What did me in was the French press. I make the coffee most mornings and if the French press isn’t clean, I have to do it. Nobody wants to do dishes first thing in the morning.
After I make and drink the coffee, I have to unload the dishwasher. This is so the dishwasher can be re-loaded while I’m away at work, and then run at night. Every day, there are more dirty dishes than will fit in the dishwasher, so those have to be done by hand.
It’s hard to keep up most of the time so dishes start to accumulate in the sink. Sometimes, both sinks will get filled up, and on the weekends there isn’t enough room, so the counters become the dirty dish overflow.
When this state is reached, everything goes to shit. You can’t find anything, it takes forever to catch up, the kitchen looks like a disaster, and fuck it all to hell, the French press has to be washed first thing in the morning.
We had it. So we decided to ditch the dishes; all of them, except for the essentials.
In order to make this shit super-legit we decided to start by packing all our dishes away into totes, which we are storing in the garage for the entire month of July. If guests come over, we’ll grab some extra shit out, but for the most part, we’re trying to avoid it.
If we were going hardcore, we’d only get a bowl, spoon, and mug. I actually lived this way for some time: it was cool, but definitely ascetic. Our clearly compromised version of this lifestyle is a little more comfy: grownups get a “plowl”1, a coffee mug, a glass2, a fork, knife, and spoon; kids get a plate, bowl, cup, fork, and spoon.
We pared down the cooking stuff too, but I simply can’t go as far as I’d like because I don’t want to spend any more time cooking than is required.
Why pack everything away?
You may be asking why we are going through all the trouble of packing things away when we could just use one item per person and leave the rest in the cabinet. The answer is that it is much easier to change your environment than it is to change yourself. So by simply removing the excess dishes, we no longer have to worry about the temptation to use a new dish.
The other benefits
There are other benefits to doing this, of course. Here are a few:
- Increased happiness: Like Socrates said: “The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” Well put.
- Less clutter: In our household, any excuse to get rid of clutter is a good thing. Less dishes means less clutter on the counters, around the house, and in the cabinets. Less clutter means a tidy, peaceful home.
- Grownup fun: Adults never do stuff like this. Why not break out of the routine and shake things up a little? It’s been a blast talking about it, packing everything up, and enjoying our accomplishment.