in winter keeps moisture in the air. Hang clothes in evening, clothes are dry by morning! No one is inconvenienced, and no one wakes up with a bloody nose. Run out of room on your indoor drying rack? Hangers on the shower rod works great in a pinch! Drying racks, both inside and outside, are MUCH cheaper than a dryer, with no reoccurring “usage fees”. Plus, on a hot summer day, this crazy (and free) occurrence of sun and perhaps a breeze, will dry my clothes FASTER than my dryer did. My clothes even have that “linen fresh” air scent that dryer sheets try to match. On the note of dryer sheets, if you’re wondering, yes hang drying in winter means no static footie pajamas that make the kids’ hair stand on end! However, yes, I did have to buy new bath towels. Dryers are masters at making those things fluffy again. Don’t worry, yours will be fluffy again too, when you buy new ones, (which will also cost much less than a dryer). Yes, you do have to do things like plan ahead, and look at the weather, but I needed to improve my time management skills and spend more time outside anyway.
Note: The picture is holding 3 loads of laundry, including a king-size sheet. #itcanbedone. This outdoor umbrella clothes line rocks.