When, inevitably, it eventually broke (a flood, then when we fixed the drain pump, a leak) I faced a week or two before I could get a new one fitted. All of a sudden, I realised how much we had simply expected the dishwasher to make up for our laziness, and how it had covered up for our failure to declutter in the kitchen.
When we made a cup of tea, we simply put the used mugs in the dishwasher. If, an hour or so later, we wanted another one, we got out new mugs from our ample store. It didn't matter that the old ones only needed a rinse, we had a cupboard full of mugs! Why not use them? Ok, so this isn't going to bring about Armageddon anytime soon, but it's pretty lazy, and means that we have a huge cupboard full to the brim with mugs of all shapes and sizes. Do we really need that many just for the two of us? (despite the near-inexhaustible capacity of some of our friends for tea).
Having had to wash up *by hand* for nearly two weeks has brought home exactly how much crockery, glassware and cutlery we use, including the mug issue, and got me thinking about how much we really need to use. I'm not advocating eating out of pans, or using disposable plates, but I'm definitely going to have a real declutter of the kitchen before too long.
I think that this past couple of weeks has brought me closer to the reality of my kitchen, made me think about it in a different way, and appreciate how important it is to keep it clean and tidy when you can't simply put the problem in a machine and walk away. I'd like to think I have come a little closer to the Buddist teaching centring on 'washing your bowl'. Washing by hand makes you take good care of your own things, think about what you are doing, slow down, appreciate what you have, be mindful. These are good lessons to learn.
When my new dishwasher arrives, I'm going to try to hold onto these minor revelations, and maybe use it a little less.
thanks for reading - comments welcome,