The Benefits of Doing without a Dishwasher

Three unidentified women washing and wiping the dishes, Drouin, Victoria

When we moved into this house last summer, we gave up a lot: a fourth bedroom, a second bathroom, an attached garage, a big backyard, a garbage disposal, and . . . a dishwasher.

Now, the house we left was the only place I’ve lived in my “adult” life that had a dishwasher, so it’s not like I was new to the concept of washing by hand.  In fact, I am still relieved to see that homes I rent have a double sink instead of the old school enamel sink original to the building.

But I sure appreciated the dishwasher in our last house, and I was sad to say goodbye.

However!  It turns out that doing dishes gives me time to: talk on the phone, think about my sermon, come up with amazing blog posts, and gaze fondly at my child while she demolishes the family room or flings all of the dishes in her play kitchen onto the floor.  (Pro Tip: These activities are not simultaneous.)

And guess what else?  Doing dishes is good for my heart, my muscles, and my brain!  The health benefits of standing while you work, or at least standing and moving around every twenty minutes or so, are well-documented.  I just heard an interview on Fresh Air last night about how good it is simply to stand up and walk to the window every twenty minutes.  (Since I sit about two feet from the window, I might walk to another window in the house.)

So, when I stand at the kitchen sink, talking to my mother or thinking about Sunday’s sermon or planning my next great post, I am also taking care of my body.

You know what this means: more Dairy Queen treats.

As Ma Ingalls would say, “There is no great loss without some small gain.  Please pass the ice cream.”  (Pro Tip: If Ma were alive today, I’m sure she would add the part about the ice cream.)

Tafel vol afwas / A pile of washing-up


Filed under Marvelous Miscellany

13 responses to “The Benefits of Doing without a Dishwasher

  1. I love talking on the phone and I love everything I get don’e when I am talking on the phone! Now I can tell myself that I am being healthy, too!


    • Totally! Even if you just stand instead of sitting, according to this New York Times fitness writer (or something), you are doing something great. So, call away!


  2. Rachel

    Your post reminds me of something that happened around here recently. A few months ago our women’s Bible study basically attributed the downfall of the American family to the invention of the dishwasher (and all technology since then). Later that evening, I got to eat dinner with my husband only because we were able to communicate via texting/cell phones. Ah, technology!


    • Ha! I can totally see that happening at our women’s Bible study. In fact, it may have done. I’m glad you were able to eat with the husband, even if it was just via cell phone. What a world!


  3. We just bought an old farmsite. The house is in really, really bad shape. The roof leaks, the basement leaks… the kitchen is awful. But it does have a dishwasher. It tucks directly under the sink. The sink is very shallow. I am not Elasti-Girl and I am not even that tall. I would think rinsing dishes and moving them to the dishwasher would be awkward and not worth the hassle.

    Before I knew that the roof leaked, I had thought I would splurge on the kitchen renovation. Uh, no more — paint, plywood floors… but, I am still dreaming on one splurge. I hope I can get an old school enamel double bowl farm house sink.

    We just went to DQ yesterday. I ordered a mini Blizzard and they accidentally made me a regular. So, I was forced to over-indulge. I better do my dishes. 😉


    • Ha! Don’t get me wrong: if those old school enamel sinks were double bowl farm house sinks, I would have been delighted. Filling one side and rinsing in the other is just so much better than the plastic tub I still have hanging out under my double sink. Just in case? Who knows.

      Well, if you only ordered a mini, the extra calories do not count. Doing dishes will just put you over the top!


  4. I have to admit, washing dishes can be really therapeutic! Although on the days when there are a million things going on, I’m very thankful that the place I just moved into has a dishwasher. I still enjoy doing them by hand, though…I may also need to use that as an excuse to have more ice cream. 😉


    • It is nice to have a dishwasher on busy days, or when you entertain. But it’s also nice to take ten or twenty or however many minutes to just be still and do something productive but not stressful or challenging. Unless of course the pots have been waiting a while . . .


  5. Susan Latzke

    At the age of 50 I have never owned a dishwasher I have found out that washing dishes bye hand has been the best thing for anger management, thought processing, sharing quality conversation with kids and grandchildren , Dirty garden hands and I’m sure other things I can’t think of at the moment . I feel blessed not to need that modern convinience I would have missed out on many memorable moments if I had a Dishwasher.


    • That’s true, Susan! Mike and I have spent a lot of good time and had a lot of good conversations standing shoulder to shoulder (or as close as we can with the height difference) at various kitchen sinks.


  6. Pingback: Music Everywhere: Toast and Jelly | Never Done It That Way Before

  7. Great post! I have a dishwasher, and I still wash by hand. There’s something about the process of getting an object clean that gives me satisfaction. I guess that’s also why I love laundry. As for the rest of my home…. HAH!


    • Oh, amen to that! Laundry is my favorite chore. Probably because it’s the easiest. And it is nice to transform a pile of dirty dishes into a dish rack full of sparkly clean ones. See, I feel better and better about washing by hand. Thanks you!


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