Doing without recap

I had been living without some standard household items for longer periods of time and thought I’d share my experiences how it went. Especially in the light of seeing people give away all their furniture to be more location-independent. From my experience I can say that not all of the without-things have turned out to simplify my life – that’s why we do have some of them now.

Dinner before furniture

Here are my thoughts on living without …..

…car – always. I like to ride my bike or use public transport. Currently, I’m walking to work, which takes about 40 minutes each way. Cons: not cool in the snow storms we are having these days, but I’m getting used to it and the super warm down coat I got for xmas from the hubby surely helped. It’s a good way to keep fit too, and when I arrive at the office my head is clear and I’m ready to go.

…own washing machine, dryer – 2000 – 2002, 2005-2011. No problem at all. Laundromats are good places to meet people, and cost-wise there isn’t much of a difference to buying an own washer and dryer. Other times, I washed my clothes in the shower and dried them on a rack. Now we have a shared laundry in the building, which is a pretty good idea to share resources i.m.o.

…  dishwasher – 2000 – 2002, 2005-2009. Ah, the dishwasher. Obviously, many people around the world survive just fine without one. Me too, but I have to say that doing the dishes took a big portion of the evenings that I rather would have used for something else – if I get home from work around 9 or later, I still somehow manage to cook, but I don’t necessarily manage to do the dishes afterwards. Now we have one (the current apartment came with it), and we are using it regularly. Big relief. I don’t quite remember but some study once showed that the dishwasher doesn’t use much more water than if you do the dishes in the sink – is this still valid?

… a dining or kitchen table – 2002 – 2009. Fine. My friends are able to eat on trays and sit on pillows, who would have thought? When there was a coffee table in my life, we’d eat in the living room. Having a kitchen table now, it turned out to be the center of the house – hubby and I spend more time at that table (eating, talking, playing cards) than anywhere else when we are at home.

… couch – 2000 -2009 (in lieu: futon mattress). Fine. Turned from bed into a sofa by putting bedding away, and a throw and pillows on top when friends came over. Con: As my and his parents are getting older, they appreciate not having to sit down on the floor and are thankful of our little couch now. In the past I had to sometimes borrow chairs from neighbours when parents came.

… bed frame – 2000 – 2010, see couch. We still don’t have a proper bed, just a frame underneath the mattress to keep it from accumulating moisture. I think I just got used to sleeping near the floor, to the point that regular height beds make me uncomfortable.

… a fridge  – 2005 – 2009. When my old fridge broke, I didn’t replace it for three years, as an experiment to see how it goes and to save electricity. All in all, it worked out well but with some drawbacks – I had to go shopping more often (luckily I was living over a supermarket), my diet was restricted especially in summer (not much dairy, eggs, tofu, meat products, lettuce since they get bad outside soon), and I couldn’t cook lunches in advance. I wouldn’t do it again. When I came to the states however I noticed that fridges were about 5times larger than I knew it – if we ever buy our own fridge, it surely will be a smaller, energy-efficient one.

… eating out – To me, eating out is a treat. I would eat out with my parents for my birthday, or on special occasions. I am used to making breakfast, packing lunch, and cooking dinner. Now that I am married we’re going for a date once a month to eat sushi, but that’s it. No changes planned.

… TV – I got rid of mine in 2005, and never regretted it. I cannot select the content, most of the entertainment is brain wash, movies are full of commercials, and the news are available online. I got rid of it to free me time to be creative, read, sleep (!), and socialize instead, and I never regretted it one day. Hubby is on board with netflix. The only problem left to solve is how we can watch sports online, because I understand that it’s tough on him.

What I can conclude from these experiences for now is that having items like a fridge, a sofa and a kitchen table make my life easier. However, as the next move is looming, probably they can’t accompany us, but the arguments so far speak for replacing them in our next home.


… Microwave – Never had one,never will. Freshly brewed coffee is unbeatable and for everything else there is a stove.

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5 Responses to Doing without recap

  1. I like this! It’s great to see your experience spelled out through a longer time frame. A lot of times I see posts where folks have just gotten rid of something and share their experience. I like that you show the long-range of living with/without the items.

    I’ve never minded not having a dishwasher. Even when we had one in our apartment I didn’t use it. But for bigger families I’m sure it is a life-saver. The size of fridges in America bugs me too! Can’t they just make them smaller?


    • happyasclams says:

      haha, i know I am a total dishwasher-whore. I’m sure it would be better not to use it, but I honestly have to admit here that I do because it saves m so much time.
      The other day I saw very small fridges with a small freezer compartment at Sears, comparable to ours. I think they were labeled “Studio-fridges”. Also when I asked out of interest about the only washer-dryer they had where both functions were combined in one machine, the sales rep advised me against buying it because it is ‘too small – if you have the space, why would you buy a small one when you can have a big one’. Bleak.

  2. bernie says:

    This is really interesting and honest. I don’t think I would be able to go for three years with out a fridge. I glad to read that you wouldn’t do it again either!


  3. Sarah says:

    I’m in the US and agree that refrigerators are way too large! Maybe not for a family, but for one person my standard size fridge is such a waste. Unfortunately it comes with the apartment so I’m stuck. I would also be happy with a smaller stove, 2 burners on top and one rack inside. I have to admit that I love my microwave though!

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