Do You Have a Dishwasher? How About a Microwave?

February 12, 2014

vintage dishwasher image

By Gabrielle. Tons of vintage dishwasher images here.

Fun fact: over the weekend we got a microwave! It’s just a little one, but it gets great reviews — and it won’t take up too much space in our kitchen.

I realize microwaves are nothing new, but as it turns out, we haven’t had one for over 3 years! It wasn’t really intentional, it just sort of happened. When we moved to France, the house we rented didn’t have a microwave. At first we wondered if microwaves were looked down upon in France, but learned later that wasn’t really the case. They are widely available anywhere small appliances are sold, and it wasn’t unusual for us to see one in our friends’ homes. Our landlords just preferred going old school, and didn’t keep one in their home.

Since we were embracing the full La Cressonnière life (and originally thought we’d only be there for a year), we decided we didn’t need a microwave either.

It took some getting used to. In fact, little June was only 9 months old when we moved to France, and I missed having a microwave to warm up tiny baby portions. But after a few weeks, we formed new habits and didn’t miss the microwave at all.

Then, when we moved here, though The Treehouse came furnished, the previous homeowners weren’t microwave users. So once again, we were in a microwave-less home. And since we were out of practice using them, it didn’t occur to us to buy one until recently.

This made me wonder: is there a “modern convenience” that you currently live without? I’m thinking of things like dishwashers, laundry machines, microwaves —maybe even Kitchen Aid mixers and toaster ovens. And if you had to choose, which one could you absolutely not live without?

For me, laundry in my home is essential! Second, would be the dishwasher. We’ve had a dishwasher in our home since we first moved to New York in 2001 — it would be hard to give it up. In fact, the dishwasher here at The Treehouse broke within a week of moving here (it was from the 80′s and on its very last leg), and we had it replaced within the month. We missed it too much!

As for other “modern conveniences”, I’m pretty flexible. I can live without a microwave. And I’ve never actually owned a stand mixer (what would Raleigh say if she knew? Hah!).

How about you?

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{ 157 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sheila@Chinaberry February 12, 2014 at 11:25 am

After going through 3 dishwashers in about a year, I would now say that I don’t think I could live without one. When we first remodeled our kitchen over 20 years ago, we splurged (for us) on a Bosch. We discovered that not only did we have to rinse our dishes, we needed to practically wash them first, so that the dishwasher was just sanitizing them. That one lasted a good while, but then we had a couple more “fancy” ones that didn’t last and didn’t clean the dishes, sigh. Now I am relieved and happy to report that we finally ended up with one that cleans off even dried on gunk with ease. Geez, I sound like a commercial! We ended up with a Samsung — and didn’t even know they made dishwashers! Hope you enjoy your new microwave and newish dishwasher. Are you happy with your dishwasher?


2 Design Mom February 12, 2014 at 11:38 am

We do like our dishwasher very much! It’s one of the 2-drawer models — which I had never tried before. We bought the floor model, it was priced with a hefty discount because it has a small ding in the front panel. Buying the floor model allowed us to get a better dishwasher than we had budgeted for.

It’s a KitchenAid and it’s worked wonderfully so far. I like not having to wait until the whole dishwasher is full to run a load.


3 The Vintique Object February 12, 2014 at 9:30 pm

When we bought our house recently, our house inspector told us that garbage disposals are going the way of the dinosaur in the Bay Area because everyone here uses the compost bin instead! Thought that was interesting. And actually, his comment made my desire for a disposal completely vanish.
I’m with you on the washer/dryer. I’ve done my time carting loads to the laundromat — a dreaded chore. And having a dishwasher basically saves my marriage.


4 kirsten February 12, 2014 at 11:28 am

When we redid our kitchen, we got the beautiful IKEA double farmhouse sink. After we installed it (!) we realized it was not compatible with a disposal. At first I was upset, but after quick research realized that a disposal is very much an american thing (and since IKEA is European…) and most people don’t have one. We didn’t use it tons anyway, we compost a lot. Anyway, nearly a year later, still don’t miss it!


5 Design Mom February 12, 2014 at 11:32 am

Garbage disposals! They are almost unheard of in New York, so during our 8 years there we never had one, and I missed it! Food in the garbage gets stinky so fast. And garbage outside gets attacked by raccoons!

In Colorado we had a disposal and I loved it. But then in France, once again there were no disposals.

Our house here doesn’t have one either — but we have a good city-wide compost pickup, so that’s a good replacement. When we eventually redo our kitchen, I’d love to add one!


6 Anna February 12, 2014 at 11:54 am

Back home in Canada garbage disposals are not common, either. I find them handy for keeping scraps from clogging the drain, but I still can’t get used to the idea of purposely putting stuff down there instead of the garbage can like most people here seem to – it just seems so gratuitous to purposely create sludge that then needs to be filtered back out from the sewer system.


7 Amy February 12, 2014 at 12:50 pm

On the subject of garbage disposals: My husband is a city planner and adamantly opposed to garbage disposals for the reason Anna mentioned. They are not common in NYC because they were banned there until the late 1990s.


8 Sally from Little Hiccups February 12, 2014 at 1:40 pm

Garbage disposals are not common in Australia either. In fact, I believe they were actually banned quite a few years back. We have one in our apartment here in Berkeley and two years down the track I still find it a bit of a novelty – but I’m a little terrified of it at the same time! It’s like having a super powered blender in your sink. Eek!


9 Ann February 12, 2014 at 11:25 pm

I’m terrified of them too! We had one in a Sydney rental and I hated it so much I unplugged it… And normally we Australians are tough. I wasn’t scared of the cockroaches that also quite liked that kitchen…


10 Kate February 12, 2014 at 3:35 pm

We, too, live without a garbage disposal. Since we live in Alaska and don’t want to attract bears to our stinky garbage, we keep a couple empty quart-sized yogurt containers in the freezer and put our food waste in them throughout the week. On garbage day, we empty the containers into the trash, still frozen and not stinky, and put the trash out to be collected. The containers get rinsed and put back in the freezer. This helps keep our regular garbage from smelling as well.


11 Celeste February 13, 2014 at 8:46 am

That is a great trick! I might have to try that.


12 Eliza February 12, 2014 at 1:12 pm

We just installed the same lovely IKEA sink and had no problem attaching our old disposal to it. I mainly have the disposal so I don’t panic about things that accidentally fall down the drain — my lovely flock of hens are the happy recipients of all waste food at our house.


13 Summer February 12, 2014 at 1:45 pm

That’s the same reason I have (and love) a disposal, Eliza! I’ve never put stuff down there – I just figured if it broke, I’d have to fix it! Haha.

This whole topic has made me realize how…comfortable?… I’ve always had it. The only thing I don’t have is a stand mixer, and I’ve considered it just because i’d like to make ice cream (oh, the attachments I could have!). I think dishwasher is my #1. As long as I had a w/d in my building, I’m good (now I do have them in my actual space though, which is nice). It’s also surprised me how much I LOVE my toaster oven.


14 Barchbo February 12, 2014 at 2:51 pm

We have a disposal, but now that we compost we never use it! I’ve had one my whole life – I’m amazed how quickly I got unused to it.


15 Sonya February 12, 2014 at 11:32 am

I live on my own in Chicago and I have none of the following: dishwasher, microwave, in-unit laundry, central heat or air. I like my place though I have base board heaters and window units and my condo building has a nice laundry room. I would LOVE to have central heat and air-conditioning as well as the in-unit laundry. The other two I can do without for now. I haven’t had a microwave since 2008 and I don’t miss it. If I was married or had a significant other who lived with me, or had roommates, then I think a dishwasher would be nice, but it isn’t a necessity. I still would hand wash all my knives, pots, pans and bakeware. I’m old school. Never did I believe I would be a 32 year old adult living without such modern conveniences, but in city apartment living, not having one or all of the above is not uncommon.


16 Design Mom February 12, 2014 at 11:34 am

No central heating in Chicago? I assumed it must required by law there. :)

Our main floor here in Oakland has central heating, but the upstairs has electric baseboard heaters. They both certainly have pros and cons.


17 emma February 12, 2014 at 11:38 am

We haven’t had a microwave for about 8 years now.

To start with it wasn’t intentional, and similarly to you, was a matter of our house not having one when we arrived. And then not getting around to buying one, followed by a conscious decision to not have one.

Recently I’ve become interested in health reasons for not using a microwave and came across this which seemed quite alarming and more the reason for being grateful that I don’t have one.

Having said that, I do miss the convenience of it!

Would love to know if anyone else has thought about or looked into the health side of things in reasons for not using a microwave. Secretly hoping for reasons to debunk the theory above ;)


18 Design Mom February 12, 2014 at 11:40 am

Thanks for the link. I’ll be sure to check out the article.

I haven’t heard much about health + microwaves, but I do have a very distinct memory of my Grandmother Lucille and her first microwave. She would make me stand back and shield me from the “waves” if she was using it.


19 Anita February 12, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Since having children I’ve become very interested in healthy eating/living holistically and am right there with you (as well as MANY others out there). I have read too many articles and heard too many talks about microwaves destroying food put in them. The short of it – they kill all healthy nutrients in the food. If I (or my children) are going to eat something, I at least want the nutrition still there and not just be eating to get full. A quick Google search will produce tons of info for anyone interested.

I tried to debunk it too… :)


20 emma February 13, 2014 at 8:29 am

Thanks Anita!


21 Tina February 12, 2014 at 11:41 am

We have lived without a dishwasher, toaster and laundry washer in our unit for many many years! We didn’t feel they were necessary until recently. I used to mock people who made such a big deal about needing a dishwasher. Well, now that I have a 1 yr old I see the light, and would love a dishwasher! Three meals a day for her and me dirties a lot of dishes and its increasingly harder to wash as she is standing right between my legs. Still don’t feel a toaster is necessary, the oven does the trick just fine! Fun topic, btw!


22 Maylene February 12, 2014 at 11:43 am

I think the appliance I would miss the most is a blender. I use my blender almost every day. I could probably get by without most of the other standard appliances but a blender has such a unique function that would be difficult to replicate by myself!


23 Design Mom February 12, 2014 at 11:51 am

We use a blender often as well — but often it’s for a treat (like a late-night milkshake), so I not sure I can classify it as ‘essential’ at our house — but I know it would be horribly missed if it was gone.


24 Ros February 12, 2014 at 11:45 am

I’m pretty well-equipped with appliances, given that I live in an apartment. Fridge, stove, washer/dryer (a lifesaver with a baby coming!), dishwasher (I just tell myself it’s cheaper than marital therapy… ;)) – I could do without if I really had to, but I’d rather not really have to. I guess it depends on which chores you/your spouse disagree over most – automating those is a lifesaver!

We have a microwave, but it’s mostly because we’re used to having it and it hasn’t broken or needed replacing… it’s not like we use it much, and when it dies we won’t buy a new one. We have a toaster oven instead of a toaster, since it’s more multipurpose, and I do have a stand mixer because I bake pretty much all our baked goods and bread (gluten-free, because food issues suck).

We don’t have AC, but we’re in Quebec – it’s only really hot for 2-3 months, and that’s what fans are for. We also don’t have (or intend to ever get) a garbage disposal (compost instead!). When we build our house in a year, we’re intending to put in a fireplace, which will be the most amazing non-appliance-based luxury I can think of. :)


25 jen February 12, 2014 at 11:46 am

i think we lived without all of these items before we had kids. but now with a family i can’t imagine living without
#1 Washer/Dryer
#2 Coffee Maker
#3 Microwave
#4 Dishwasher
The convenience of a washer and dryer, that I cannot live without!


26 Sara February 12, 2014 at 4:49 pm


That’s my #1! Practically as important as my refrigerator! :)


27 Sally from Little Hiccups February 12, 2014 at 6:05 pm

I have a few friends back home in Australia with plumbed in espresso machines in their kitchens! While that would be nice, my Nespresso does the job quite nicely :)


28 Nikki February 12, 2014 at 11:47 am

We have lived without a microwave for about five years now. We are actually toying around with the idea of buying one at the moment as the house we just rented doesn’t have a working stove or oven (ugh) and I’m running out of ideas of things to cook using my crockpot, electric kettle, and an electric griddle. We also don’t have a garbage disposal in this house, which I miss more than I should. I’ve lived without laundry machines and I never want to do that again. Major props to people who have to lug their laundry and kids to a laundromat,etc to wash clothes.


29 Design Mom February 12, 2014 at 11:51 am

No working stove or oven? That’s tricky for sure!


30 Sara February 12, 2014 at 4:54 pm

I would be struggling big time without a stove or oven. In the meantime, though, you should check this website out:



31 carole February 12, 2014 at 11:47 am

My original birth family of five has swelled to 35 and is rapidly growing. When we all get together, there are lots and lots of dishes. A dishwasher, or two!, is must.

Looking back, now that my own kids are grown and have kids of their own, I think the next-to-perfect laundry set up would be one washer, two dryers. The perfect set up would be two washers, two dryers. So much time is spent on laundry it seems. I would even recommend buying used, mismatched in order to accomplish the task. The problem is most homes are not set up for two each.


32 Design Mom February 12, 2014 at 11:53 am

Once of my friends built her dream home a few years ago, and installed laundry machine on the main floor and laundry machines in the master bedroom closet as well. I thought it made so much sense to have laundry near the bedrooms instead of tucked away in a basement. Maybe someday we’ll do something similar.


33 Giulia February 12, 2014 at 11:49 am

I wish I didn’t have a microwave, but we are so used to heating milk that way and the occasional leftovers, that it’s a habit hard to break. It takes up space on my counter and I don’t like it.
Dishwasher is essential to me, especially as you use a lot less water using one compared to washing dishes by hand, especially on the eco cycle. I’d also wouldn’t want to loose my washer. I could probably give up my dryer and dry all my clothes outside, however, in cold Canadian winters that could be tricky. When I lived in Switzerland, there was no dryer, just a large drying room.You washed on your assigned day and hung all your laundry in the room. Then you had to remove it before the next apartment had their turn to do laundry. Oh, and this was on on a bi-weekly schedule, so you needed to make sure you had enough underwear and socks to make it through 2 weeks. This was before having kids!


34 Design Mom February 12, 2014 at 11:55 am

I’m fascinated by your description of a drying room. If the weather was good in France, we loved hanging our laundry out to dry. But it was wet so often in Normandy that I was very grateful for the clothes dryer. Here, we don’t even have a laundry line. Maybe we should install one!


35 Tamara February 12, 2014 at 1:17 pm

I have a drying room in my house, and I love it. It is a small room directly across from my washer and dryer. I use adjustable curtain rods that stretch from wall to wall, to hang shirts on hangers. I also have 2 drying racks for pants or sweaters. It is very useful during our MN winters, when drying outside is not going to happen.


36 erin February 13, 2014 at 7:52 pm

Tamara, another Minnesotan here–thinking about your drying room and chuckling that it reminded me of some Laura Ingalls Wilder I read today. So appropriate since I had never heard of a drying room and even inside, in MN, I would think you’d end up with a lot of frozen laundry. Do you have a heater in that room?


37 Sally from Little Hiccups February 12, 2014 at 2:39 pm

My husband and I lived in Zurich before we had kids and our building had a big drying room in the basement – right next to the mandatory nuclear shelter! We also had dryers in our building so the drying room was often empty. We were lucky that our building was full of foreigners and didn’t have a strict washing schedule. I think there may have “officially” been a schedule but there were no Swiss residents in our building to complain that no-one stuck to it ;) Everyone else we knew lived in a building with a strict washing schedule, mostly with just two allocated days per month. One friend was given two consecutive days per month which meant he needed to have a month’s worth of clothes to last between washes! At one point he had a girlfriend who lived in France so he would visit her on weekends and take his washing with him. He used to joke that he exported his filth out of Switzerland!


38 Raleigh-Elizabeth February 12, 2014 at 11:58 am

I can live without a microwave. I can live without a dishwasher. Life without a standing mixer is no life at all! (… she says, defiantly brandishing a whisk)


39 Mickaelle February 12, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Definitly agree with you. Never had a microwave. Bought a dishwasher 2 years ago – don’t use it every day.But can’t live without my KitchenAid – bread, cake, icecream…..


40 Sara February 12, 2014 at 4:56 pm

Cute! :)


41 Anna February 12, 2014 at 11:58 am

The appliance I’m happy not to have is a microwave. After several tiny apartment kitchens, I got very used to not having one, and now I would never be willing to sacrifice the space it would occupy. The few jobs it could do for me just aren’t worth it. On the other hand, my parents and in-laws can barely stand it when they visit – they’re all used to microwaving their coffee or tea many times throughout the day. On every visit I have to repeat my “No thanks” to their offers to buy us one. Maybe if I ever have a bigger kitchen I’ll get a microwave just to be a gracious host, but not for any other reason.


42 Felicia February 12, 2014 at 11:59 am

How funny! I could not live without a microwave (we have three) but our dishwasher hasn’t been turned on in years. We do store plates in it though; does that count?


43 ck February 12, 2014 at 11:59 am

Nope, no microwave by choice. We really don’t miss it – it’s not so hard to stick something in the oven or a pan for a few minutes. But when my parents come they have a very hard time adjusting.

We also have no coffee maker – we use a french press – and until a month ago, I had never owned a toaster. I’m 38 years old. But toasting bread in the oven is such a waste of energy that I decided it was worth it, and we love it. No standing mixer for that matter. No television… kind of appliance averse.

We don’t even consider ourselves weird, but when new people come over, well, suddenly I realize we might actually be a bit weird.


44 Design Mom February 12, 2014 at 12:12 pm

“I realize we might actually be a bit weird”

That made me laugh! I definitely feel the same way from time to time — especially when I tell someone about oil pulling.

A few times we’ve had visitors that assume we were taking a stand against microwaves by not having one in the home, but in reality we’re actually totally fine with microwaves. It’s funny what these little actions (or non-actions) can communicate unknowingly.


45 Ashley Dunham February 12, 2014 at 4:53 pm

I don’t care much if people think I’m weird for not having certain appliances, (or for homeschooling, or __(insert weird choice here)___….but I DON”T like the feeling that they think I’m taking some kind of stand. I’d rather be thought weird than judgemental!

So, often, I try to draw attention away from those things.


46 Design Mom February 12, 2014 at 6:46 pm

I know what you mean. I also am bothered when people think I’m taking a stand. It’s frustrating to be misunderstood.


47 Joy February 12, 2014 at 7:18 pm

I feel that way too! My sister came to visit once and commented on our lack of a TV: “wow, that’s so…bohemian.” Ha!


48 betsy February 12, 2014 at 12:03 pm

No dishwasher as there isn;t any good place for it in our kitchen. Eventually we *might* get a narrow European style one but that is way down the road. I find even when I have a dishwasher I do a lot of handwashing anyway- we use our good dishes often- and it just seems like another appliance that is expensive to fix when it inevitably breaks.

The microwave on the other hand I could not live without. I am constantly warming up cups of tea. And I use it to defrost tomato sauce, or chicken stock, or soup or lots of other stuff like that. I also use it to premelt cheese in grilled cheese sandwiches or quesadillas before I put them on the skillet.


49 Lucy Mitchell February 12, 2014 at 12:03 pm

We don’t have a dryer and are managing fine. I never thought we would but it was making our bills quite high so moved it into a garden shed for a while and yes, we can live without it! I do like the microwave though, don’t think I’d like to give it up.


50 kimberly February 12, 2014 at 12:05 pm

we haven’t had a microwave in over 5 years and we like it this way.
we cook from scratch and warm things up (leftovers, drinks, etc) on the stovetop or in the oven.
on some level i do not trust the microwave.


51 Design Mom February 12, 2014 at 12:09 pm

“on some level i do not trust the microwave”

I don’t think you’re alone, Kimberly. I can think of a few people in my life that feel the same way.


52 Larissa February 12, 2014 at 12:07 pm

We don’t have a TV! The kids use the iPad and computer to watch shows so they get screen time anyway. I do miss the experience of watching Christmas movies as a family but somehow we survive. I worry that having a TV would put me in the position of policing it constantly and it would get on my nerves. But maybe we’ll get one in the future?


53 Sally from Little Hiccups February 12, 2014 at 2:42 pm

We didn’t have a TV for the longest time when we first moved to the US. With a laptop and netflix it’s easy to go without one. Then my parents visited from Australia and they just wanted to sit down and watch a movie in the evenings so they bought us a TV!


54 Kimber February 12, 2014 at 12:09 pm

My oven broke in late June, and I didn’t miss it all summer long! We live in DC and things can get seriously muggy, so who wants to bake anyway? We left on a vacation the last week of August, and when we got back two weeks later it was suddenly fresh September – and I wanted my oven fixed YESTERDAY. So funny how the weather does that….


55 Design Mom February 12, 2014 at 12:13 pm

So true! Some kind of baking instinct kicks in for me when fall arrives.


56 ann February 12, 2014 at 12:15 pm

The dishwasher in our rented house does not clean well, so we have been hand washing dishes for the last 1.5 years. We have two girls ages 16 and 13. One washes and puts them in the dishwasher to dry in the morning. The other one puts the dishes away when she gets home from school.

Our younger daughter needs OT (Occupational therapy for fine motor movements and building strength), so I use this as part of that therapy.

I would prefer not to do without a clothes washer and clothes dryer. It is certainly nice to have those in one’s dwelling unit.

We have had 2 fridges in most of our homes over the years. I love that. So handy.

We have had a big mixer in the past, but found it too cumbersome, now we just have a hand mixer. I would like to do without the food processer, but occasionally we use it and I am glad I have it.



57 Crystal February 12, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Our microwave broke 5 or so years ago. The only thing I really felt it was useful for was microwaved popcorn which I miss the convenience of a little.


58 Sara February 12, 2014 at 12:16 pm

I lived with neither a dishwasher, in-house laundry, or microwave for most of my adult live. Since moving into my current home, I have gained first floor laundry, dishwasher, and microwave. I feel like a “real American” now. I could live without all three (and do for most of the summer at our cottage), but I greatly appreciate having laundry and a dishwasher (especially when having house guests). I know I’m an adult because sometimes I “show off” my dishwasher to my friends (such a novelty). :)


59 Emily February 12, 2014 at 12:20 pm

I could definitely live without a microwave, and I’ve never had a stand mixer either! I have lived without laundry and absolutely hated it, but have become used to it when living in big cities. I definitely think I could live without a dishwasher. I worked at a bakery for seven years (high school through college) and became so used to hand washing dishes that my current roommate and I sometimes forget we even have a dishwasher to use!


60 Alice February 12, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Another apartment-dwelling Chicagoan–no microwave, garbage disposal, dishwasher, in-unit washer/dryer, or central heating/cooling. It doesn’t bother me at all. Every once in a while, a guest wonders why I use the stove when the microwave would be faster. XD My family and my husband’s family think we are CRAZY for not having these “essential” items, but we honestly don’t mind. (I do, however, dream of someday living in a building with central heating/cooling where I have a thermostat and some control over the temperature.)


61 Susan February 12, 2014 at 12:25 pm

I have a dishwasher but I’ve never used it once since it was installed six years ago. I HATE to unload dishwashers so I wash everything by hand. I haven’t had a dryer for going on eighteen years now. Growing up (family of 10) we would hang all our clothes on the line Besides why should I pay to dry my clothes when I can do it for free. I can’t really think of anything that I couldn’t live without but I do enjoy my VitaMix and microwave.


62 Sally February 12, 2014 at 10:57 pm

I too grew up in a family of 10 and we didn’t have a dryer either. We would line dry everything, even in the winter. I have memories of taking clothes off the line and warming them up by the wood burning stove. For that matter, that’s how we heated our house too. We didn’t have central air, just a furnace that heated the bottom story. The stove helped to heat the house a little more. Growing up we lived without a microwave, disposal and dish washer (and shower..which isn’t really an appliance).
As for now at various times in our 17 years of marriage, we’ve lived without a dryer (I had a drip drying technique down to a science), a microwave, dishwasher and tv. This past year all of our wedding present appliances have started giving out, so I’ve found myself going over what we ‘need’ and what we don’t really have to have. Surprisingly, I haven’t felt the need to replace all of them.


63 mom in mendon February 12, 2014 at 12:27 pm

After moving into our new house in Morningside, people asked how we liked it. All I could talk about was the microwave. Heat up tortillas for tacos in seconds. Amazing!!


64 Kelley February 12, 2014 at 12:28 pm

I’m currently living in London, and don’t have much in the way of appliances. The biggest adjustment has been having a washer but no dryer. I’ve mostly adjusted to the different way the clothes feel, but it still drives me crazy that the clothes always seem to take AGES to dry (especially because London weather usually means I have to hang them inside). I also miss having a garbage disposal more than I thought I would. I didn’t use it a ton when I had one, but it was nice not to have to worry about the drain clogging.

On the flip side, I don’t know why electric kettles aren’t more popular in the states! Not having to wait ages for water to boil on the stove saves me so much time when I’m cooking!


65 Sally from Little Hiccups February 12, 2014 at 6:11 pm

As an Australian living in the US I have to say that not being able to find an electric kettle here was a struggle when we first arrived. Boiling a stove top kettle is sooo much slower and it doesn’t turn off on it’s own like an electric kettle! I have quite a few Australian friends living in the States and they’ve all found the lack of electric kettles a big adjustment too.
I guess Australians, just like the Brits, drink way more tea than most Americans ;)


66 Design Mom February 12, 2014 at 6:44 pm

I had never used an electric kettle until we moved to France, but I fell in love with it! I bought one almost immediately upon moving to Oakland. Long before the microwave even occurred to me. Funny!

Target actually carries a decent offering of electric tea kettles now, and I found these cute ceramic ones on Amazon.


67 Jess February 13, 2014 at 12:05 am

Yup, I have an electric kettle, too. I blame the influence of my British ex for that one.


68 Asheley February 12, 2014 at 12:34 pm

I am from California, but have lived in Austria for the past three and a half years. The one thing that I really missed at the beginning was a garbage disposal! However, after a few weeks (ok, months!) I realized I could live without one. Now I don’t really even think about it. All the food scraps just go into the “bio” container and get picked up each week. We also didn’t have a microwave in our first apartment here, but have since moved into a house which came with one built in.


69 Cecilia February 12, 2014 at 12:42 pm

So interesting to hear about how people live! There really are so many ways to do it well. We are “dorm-parents” at a boarding/prep school and live in an apartment attached to a dormitory. We share a basement laundry room with our colleagues who live in the faculty apartment below us (thankfully, the students do their laundry elsewhere). It’s not the greatest arrangement, but it’s tolerable. During the summers we live in an old farmhouse in Maine, which had neither dishwasher nor laundry when we bought it. For the past two years we’ve lugged our clothes to the laundry in town and brought them back to the house to dry (line-drying is the best! We have a great contraption that spins) or brought them home with us at the end of the vacations. It has been more difficult than I thought it’d be, especially with all the guests we seem to have. I am so grateful that our almost-done renovations will make room for a washer (and dryer for the winter months)!


70 erin February 13, 2014 at 7:59 pm

Cecilia, can you point me to info about your spining drying thing? I use a rack and line outside in the summer, but I would love something like that for the winter (MN).


71 darci February 12, 2014 at 12:43 pm

when i moved to nyc from chicago i gave up my toaster in favor of the coffeemaker, as my apt was toooooo small for anything extra to be sitting on the counter. When my husband moved in several years later we eventually got a toaster and gave up the coffeemaker. I didnt get a microwave until i had kids.
I have never had a dishwasher, washer/dryer or an elevator. Good thing our apt is only a 2nd floor walk up. Oh, and we live in a 1 bdrm apt, about 500 sqr ft. New Yorkers put up with so much in order live here.


72 Wendy du Pleasis February 12, 2014 at 12:49 pm

You don’t have a laundry line?! I just cannot imagine. We are very spoilt here in South Africa with long sunny summer days so all my laundry is dried outside. The drier is only used on the wettest of days or for ‘softening’ the towels or the twins onesies. How on earth do you dry linen?
Two fridges is fantastic. One day I dream of owning a chest freezer and being prepared for months on end.


73 Chrissi February 12, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Fellow Austrian here: We don’t have a dishwasher, a microwave, a dryer or garbage disposal in our apartment. I do miss the dishwasher a lot and think it would be nice to have a microwave. I can see the advantages of having a dryer but we don’t have the space for one, I don’t like the negative impact it has on the environment, the electricity bill, and I am afraid of the damage it causes to the clothes. Oh and we don’t have a TV. It’s because we spend enough time on the internet already :)


74 Michelle February 12, 2014 at 12:52 pm

We currently live on the North Shore of Oahu and got rid of everything before we moved. We’ve never had a dishwasher (although with 7 kids I think I’d love one!), we’ve gone years as well without a microwave and dryer. But I don’t think I could ever get rid of our blendtec blender. We use it for everything, several times a day. It needed a repair last month which took several weeks to process (shipping back and forth from Utah), and my kids and I thought we had died!


75 Mary February 12, 2014 at 1:06 pm

We are blessed to have many appliances. Microwave, dishwasher, oven/stove, garbage disposer, AC, washer/dryer, etc. I take them for granted. I use each judiciously…if it is a warm day I don’t use the dryer, hang the laundry outside instead. If it is a hot summer day in the house, I plug the crockpot into the outside outlet by the front door! Things I love: the oven is convection; it cooks in about half the time. Also, we have a large chest freezer which is so nice for stocking up on sales, fresh produce and buying dry goods in bulk. Amen to the stand mixer as well!!


76 Vandegee February 12, 2014 at 1:10 pm

I’ve never had a microwave. Or a garbage disposal. Couldn’t live without the dishwasher. Growing up we never had a dryer, just a washing machine… as a result I love the dryer! Love my stand mixer but hate taking it down off the shelf. I love my hand mixer too – now that I have both, I don’t think I could live without either. Can’t live without a decent blender either, even though we only occasionally use it.


77 Maegan February 12, 2014 at 1:14 pm

I think about this a lot. I have lived without washers, driers, freezers, microwaves and dishwashers at different points of my life and it just takes a change in how you organize your life. I have never had a stand mixer and I am an avid bread maker and baker. I know it will change my life when I finally get one but for now I just use a little elbow grease!!


78 Ashlea Walter February 12, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Aah, modern appliances.

We don’t have a dishwasher, but I haven’t had one since becoming an adult. Although it’s been almost 20 years since I enjoyed the convenience of one, I still want one. Every. Single. Day!

As for a microwave, we have a very small one and we’ve only had it for a few years. We bought one when we were renovating our house and didn’t have a stove or oven. I mostly use it for heating up my coffee – many times during the day. Vital for this Mama with young children!

We don’t have a vacuum either and again, I wish I had one. Every. Single. Day!


79 Jan @ Family Bites February 12, 2014 at 1:18 pm

We don’t have a microwave and haven’t owned one for 16 years. It wasn’t intentionally in the beginning… we just didn’t have the space. But over time we developed new habits and didn’t miss it all. Now that I have young teens in the house I’m thinking of purchasing a toaster oven so they can reheat food for themselves without having to warm the entire oven to do so.


80 Nicole February 12, 2014 at 1:22 pm

I could not live without our clothes washer or a dishwasher! Our house came without a dishwasher (the kitchen is still original 1930s) and we quickly bought a portable one. Much more of a pain than a built-in, but a million times better than not having one! I’d like to think I could live without a clothes dryer, but I can’t imagine freeze-drying things in the winter months like my grama tells stories of doing as a kid!

I’m enjoying peeking into other parts of the world and what is norm there. Like a garbage disposal which is not at all normal in Canada – I actually didn’t realise the stuff that went into it went into the sewer until reading the comments here!


81 Kristin H February 12, 2014 at 1:34 pm

When we bought our home four years ago, all we could think of was getting out of my in law’s home (which had three couples and two babies under the roof). No dishwasher? No garage? No garbage disposal? Who cares, we said, just get us out of the mad house! Four years later, the only thing I dont mind lacking is a garbage disposal (I reuse ziploc snack bags for drain catches, etc). Sadly, a huge remodel would be necessary to fit a dishwasher in our little 50′s kitchen and a garage is out of the question. Oh well :)


82 Lisa February 12, 2014 at 1:34 pm

We lived without a dishwasher for 5 years. We just remodeled our kitchen 2 months ago and added a dishwasher. It is by far my favorite part of the kitchen! I will never take a dishwasher for granted!!


83 Jenny Bailey February 12, 2014 at 1:38 pm

I’ve lived without a dishwasher before and I didn’t mind it, although I will say that the cost and time really does make using one more efficient than not. And I don’t have a microwave. We have a small house and kitchen and when we remodeled I just couldn’t imagine giving up any counter or shelf space to a microwave. Honestly, I do not miss it one bit. It was hard at first to not have popcorn on demand but for Christmas my husband gave me a popper and it is awesome. Oddly enough, I don’t think I could live without my kitchenaid mixer. I use it constantly and it is so pretty!!


84 Kari February 12, 2014 at 1:50 pm

Our dishwasher broke down about 2.5 years ago and we honestly just haven’t had the money to replace it. Our four kids are 13, 15, 17, and 20, so when the dishwasher went kaput, we delegated the chore of washing dishes to the kids (I usually help out, too). They fuss and complain but I have to tell you, it’s made for some great one-on-one, uninterrupted conversations between me and my kids…that’s 20 minutes every night that I have their full attention; one of them standing right next to me talking and it’s been pretty great.


85 Design Mom February 12, 2014 at 6:40 pm

I’ve heard something similar about knitting. That moms who knit or otherwise keep their hands busy end up having really good conversations with their teens. It’s easier for the teenagers to open up if they’re not having to maintain eye contact, and the conversation feels more casual because Mom seems focused on her knitting.


86 Judith February 12, 2014 at 1:55 pm

As far as microwave goes, we’d love to buy a new one, one day but the old one just does not stop working…. It has been in the family since 1988 and has moved continents, been in storage and back out, but it will not quit doing its job which in our family is mostly heating milk for my coffee or for the kids’ oatmeal in the mornings. At times we think about just getting a new one and throwing this one out but since this one has been at my parents’ home , moved out with me to a student dorm, to a first real apartment, to a married home, to a home with four kids it almost feels like sacrilege.


87 Lindsay February 12, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Take my refrigerator but PLEASE don’t take my dishwasher! I don’t use disposable dishes in our home so I’m constantly filling the sink. If not for our beloved dishwasher I’d be chained to the sink for much longer. Thank you geniuses of household appliance invention! And on the rare occasion that my washing machine breaks down it has the power to bring me near tears. The only alternative is to become a family of nudists.


88 Design Mom February 12, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Hilarious and so true! I feel the same way.

During our recent floor renovation we couldn’t use our washer and dryer and eventually dropped everything off at a pay per pound wash-and-fold place. It was wonderful to have everything arrive home clean and folded, but I would still rather have a washer and dryer in my home.


89 Sally from Little Hiccups February 12, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Having a washer and dryer in our apartment was definitely a top priority when we were last apartment hunting. At the time my youngest was still in diapers and we were using cloth. I couldn’t imagine having to visit a laundromat while cloth diapering! Even now that she’s out of diapers I still find myself doing at least 8 loads of washing a week so I’m happy to pay extra rent for the convenience of not having to leave home with piles of washing. And with a new baby on the way (who I plan to cloth diaper as well) the number of loads is just going to increase even more.

A dishwasher is next on my list of appliance must haves. My husband refers to it as “the dirty dishes cupboard”! I have quite a few friends who have dishwashers in their apartment but refuse to use them for their purpose and just use them as extra storage. Many people believe that they use a tonne of water however a decent dishwasher actually uses less water than filling the sink several times for the same number of dishes does.

Back home in Australia it’s not standard for rental properties to come with a washer, dryer and fridge. Most renters buy their own and lug them around when they move which is such a hassle – especially when your apartment building doesn’t have an elevator! I was very happy to discover that these items (or at least the fridge) come with rental properties as standard when we moved to the US.

Years ago we lived in Switzerland and what I found rather odd was that although rental properties tend to come with a fridge, washer and dryer etc they don’t come with light fittings! I’ve also heard that it’s pretty common in Italy for rental apartments to come with an empty kitchen – no cupboards, sink or appliances, just pipes and power sockets. Imagine having to buy your own kitchen cupboards and appliances as a renter!


90 Design Mom February 12, 2014 at 6:37 pm

When we moved to Greece early in our marriage I was so shocked to realize we would need to buy a refrigerator and stove. We had definitely NOT budgeted for that. But at least there were cupboards and sink!


91 Sarah February 12, 2014 at 2:15 pm

when i got my first apartment as a single gal, i didn’t own a tv, a computer, a dishwasher, or a microwave. come to think of it, i didn’t even own a couch! now our family has all those in addition the well-used essentials–dishwasher and laundry facilities. funny what you can get by with when it’s just you. now, as a mom of little boys, i think the greatest invention of all time is indoor plumbing!


92 Robin February 12, 2014 at 2:19 pm

I love my microwave! We eat a lot of leftovers. I use it all the time!


93 Hannah Q February 12, 2014 at 2:21 pm

My husband & lived for about 4 years without a dishwasher with no problem, but now that we live in a place that has one, it seems like it would be hard to go without one again! We also hardly used our microwave (it was huge and we didn’t have a good spot for it), so we donated it to someone who needed one. It was never an issue when we had a gas range. The place we live now came with a microwave and an electric stove, so we find ourselves using the microwave more. I prefer heating things up on the stove, though!


94 Pamela Balabuszko-Reay February 12, 2014 at 2:33 pm

I wouldn’t want to do without laundry in the house…BUT… a number of times the laundry pile has gotten so large that we have just packed everyone up with the laundry and headed to the laundromat. Within 2-3 hours everything is washed, folded and put into baskets which then head directly to bedrooms to be put away. We bring magazines, snacks, books etc. and hang out. I rather like the efficiency of the whole situation. Usually I have a huge pile of clean laundry that needs to be put away.
I’ve done without a dishwasher many times in my life. Don’t love that.


95 Nina February 12, 2014 at 2:51 pm

Love this question! For a long time (10 years!) we did not have laundry in our house or apartment building. Now, we have beautiful front loading machines inside our home and it is bliss! I can’t live without them. With 2 small children and a 3rd on the way, cloth diapers and lots of bedwetting, it would be impossible not to have laundry machines in the house. I actually often think how lucky I am to have them.


96 Design Mom February 12, 2014 at 6:35 pm

“I actually often think how lucky I am to have them.”

I feel the same way. I’ve been spoiled to mostly have a washer and dryer in my home since I’ve been married. But the few times I haven’t had them were so tough that I feel grateful every time I do the laundry.


97 Marlena February 12, 2014 at 3:11 pm

We don’t have a microwave and don’t want one, either. We had one when our daughter was little to sterilize bottles, since we didn’t have a dishwasher at the time. Once we installed a dishwasher, we sold the microwave and don’t miss it all! Some people think it’s odd, but it’s one less appliance, and our food tastes better.


98 Kim February 12, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Our microwave went awhile back ago and we didn’t replace it. We had been trying for a baby and I was like whatever, let’s not replace it just in case. We came to not miss it at all and don’t plan on replacing it.


99 Teq February 12, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Have a dryer only use it once in a while like to hang clothes to dry . Don’t have a dishwasher we wash dishes by hand. If my washing machine went out I could wash clothes by hand but it would be a hassle, but I could do it.


100 Melissa L. February 12, 2014 at 3:36 pm

My kids are 5 & 7 and I’ve never had in-unit laundry. My leases have always prohibited installing a washer, even though I have dishwashers. I would gladly swap my dishwasher for my own clothes washer, and I would even trade the TV and put the washer in my living room, I would be so grateful to do laundry when I needed it done, and not have to pay per load. I feel so badly when I see families spending their Sunday at the laundromat, I know what that’s like. But now that I’ve read about laundry rules in Switzerland, I don’t feel as bad about our set-up.


101 Design Mom February 12, 2014 at 6:32 pm

Same here! The Switzerland stories have me fascinated.


102 Annie February 12, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Our last apartment did not have an in-unit washer/dryer, but we caved and bought a small washer that hooked up to the kitchen sink when we had our daughter 2 years ago. You need a washer readily available for middle of the night throw-up on sheets!

In our current apartment, we thankfully have a washer and dryer, but NO DISHWASHER! Every time I do the dishes, I have to just keep repeating in my head: “My mom raised six kids with no dishwasher.” It makes me appreciate my mom a lot more. I also repeat: “Five more months until our lease is up.” Our apartment is so cute (1920s), big, in the perfect location, etc – but we can’t live anymore without a dishwasher!


103 Lori February 12, 2014 at 4:48 pm

We had a three month old high end microwave catch fire with no warning. After that, my husband and I were concerned about the possible radiation leak that had likely been occurring during the time we had used our faulty microwave. I’m not sure I think its “dangerous” or even excessive to ever use a microwave. I’m just not ever going to be comfortable using one again after such a scary experience.
As for a dishwasher…its always near the top of my list when looking at rentals!


104 erin February 13, 2014 at 8:02 pm

That is scary! I don’t blame you for shunning microwaves. I’m sure I would, too.


105 Zoe - SlowMama February 12, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Couldn’t live without a washer and dryer. I grew up without a dishwasher — my mum didn’t like them for some reason, even with 9 kids! But I have a hard time imagining life without one now. No microwave, though. Got rid of it about 15 years ago and never looked back — we never miss it and use a toaster oven and small pots to heat things up.

I’ve had a KitchenAid mixer since I was married, but I only got a food processor about three years ago and use it a lot. The small appliance I don’t think I could live without now is my Vitamix! And for rice, there is nothing that beats a rice cooker.


106 Alexe February 12, 2014 at 5:41 pm

Interesting so many people love their dishwasher! I grew up without one, got one, lived without one again, got one again, and now we are living in our forever kitchen and I have no desire for one at all. Yep, we have kids too, and had ‘em with and without a dishwasher.

I don’t like bending over for chores? Is that weird? And I like hot water a lot, so standing for ten-twenty minutes or so doesn’t seem that bad to me. I loathe unloading the dishwasher, but I don’t mind putting away the dry dishes…

Helps that we have a massive old cast-iron sink with two wells, one for washing, one with the dryer. When we lived in a rental with those shallow stainless steel sinks, I hated washing dishes.


107 Design Mom February 12, 2014 at 6:31 pm

“I don’t like bending over for chores?”

I love that observation. I too would rather put away the dry dishes on the counter than empty the dishwasher.


108 Joy February 12, 2014 at 7:13 pm

We live in a city called Pasadena, which is kind of as “old school” as it gets here in Southern California! Most apartments here don’t have dishwashers, garbage disposals, or their own laundry, so I’ve been without for the past 5 years. Oh and we don’t have a tv either but these days with computers and iPads do we really need one? I have to say though I definitely dream of the day when I Have the big 3 again–dishwasher, laundry, and garbage disposal…especially the last!!


109 Danielle February 12, 2014 at 7:15 pm

We moved from our tiny apartment into an actual home last summer, and now we haven’t had a dishwasher in seven months. It’s something I miss daily, but it’s totally doable for us to just hand wash because it’s just me and my boyfriend right now. If ever we have children, we had best get a dishwasher. I’ve made it through college and the three years after with just a hand mixer, not a stand, and it hasn’t affected me at all. I’ve never had a toaster oven. The one appliance upgrade I used to always want as a kid was a fridge with a water and ice machine in the door, but now I don’t care about that at all thanks to my Britta water pitcher.


110 Caitlin February 12, 2014 at 7:41 pm

We live in China and I was thrilled when we arrived to find that there was a washer – it sits on the back porch so it’s really cold to do laundry in the winter and super hot in the summer and I have to line dry everything, but I’m grateful for it every day!

We don’t have an oven or a dishwasher. I can live without a dishwasher but I am beyond lost without an oven. We finally bought a toaster oven (about the size of a microwave) and that’s been a total life-saver. The Chinese don’t even seem to know what an oven is – the few times I’ve had Chinese guests over they thought it was a microwave and didn’t understand it was an oven even after I explained it to them. They just don’t really do any baking here. :)


111 Joan February 12, 2014 at 7:43 pm

We moved into a new house a few months ago and have a lot of appliances that came with the house. We have a garbage disposal but I have never used it. ( we moved to CT from England). I don’t know what you can/ can’t put in it but after reading these comments I won’t be using it. I just bought a toaster oven 2 months ago and love it. We have a full size oven but my husband is away a lot so I cook smaller meals for my two boys and me. Also the heat up time is quick compared to a full size oven. I have a crock pot and a mixer which I love having and always wanted both, but I was over 40 before I got either. I try not to use the clothes dryer because of Eco reasons and try to always fill the dishwasher or else hand wash. I think I could live without the microwave and clothes dryer without a problem. I never had a clothes dryer in England for my whole life. I guess I couldn’t live without an oven, toaster and washing machine. All the others are great conveniences.


112 Hillary February 12, 2014 at 7:45 pm

Gosh as we brace for the drought this summer many of my neighbors are terrified that when they turn the spicket no water will come from a dry well. (Thank goodness for our recent rain!!) it is amazing what we take for granted and I do think we lose a little bit when we forget all the energy, technology and natural resources that are required to give us the luxuries we take for granted in our day to day lives.


113 Lillian February 12, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Add us to the list of no dishwasher(or garbage disposal)! I miss having a dishwasher every day, but there’s no good spot for one without major construction (that’s not happening any time soon!) and we’ve lived in our house without it for almost 5 years now and it’s fine. We also don’t have a bathtub and I miss having one a ton, not for the kids (4&6) but because I love to take baths:) The husband of the couple who owned our house before we bought it had hip and knee problems, so they replaced the shower/tub combo with a walk-in shower and we thought it would be one of the first things we’d change in the house when we moved in until we realized all of the issues we *could* run into with starting bathroom renovations and decided to deal with it. So the kids have always taken showers and don’t know differently!


114 Ceridwen February 12, 2014 at 8:32 pm

We currently live in a little old house that has no central heat and air and no dishwasher or disposal. I’ve only lived with a disposal for 9 months out of my 32 years so I’m very used to disposing of leftover food other ways. Washing dishes by hand is not my favorite thing, but it hasn’t been that bad. I wouldnt turn a dishwasher down if it was offered to me, though! :) I probably could live without a washer and dryer in my house but I hope I never have to. Yikes!


115 Spy Garden February 12, 2014 at 8:43 pm

We’ve never had a dishwasher (also sort of by accident) and I love doing the dishes. Especially in the winter, it is so nice to be immersed in the warm soapy water. It’s also the time when I seem to think of the best ideas (for writing/art projects/work issues). I don’t think I’d ever want one for fear of losing those inspirational “sessions”!


116 kim @ DESIGN + LIFE + KIDS February 12, 2014 at 8:49 pm

We do have a dishwasher and it’s something I don’t wish to live without! But we have not had a microwave since August 2013 since we started our DIY kitchen renovation. It wasn’t on purpose, but once we removed our old built in microwave and replaced it with an island hood, the microwave never made a comeback. There has only been one time that we missed the microwave, but honestly it hasn’t really been a problem. I have had quite a few comments asking where our microwave is since posting our final reno pictures. Some folks aren’t too happy about our decision to remove it :)


117 Dee February 12, 2014 at 9:03 pm

We don’t have a microwave. Our last one died a few years ago and I decided against buying another. I find that not having one forces us to be more intentional about our food choices. Our dishwasher is awful and we can’t replace it at at the moment, so I now have two dishwashers. They’re 13 and 11. ;) We don’t really use our disposal. I grew up without one and honestly, they still terrify me.


118 Emily February 12, 2014 at 10:27 pm

We recently took our microwave out, and I don’t miss it at all. I’ve read enough European journal articles/health studies to know that I don’t want a microwave anywhere near my food. It makes food taste funny anyway. Blech.

I could live without all of the convenience appliances if I had to. I wouldn’t like it much, but I could. (My great-grandmother taught me how to wash clothes “the old-fashioned way” when I was little… Washers and dryers are great things, y’all.) After the microwave, I would say the dishwasher would be next thing that could go. I’m one of those weirdos who finds washing dishes therapeutic.


119 Susan Magnolia February 12, 2014 at 11:12 pm

When we moved into our new apartment it came with a dishwasher and an incredible old microwave and we have never used them. I like washing dishes by hand and my 2 year old wants to help. There are certain processes that I love like making pour over coffee, hanging clothes to dry on the wooden rack or caring for my cast iron pan. The simplest of items that are so very useful. On the other hand we have more computers and devices that any normal family should. Instead of having a t.v. my daughter loves watching cartoons on you tube!


120 jessica February 12, 2014 at 11:52 pm

I couldn’t live without a washing machine. during grad school we downsized to a tiny apartment without so much as a mixer in the kitchen but i insisted on a laundry machine!


121 Jess February 13, 2014 at 12:27 am

I live in NYC in a tiny studio with a tiny kitchen. I don’t have a microwave–it would take up almost all of my counter space. I’ve never lived without one before, really, but I don’t miss it much. I’d get one if I had somewhere to put it, but I don’t. I DO have a toaster oven (it lives wedged in a small space between my fridge & a small upper cabinet), electric kettle (the only appliance that lives on the counter, along with my french press, because they get daily use), and have a blendtec, food processor, mini food chopper, waffle iron and air popcorn popper shoved in a bottom cabinet. I could live without the waffle iron & air popper but the rest are more or less necessities.

I’ve never had a dishwasher in my adult life (had one growing up) but it would be heaven! Washing dishes isn’t so bad but I never feel like I get them as clean.

I currently have laundry in my building and I actually prefer that to having it in the apartment. I do laundry once a week and then it’s DONE until next week. Growing up, when we had it in the house, I never felt like it was done (I did my own from the age of about 10). I don’t miss the treks to the laundromat, though, and am the only New Yorker who doesn’t like the idea of someone else doing my laundry (a lot of people send it out to be done) so I’m glad I have it in the building. I hang up a lot of my laundry, even things like sheets and towels, around the apartment in the winter because management keeps the heat up so high that it dries very quickly. I save a little money, it’s good for the environment and it helps the air feel a little less dry.

Oh! I don’t have AC–not even a little window unit. I don’t miss that at all–I’m always cold & love heat so AC has never really been comfy for me. I have a fan, which creates a breeze and makes things comfortable for me even on very hot summer days (which, frankly, sound divine right now….)


122 Kristy February 13, 2014 at 12:54 am

I recently moved to China (from Houston) and have 4 kids ages 5 and under. I’ve been surprised at how well we are doing with few appliances. We do have a washer and dryer (though they are small), and I would not be willing to go without those (we had no dryer the first month and that was rough – dryers are very uncommon here). We do have a microwave and toaster oven (both uncommon, but came with our house) and I bought a blender. All of those get a lot of use. Otherwise, we have no appliances. To begin with, we didn’t even have an oven (VERY uncommon here) – we now have a counter-top version that I pull out when I need to bake something. I mix cookies and bread with nothing but my hands and a wooden spoon – I am sure they are not as thoroughly mixed as is ideal. A dishwasher would be lovely, but we are surviving without. I will happily take all my appliances back when we return to the US, but in the meantime we are doing just fine.


123 Irena February 13, 2014 at 1:28 am

We have a dishwasher and it is one of the greatest inventions of our time :)
We gave the microwave away. It is said it is very bad for your health. It is also logical, since it uses deep penetrating microwaves to warm your food with moving the molecules in the food. And by that changes their structure. Nothing that warms your food so fast could not be natural…


124 Rachel February 13, 2014 at 2:25 am

Gabrielle – I guess experimenting with a simpler kitchen is a right of passage for North Americans living in Europe.
We moved to a small island in the UK almost three years ago and have lived at different times without a dishwasher or microwave. It’s always a transition but we end up just adapting and things work out fine.
The one appliance I miss daily: a dryer. Line drying is the norm here and I am so tired of it. It’s a lot of work and while we do our best to have less laundry (wear things multiple times before washing) with a baby and cloth diapers I’m washing and hanging every day. Also, the machines here are so much smaller. Our washer might hold 2 pairs of jeans and three t-shirts.
I was visiting my MIL back home and she had a new washer dryer unit installed in a huge closet in her home. The machines were comically big for my European adjusted eyes.
Oh, the other one: we lived without a freezer. Our little flat just had a small under the counter fridge. We were there for over a year and it really wasn’t a big deal.
P.S. Really enjoying hearing/reading posts from you. You are what brings me back to Design Mom and I love the breadth of topics you talk about here.


125 Lauren February 13, 2014 at 3:27 am

I can’t live without my foreman grille! I use it everyday to press my lunch sandwiches and lots of other things too like in place of a toaster or to make quesadillas :)


126 Lilli February 13, 2014 at 3:30 am

I don’t have kitchen aid mixer, and a little part of me wants to believe that there is more love in cakes that are whisked and beaten by hand, and that they are better as a result, but I know that this is just me trying to console myself and convince myself that I don’t need to buy one. I also don’t have a dishwasher, but there are only three people in my house and it isn’t really a problem, it’s just a habit you get into. To be fair though, everyone still hates washing up. I don’t have an oven, I have a convection oven built in to my microwave. I love this and I don’t think I will ever be able to live without one and with just a normal oven.


127 Rachel H February 13, 2014 at 3:43 am

At the moment we’re living without a microwave and dishwasher. We also don’t have a dryer, toaster oven, KitchenAid, etc…basically just an oven/stove, fridge, and washing machine.

We’ve lived before with just a small convection oven… no microwave, no dishwasher, no washing machine or dryer, no real oven. It’s hard but doable. I think the main thing I don’t like living without is a washing machine. Yes, you can wash clothes without one, but it is SO much more work, and such a hassle.


128 Amy3 February 13, 2014 at 5:33 am

Living in a small apartment I don’t have a blender or stand-up mixer (although I’d love to – they just look so great!) nor do we have in-unit laundry. However, there’s a laundry room on the 1st floor so we don’t have far to go. After 15 years of that (plus another one while I was in grad school), I’m accustomed to it. I haven’t lived in a house with a garbage disposal since I left my childhood home. We cope with the smell and mess of food waste by emptying our garbage very frequently.

What I don’t think I could live without is a dishwasher. In every apartment I’ve been in since undergrad I’ve been lucky enough to have one. Whenever it’s not working, I’m reminded what a boon having it is.


129 Kate Frishman February 13, 2014 at 7:12 am

Sometimes my tablet gets away from me! I was saying, I can’t bring myself to own an electric can opener. I have no idea why. We were without a dishwasher for six months and it was miserable.


130 Design Mom February 13, 2014 at 1:06 pm

We totally had an electric can opener in the home where I grew up, but it’s never occurred to me to own one as an adult. I don’t think I’ve ever even seen one for sale lately? Or maybe I’m just not paying attention.

I get the idea that many people are trying to eat fresher food, which means canned food plays less of a role in the kitchen. At our house, the canned food is mostly tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes.


131 Janet February 13, 2014 at 5:48 am

I am the dishwasher but I like it. When I am doing the dishes I can look out the window and see God’s beautiful creation. Love it! We do have a microwave and use it daily. Stand mixer, oh yeah, great for cookie dough! Have a beautiful day!!


132 Kate Frishman February 13, 2014 at 7:09 am

We have a ridiculous number of kitchen appliances, including a five gallon water cooler that makes hot water on demand (which seemed like a crazy indulgence, but now I would hate to live without it!) For some reason, though, I can’t bring myself to own Ann electric


133 Stacy February 13, 2014 at 7:15 am

Hilarious…I grew up in an ultra equipped american household . I have been living in France now for almost twenty years. I do not own a microwave and absolutely do not miss it. I do, however, unlike many french, have a DRYER .The garbage disposal question makes me laugh aloud! NO One has garbage disposals here. I am married to a frenchman with a sister who is married an american man. My mother in law regularly visits my sister in law in the states, and after each visit , suffers nighmares of her daughter loosing a hand…


134 Design Mom February 13, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Losing a hand to the disposal was definitely one of my childhood nightmares. Maybe that’s why I’ve been slow to add one to this house!


135 MaryAnn February 13, 2014 at 10:08 am

I absolutely love my gas stove and would never go back to electric. High speed internet is essential in our house (remember dial up?!!)

We have never had a dishwasher and we don’t miss it. I even found using my husband’s shop vac on the rest of the house worked just fine. I am over 40 and have never owned a cell phone but I’ll probably get one for myself and my daughter when she becomes more independent in middle school.


136 Design Mom February 13, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Internet! Another proof of how spoiled I am: I never even considered it when I was making a mental list of “modern conveniences” — but if it goes out for even a few minutes, I practically start to panic!


137 Andrea February 13, 2014 at 10:54 am

I haven’t had a microwave for six years and don’t miss it one bit. Now not being able to do laundry in my home or having to do dishes by hand, that I would miss!


138 Emily F February 13, 2014 at 11:10 am

When we moved to Gallup, NM three years ago there was nowhere to live. We finally found a small yucky apartment…no dishwasher, no microwave, no washer/dryer. I cried and cried and cried the day we moved in. We lived there for 18 months and I survived but I seriously SERIOUSLY hated it. When we finally found a better place to live we spent $2000 on a fancy new washer and dryer and I have never regretted it. 18 months later I still smile every single time I hit the button to turn it on and here the beeping sound it makes. I love those things with all my heart. Also, the dishwasher. Doing dishes by hand is just the WORST! I love my dishwasher, but if I had to choose one or the other, I would hands down choose the washer and dryer.


139 Design Mom February 13, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Several years before I was born, my family lived in Gallup, New Mexico! Small world.


140 Candice February 13, 2014 at 11:10 am

No microwave or dishwasher here! After living in Thailand for seven years without one, I’ve gotten used to it and even though I could have one here, I live in a little house and would rather not take up the space.


141 melissa February 13, 2014 at 2:39 pm

well, before kids I lived without a dishwasher & washing machine, but in NYC that was fairly standard! Now there’s no way I could live without a dishwasher. I’d spend my entire days washing dishes!!


142 Ellen W February 13, 2014 at 4:00 pm

I can’t imagine not having a washer and dryer especially when your kids get sick in the middle of the night and you have to wash multiple sets of sheets and pjs. I also dearly love my stand mixer and wish I could upgrader to a 6 quart size.


143 Karla February 13, 2014 at 4:49 pm

We intentionally got rid of our microwave; it took some getting used to but we love it… and more counter space! We have a dishwasher, but it acts up every now and then and I still wash dishes by hand so I wouldn’t be really upset if we didn’t have one… but I would hate to be without a washer and dryer! I use mine every day.


144 Cheryl Burchett February 13, 2014 at 7:01 pm

I have lived in TWO different homes that did not have showers! Both had old cast iron tubs, which were cool, but after a while a nice hot shower is SO nice!!!


145 Emily February 13, 2014 at 9:16 pm

I never use the dishwasher and I’ve noticed its something I’ve picked up from my Asian immigrant mom (and most of her friends) in fact, most Asian immigrant family I know uses the dishwasher as drying rack or storage. Ha! I’m currently renovating my own home and my husband and I felt so reluctant to get a dishwasher because I knew I wouldn’t use it but could really help sell the place later on. I’ve also tried really hard to hide the microwave into the lower cabinets because I plan to use it as little as possible.


146 Pamela J. Miller February 14, 2014 at 3:44 am

I don’t have those two things in my kitchen…soon I’ll be having those things…


147 bekka @ see what i sea designs February 14, 2014 at 6:30 am

My husband and I moved to Germany a mere three months after we married. Three months after that we were on the small island of Cyprus. We had registered for some really wonderful appliances, many of which we received as gifts at our wedding. We weren’t able to take any of them with us when we began our expat experience. We did without toasters, Kitchenaids, crockpots, food processors, microwaves, and so many other conveniences. We even went without a TV for a good while. What we did have was laundry the whole time, and that was a life saver! I missed, of all things, having a crockpot from time to time when preparing for massive church functions. The lack of microwave amazingly taught me how to do so many things on my own! I felt like Julia Child by the end of our Cyprus experience, conquering the Cypriot kitchen and making so much from scratch!

Now that we’re settling into American life again, I’m finding that all of those appliances I thought were so necessary when we got married might not be so needed after all. We still don’t have a microwave, and I’m really great with it! Sadly, this time around, we don’t have in unit laundry facilities and I’m already lamenting it. Aside from the lack of convenience, I love to do laundry. Not having it immediately on hand is definitely going to be an adjustment.


148 Rochelle Greayer February 15, 2014 at 8:11 am

My toaster just broke, and I am not replacing it. Didn’t really want it in the first place and am totally happy recover counter space and to use the broiler.


149 Kara February 15, 2014 at 6:30 pm

I’ve been microwave-free for about five years, and I don’t miss it at all! I also love that I don’t have to find a space for one in my tiny kitchen. I don’t have a dishwasher in my current house either, and while I don’t miss it (and don’t have space for one), if I magically moved into a bigger kitchen, I’d probably get one! :)


150 Traci February 15, 2014 at 7:49 pm

I can definitely live without a microwave! I’ve done so before (not currently, though) and have actually enjoyed not having the big thing taking up space on the counter. One thing I’ve rarely had and hope to in the future: a garbage disposal! That is true luxury for me. :]


151 Michelle T. February 15, 2014 at 11:52 pm

Before I got married I rented a room in a small house with roommates. There was no dishwasher and it drove me crazy. I ended up living there for 6 1/2 years. I washed a lot of dishes by hand. I’m happy to report that I now live in a home with a dishwasher (albeit small) and a husband who washes the dishes that won’t fit in it. I don’t think I could go 6 1/2 years without a microwave though!


152 Amélie February 16, 2014 at 3:29 pm

We’re currently living off the grid in a tiny cabin in Montana, so we have a total of zero modern conveniences, including electricity. We hand pump our water and have to heat it up on our propane stove for baths and dishes. We have propane lights and a composting toilet. You just get used to it, the way you get used to anything. It will be nice to eventually be able to flip a switch to turn on the lights again someday when we leave here, but right now it’s actually been wonderful to get back to the very basics- we have a 3 and a 6 year old who have blessedly little exposure to TV and video games and hopefully won’t take those modern conveniences for granted, and it’s been a great reminder for my husband and me as well to live very intentionally. I do miss my stand mixer and my sewing machine though…


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