This past winter I fell on ice and broke my wrist. As you can imagine, this made many things more difficult, including housekeeping. My husband and I (and now our two kids) have lived in the same rental apartment sans dishwasher for eight years. My husband had been campaigning for one for years, but I had resisted for two reasons: 1) why invest money in a rental apartment and 2) why give up valuable cabinet space in our already small kitchen. But falling on the ice didn't just break my wrist, it broke the camel's back and pushed us over the edge to finally purchase a dishwasher. Was it worth it?
What We Spent
In case you're curious and considering this for yourself, we asked our landlord for permission and he agreed to pay for the plumber and installation if we paid for the dishwasher itself. I relegated the purchase to my husband who bought a Bosch model for about $800 (including taxes and delivery). This is pretty expensive as far as dishwashers go, but supposedly the "quietest in its class" which my husband prioritized over price.
When I told friends and family we finally had a dishwasher, everyone was so juiced up and repeatedly asked me, "don't you love it??" Well...not at first. Having gone two decades without one (since moving out of my parents' home), I had kind of forgotten that there is actually still quite a bit of work involved—all the loading and unloading and loading again! This probably sounds dumb to people who haven't experienced a long dishwasher drought, but in my head (and reinforced by the enthusiasm of everyone around me) I had an unrealistic expectation that getting a dishwasher meant *presto!* your dishes are done! Nope, there was still work involved.
Also, to make room for the dishwasher we had to clear out a large cabinet's worth of cooking equipment. We identified some redundancies (similarly sized pots, for example), but mostly ended up moving things into other cabinets which made those spaces crowded and less organized.
And then there's this problem:
Because a dishwasher wasn't considered when our kitchen was planned out years and years ago, the plumber only had one option, pipe-wise, of where to locate the dishwasher. Our kitchen is super narrow and when the dishwasher is open, there is about 7" of clearance between it and the refrigerator. This is annoying for anyone trying to move about while the dishwasher is being loaded or unloaded. And, you can't open the refrigerator when the dishwasher is open.
Another thing I didn't anticipate is that the cabinet above the dishwasher is where we store most of our dishes, but when the dishwasher is open I can't reach into this cabinet forcing me to temporarily load items onto the counter, close the dishwasher and then put things away. I suppose I can shift things around and store food there instead but I haven't done this yet.
We've had our dishwasher for six months now and I've come around to appreciating it and, yes, regretting not getting it sooner. Just think, if we'd invested in it eight years ago when we'd moved in, the pro-rated cost would be pennies a day. Not only does having a dishwasher save time, but the kitchen looks cleaner during the day because we put dirty dishes right into the dishwasher instead of in the sink or on a counter.
Not every landlord will let you add a dishwasher, but it's worth asking especially if you plan to live there for a few years.
Are you a renter who has added a dishwasher? Add your thoughts in the comments.