August 20, 2012

No Dish Rack Monday

Just what the world needs - another plastic dish rack

In my quest to live a clutter-free life I have to question the usefulness of all possessions. I want to know what is necessary, and what is superfluous and can be jettisoned. The goal is to pare things down to the essentials, and no more, in order to have less mental and physical clutter.

If something isn't actively adding to my life, and if it can't fulfill multiple functions, it probably does not belong in my arsenal of life-enhancing tools. This is regardless of how many other people own the item and consider it an integral part of a smoothly functioning modern home.

That is why Linda and I don't have a microwave, or toaster, or BBQ, or large stereo augmented by a wall shaking sub-woofer, or a host of other things that many people feel they couldn't live without.

We also don't own the ubiquitous dish rack for stacking dishes to dry after washing. I have owned these in the past, and have seen them in most homes I have visited. But eventually I had to question whether the regulation dish rack was right for me.

What I decided years ago, was that the standard dish rack has no place in my clean, sparse kitchen. First of all, it only has one purpose. Also, when not in use for its one and only function, it takes up space somewhere, AND they are usually always made out of plastic.

Therefore, I now use a tea towel to set my dishes on to dry. Tea towels are useful for many things, including snapping my dozing sous chef on the rear when I need the pepper mill.

A careful balancing act keeps the tea towel nice and dry
One problem with using a tea towel is that they tend to get very wet, and when continually wet, they tend to smell bad. Yuck!

After some trial and error, I developed a procedure for keeping the towel near dry which involves stacking my dishes so that all items are dripping onto other items, not onto the towel. Then as I dry the dishes I dump the collected water into the sink.

The towel stays dry and smell-free, I don't need an extra accessory in my small kitchen, and I get to use my skills and creativity to build towers of dishes that balance on each other in great tottering piles.

It is fun, and I haven't broken anything. Yet.

I love to discover all of the things I don't need, because increased freedom is the result.

Are there things that you have learned to live better without?


9 comments:

  1. I've found the kitchen to be fertile ground for many of those single use items that we've learned to live without: the pizza wheel, the zester, trivets, special glasses (juice, wine, mugs, etc). The list goes on and on! People are always surprised that I'm voluntarily giving up these treasures but I'm thrilled to let them go and gain more space in my tiny kitchen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear there are entire big box stores dedicated to nothing but kitchen and bathroom 'treasures'.

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  2. There must be something in the air! Just yesterday I was looking at my dish rack and wondering if we could do without. Like you, we have no toaster ( we have a broiler! ), no microwave and a small fridge. I am going to go for it! No dish rack!!!!

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    Replies
    1. We are changing the world one dish rack at a time.

      Delete
  3. I am from Finland, where practically every kitchen is equipped with a dish-draining closet above the sink: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dish_draining_closet

    You can in fact even choose to store your dishes there — no need to move them after they've dried!

    However, I must admit this tea-towel solution pictured seems like the next best thing. :D Many people I know just use them to wipe their dishes dry (which my mother taught me is rather unsanitary with the wet towels lying around). I lived in Germany for a while, where the draining closets are pretty unheard of, and in one house I lived in we had a dish-draining rack made out of plastic, with a plastic "tray" underneath to collect the water, and no way for the water to get out. Ick!

    On a semi-related note, the most compelling argument for wiping the dishes dry instead of leaving them out to air-dry (on a dish rack / tea towel / choose your weapon) is that hard water (common in Germany, Finnish tap water is generally softer) leaves stripes on the dishes. I don't mind this, though, and after moving to a student dorm in Finland I've returned to my roots when it comes to dish-drying. I love those closets. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What an interesting solution. I love the idea of drying and storing dishes in the same place - that makes so much sense.

      And it is a Finnish idea - from the wiki link: "Gebhard's (the inventor) idea was to put the dish draining holder in the closet above the dish washing table (sideboard or counter top), so the dishes could drain dry in place. This way, an entire phase of normal household upkeep could be skipped."

      I love it. I am into skipping entire phases of so-called 'normal' life. Thank you for commenting and sharing this interesting dish drying development.

      Delete
  4. AnonymousJuly 14, 2013

    A good place for the water you drain might be thirsty plants - I have recently begun putting refuse water in a big jug for my plants. I am not 100% with it, but am getting better! I love the tea towel idea and will try it. On a related note, we've been hanging all our clothes to dry for months now and I can't believe we ever used an energy-hogging dryer. I wonder how many other "necessities" can be jettisoned. What an adventure!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is an adventure, and seen this way it doesn't have to feel like a tough slog through ever changing waters.

      I like the water idea. We all need to be waaaay more efficient with our water resources since this is such an important limiting factor for life as we know it.

      Clothes lines are the best! Congratulations on taking action on so many fronts. It IS fun.

      Delete
  5. I love it! I hate those stupid dish racks and my not-so-significant-other demands that we can not live without a dish rack.

    ReplyDelete

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