Tuesday, July 7, 2009

# simple times

Washing dishes.....

"Simple living is about living deliberately. Simple living is not about austerity, or frugality, or income level. It's about being fully aware of why you are living your particular life, and knowing that life is one you have chosen thoughtfully. Simple living is about designing our lives to coincide with our ideals."
- Janet Luhrs

Thank you all for the wonderful comments left on yesterday's post, it thrills me to know that like me, there are so many out there wanting to go back to the basics too and do things more simply.

As I make the transition to a simpler life, I'll be sure to share it with you.

Now as I stood at the sink tonight with all the dinner dishes around me, I made the decision to wash them by hand instead of hurriedly popping them in the dishwasher and quickly moving on to my next task.

I began washing and as I did I wondered why it is that suddenly we stopped doing things like washing dishes by hand, rinsing and drying and talking to the family while we do it?

I understand that times are different and there are days that we're so busy we need to just get things done, but for me, I've actually stopped using the dishwasher and only do it if I am sick or have a huge amount of dishes, or am in a really big hurry and headed out the door.

It feels to me that there was a time when people used to bond, do you remember doing dishes two people at a time? Standing at the sink shoulder to shoulder, one washing, one drying and all the time talking about the day or your interests?


Just feels that people had a lot more time to bond, nowadays once we're done with the kitchen work we rush into the living room and either get on the computer or on the tv and there we stay, for hours on end, everyone engrossed in their own thing, no one talking.

So next time you go into the kitchen, instead of popping the dishes in the dishwasher, fill up your sink with warm water and bubbles, turn some music on, slide your hands into the warm water and use the time you are washing dishes to meditate, to think, to pray, to ponder, to relax.

You'll be surprised at how good it feels!


  1. I just remarked to my daughter tonight how blessed I am to have a dishwasher. I never had one until this past fall and I really appreciate it, so your post made me laugh. However - I have to agree with you. Our lives get so busy that doing those little things are too much. Good post!

  2. believe it or not washing dishes has been something I've always enjoyed doing...I love the warm water on my hands...I have a dishwasher and it does get use because I cook big and often so there are always enough dishes for washing by hand and for the dishwasher. It is true that the dishwasher uses less water however it you figure the electric in your still using up natural resouces.
    I do some of my best ponder at the kitchen sink.

  3. Love it! Plan on doing it tomorrow night!

  4. Well, I am going to be the odd one out and say that I "wash" my dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. For one, we live in an apartment and the dishwasher is older. If anything was left on the dishes (as my husband has proven to me LOL) it will be stuck like glue after it gets done. So I consider my dishwasher more of a sanitizer than a washer. LOL Just to make sure everything is good and clean. I'm a bit of a germaphob. I'm not afraid to admit it. LOL
    God bless,

  5. I'm the odd one out here. I have never owned a dishwasher. I love housework, esp dishes. And once you have rinsed and stacked the dishwasher, I am not sure just how much time you actually save. My Mr 3 loves to 'help' me with the dishes too.

  6. I'll admit it - I dont like washing dishes at all. It's my least favorite chore ever. But it must be done and I am finding a way to do it with a happier heart. My kitchen is in need of a lot of attention which I havent quite been willing to give, but God is changing my heart, and now as I wash dishes, I look outside my kitchen window to see my veggie garden growing, and the breeze blowing the beautiful willow trees, and its not the drudgery it used to be.

    But I would gladly do your laundry if you'd be willing to wash my dishes. lol

  7. Love this post as much as yesterdays! Sometimes we have to make a deliberate "slowing down" of life. *Bonding* is a perfect word to describe what you're talking about...no matter what you're doing...whether you're washing the dishes, eating supper, or tucking the kids in bed at night. Though there are certainly times in life when we must rush or hurry...there are many more times when we can and should slow down and enjoy. :)

  8. This is a sweet post. I don't have a dishwasher. We do our dishes by hand. I have been teaching my children to do them cheerfully for years. My youngest does them very slowly. My 14 year old does them very quickly. The other children don't really do dishes, since they are older and busy with jobs and such. But mostly, I am in that kitchen cleaning and scrubbing counters and putting everything away. I love to hide all the packaged foods (like oatmeal or cereal) so it looks like an old -fashioned kitchen, in the days before processed foods.
    Well, yesterday I actually threw out my dishdrainer! I don't like the way it looks in my kitchen and it is hard to constantly clean it. So I scrubbed my counters and washed a sink full of dishes, slowly. I dried each one and put them away. It is precious to look into that kitchen and see it spotless, not even a dish in sight.
    I often listen to good, old southern gospel music while I work in there, or a sermon on CD. It is a way to be edified while I work.
    It is a precious memory for my children, to see Mother happy, working in the kitchen and enjoying the old hymns. It is the art or legacy of home.
    Mrs. White in Vermont

  9. What a wonderful post. I also am one of the odd ones, as I've never had a dishwasher (almost 40 yrs of marriage). My heart hasn't always been into washing dishes, but as I grow older my heart and thinking change. Life is made up of little things that take time, some are mundane, repeated over and over. We can either be grateful or grouchy. I prefer to be grateful, even though I'm not always that way. I also enjoy my hands in the warm soapy water. I can look out into our secret garden and am thankful to God for his many blessings.


  10. you are a total inspiration Sandra. having said that ... there's no way i'm going to stop using my dishwasher ! ha ha. i like to use it to free up time to do other things ... like soak in the bath, or sit on the couch with my husband, or read to the kids ... i think there are so many things we can do that make life simpler ... each individually ... good on you for making this choice towards your more simple life. i'm sure it will enrich you and your family ! like i said ... you are a total inspiration !!

  11. I use my dish washer about once a week. Usually it is on the weekend. But like Amanda said above....I use it as a sanitizer too. If someone is sick in my house...the dishes are going in the dish washer. In resturants you have to have your water at a very hot temp to disinfect...its a health dept guideline that I learned from my mama a long time ago. Most people dont have their hot water tanks set that high.....any who......I wish I had someone to bond with while I'm doing dishes...they run! I wash them by hand to help keep electric costs down.

  12. It has been almost a year now since I quit using our dishwasher. I am so glad I did, for several different reasons.

  13. I don't have a dishwasher, nor does my Mum. At my mum's house, we still do this: «It feels to me that there was a time when people used to bond, do you remember doing dishes two people at a time? Standing at the sink shoulder to shoulder, one washing, one drying and all the time talking about the day or your interests?» but here, I'm the only one doing this task so sometimes it can be a bit boring. But some days I just pray or sing while I'm doing it and it makes everything easier.

  14. Anonymous9:35 AM

    Sandra, I love these posts. I think we are kindred spirits. I, too, "feel the calling" for a simpler life but I don't know where to begin. Maybe I should run out and buy a dish drainer? :-)

    Seriously, I think it is very sad that people are so stressed and busy that they don't take the time for each other (bonding) anymore.

    I remember lots of dinners at my grandmother's house. Her dishes didn't even match but that didn't matter. She was the best cook and she loved having her family around. After we were all done eating the ladies all washed and dried the dishes together. Those are really good memories for me.

    I know a blogging friend that does her laundry by hand. I don't know if I want to go that far with the simple life. :-)

    I look forward to more posts on the simple life from you. Thanks for sharing. Love, Debbo

  15. LOL. Well, my memories of doing dishes side by side with my sister is one of bickering and fighting and my dad threatening us if we didn't quit, which we never did, and nothing ever happened. LOL. She'd always hand stuff back saying they were still dirty when it was my turn to wash. Drove me nuts! LOL.

    Love that definition of simple living. Really brings a good perspective!

  16. Okay, I admit it. I HATE dishes. Over any other chore in the house, this is the one I can't stand. I'm quite sure I will never ever do away with a dishwasher on purpose. And we have lived without one plenty. And while my kids are home, they learn all about dish washing....because then I don't have to do it. I am not ashamed! LOL!

  17. Hi there! I'm loving your blog! I wash my dishes by hand too...if you want to read about it, here's a link to one of my old posts...


    love, Tina xxx

  18. What a great idea. Thanks for reminding me about that. I think my husband and me will doing the dishes in the sink tonight!

  19. I have a bucket in the sink that I fill with hot soapy water every morning. Throughout the day if I need a spoon or bowl I wash one that I've used earlier. It helps cut back on the growing pile and in the evening I enjoy the time with my husband washing and drying. Though I do appreciate the dishwasher for times when we have company!

  20. Anonymous12:56 PM

    My husband and I have done the dishes together ever since the dishwasher sprung a leak back in 1997. It gives us a chance to just chat about the little things. Our relatives all think it's "cute"!


  21. I loved your post.. both yesterdays and todays.. I'm afraid I'm a die hard dishwasher user.. I'll not give mine up at this stage in life. I've done my research on it and it actually is cheaper to use then washing by hand..

  22. I love that simple idea. I did the same thing while painting my master bedroom this weekend. I just popped in some music and took my time. So relaxing and before I knew it, I was done!

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  23. I have been doing our dishes by hand for some time. Makes sense for us...empty nesters. I really think it saves water and energy as well. (I know some would disagree) I usually just do the plates first with the silverware soaking. Then rinsing the plates in the sink adds more water and the rest gets a good soak. After air drying for a bit, the dishes are good to go. I do miss times of chatting with my sister when doing dishes...thanks for this post!

  24. Sweet post! We don't have a dishwasher and I bemoan that at times, but I do enjoy the break and the view from the kitchen window sometimes (as long as a 2yo girl isn't pestering me and wanting to get on with things!)

  25. What a fantastic post!

    We, too, are on a path to a more simple life, though lately, we got sidetracked due to family issues. Issues are resolved and we once again are back on simplicity path starting this week.

    Here's a couple of links you might enjoy:

    Also visit the extensive list of homesteading/simplicity blogs on my bloglist on my own blog, www.crazyforthecountry.com :)

    Now, I'm off to wash dishes...the "old fashioned" way :)

    Happy Sunday to you and yours!


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