Three Very Practical Updates: Dishwashers, Cell Phones and Air Conditioning

I have lots of new things I want to say, but there are also a few old things that I’d like to revisit first.

I aim for a variety of posts on So Much More Life — from essays about spirituality about which some of my readers politely refrain from commenting to very practical posts about the small sillinesses of life that need to be addressed.

Here are three very practical things there’s reason to revisit: dishwashers, cell phones and minimalist air conditioning.

Robert’s Washing His Own Dishes, Too

As soon as Robert Wall of Untitled Minimalism saw my post about giving up my dishwasher, he commented that he had been planning something on that topic too. Last week, he ran his post — and he covered lots of ground that I didn’t. For example, he talked about all that caustic and expensive soap that dishwashers use. He has lots to say about trading a so-called convenience machine for hand washing, and it’s completely different than my post.

Please read Robert’s post Firing The Dishwasher, and offer him your comments on this topic. If you missed my post, Does a Dishwasher Fit Into A Simple, Minimalist Life, I hope you’ll have a look at it too.

In addition, Jenny from exconsumer (who has a nice and quickly-growing blog) was inspired by my post to experiment with giving up her dishwasher, but I don’t know yet how that has worked out for her. She’s promised to write up the experience for us, and I’ve promised to run her guest post on this topic as soon as I can.

MetroPCS Is Even Better Than I Thought

Let’s call it 87 percent.

I traded in my old Nextel cell phone for a new phone and plan with MetroPCS, saving me about $17 a month. After using it for a couple of weeks, I’m quite satisfied. The buttons on the phone I chose are a bit small, and the Internet has lost connection several time — although the Nextel phone did this frequently, too, but it just stopped working rather than displaying a message telling me what was going on. I’m… let’s say… 87 percent satisfied with my MetroPCS experience.

And for some users, there’s another option that costs even less.

I’ve learned that if you’re a Walmart shopper, you can get 500 minutes of MetroPCS service per month along with unlimited text messages and 50 MB of Internet usage for $20. Get 1000 minutes of talk and 100 MB of Internet usage for $30 a month.

 There are some catches.  You can’t use one of their fancy 4G phones, and you have to buy the refill card at Walmart. There are restrictions related to roaming and probably even more restrictions I don’t understand yet, but this is still a plan worth considering.

That isn’t very much Internet usage, however. In fact, it might not be enough for me, even with my reduced need for it. But this by-the-minute option is obviously less expensive than their unlimited plans.

If you exceed the minutes, you simply buy a new card and start a new month.

From what I can see around here, this is the best deal available for a pre-paid cell phone. You can learn more about it at Here on So Much More Life, you can read my post A New Cell Phone Is More Than a Money-Saver, It’s An Obligation Reducer.

From The Way-Back Machine: Minimalist Air Conditioning

Way back on July 12, 2010 — it seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it? — I wrote a post about living without central air conditioning. Since it’s already heating up where some of you are, I thought this might be a great time to draw your attention to it. If you’d like to see it, visit Air Conditioning: A Minimalist Approach.

I know I many of you weren’t following me in July 2010. Here’s a question, though: Do any of you remember this when it first ran? In other words, who’s reading now that was reading way back eight months ago?

In The Coming Days

In the coming days, I’ll move on to explore some new topics. In addition, I have at least three guest posts that should be coming in soon, and I’ll get those out to you as soon as I can. Want your guest post to appear here? It’s as easy as asking.

Expect great new content on So Much More Life every Tuesday and Friday. While I’ll always have something to say on Tuesdays, you can expect to hear other voices on Fridays as often as I have a guest post to run. I like sharing.

So what else would you like to talk about? We have the rest of our lives to explore interesting and exciting topics.


  1. Gip, I don’t think I’d heard of your blog until about September – so I definitely missed the air conditioning the first time around. But June 30th was the first post on my blog, so I was definitely entering the game. 🙂

  2. I had so many false starts on blogging that I couldn’t tell you when I first started.

    Welcome to everyone who’s visiting after seeing my tzatziki post at Robert’s blog. I’m a multi-talented sort of person, and that post proves I can lay it on thick with the best of them… yogurt, that is.


  3. Hey Gip! I actually just finished up my guest post for you on ditching the dishwasher yesterday. I’m going to read over it today with fresh eyes and get it over to you by the EOD. 😉

    I’m glad the new phone is working out for you. I’m rather attached to my iPhone and feel that it provides mobility and ease of use that fits my life quite nicely right now. My husband and I share a plan, use the older 3G model, choose the smallest data and talk plans and get a discount through his work. After all of that, we pay $96.00 per month for both phones combined. It’s not wonderful, but it’s reasonable for what we get, I think.

    And no, I haven’t seen your air conditioning post — but now I want to. I can’t imagine what it’s like to live with limited or no air conditioning in Texas! Checking it out now…

    1. I have your guest post about hand washing now, and my readers can expect to see it next week. I won’t spoil the surprise, but good for you!

  4. hey there Gip!
    I didn’t know about your A/C post either, I think I only just discovered you a few months ago. In any case, I will have to read your article about the A/C. I am not sure how on earth you can survive in TX w/o it! In Denver, it gets really hot in the summer and our old brick house w no central A/C gets ridiculously hot in the evenings that we have to run our little window unit for a little while just to cool things off, but we don’t let it run for more than about an hour or two.

    Man, i really want to give up the DW, but just can’t right now. We are just so busy that we don’t have time to do all those dishes right now. But it’s going to be something I am going to strive for, because anything that helps the environment is something I want to be a part of.

    1. As you’ll see from my experience, Robert’s (and soon from Jenny’s), washing dishes by hand doesn’t really take any extra time. Of course, you have to start with everything clean and then keep up, but as long as you don’t get behind, you’re fine. You’ll also start using fewer dishes when you realize you have to wash each item you dirty. A plate that had chips on it three hours ago is just fine for a cookie now.


      1. haha i already do that (reuse dishes) 😉
        but yeah, i’ll see what we can do!

  5. I wasn’t around for the air conditioning post.

    (But now I have checked it out and you have a lot of great tips there)

  6. This is my first reading of anything of yours. My daughter has metropcs and lives in NYC. She pays $100 for two phones and is thrilled. I don’t understand about your buying minutes for yours. Hers has unlimited calling, texting and internet. Is there a difference in service plans?

    AC? With allergies I have no choice.

    Dishwasher? While trying to cut back on dishwasher use, I discovered a new plate is not required. I had a sandwich, put the plate in the refrigerator, planning to use it later. Then, bf showed up. I asked him if he minded eating his sandwich from my sandwich plate. He was okay with it. I have cut back on use, but I have not given it up. Vinegar and baking soda works in the dishwasher.

    1. Thanks for joining the conversation here. I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

      My MetroPCS plan is $40 a month for unlimited talk, text and web, but Walmart does offer the cheaper option for those who want it. I haven’t changed to this option and may not. I’m concerned about the restricted Internet usage, but the number of minutes is plenty for me.

      Changing the way I handle AC hasn’t impacted my allergies — which are fine most of the time and were terrible the last couple of days.

      Reusing plates is a smart idea. I’m glad to see so many others doing it!

  7. Many years ago our daughter’s favorite food was buttered toast which she would make several times a day. Being well trained, she would then put her used knife in the dishwasher. When it came time for our evening meal there would not be enough clean knives available. So, I taught her that the first knife she used each day was that day’s butter knife. It stayed by the toaster and got reused all day. Recently, she mentioned that her roommate had never heard of that type of butter knife. 🙂

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