The counter top microwave I had in my kitchen was almost 19 years old. It was a wedding gift, and it’s followed us from apartment to apartment to its final resting place in our home, where it has sat for the past 13 years.

It served us well for many years, but in the past couple of years, it had became persnickety. Sometimes it would work fine. Sometimes, if I used it for a few minutes and then went to use it again within a certain period of time, it wouldn’t heat. It was old. It was tired. It was time to retire the microwave.

I looked at other microwaves, but in the end, my husband and I decided not to replace it. For the past month, I’ve been living microwave-free. Am I happy living without the convenience? Mostly. It’s been an adjustment, but the whole family is slowly getting used to it.

Here are the pros and cons of living microwave-free, at least as the Shreeves family sees it.


  • Open counter space! The counter top microwave took up the entire counter space on one side of our sink. Now, that space is open, making it easier for two people to work together in my small kitchen.
  • The kids are learning more kitchen skills. When they need to heat water, they use the kettle. When they need to reheat foods, they do it on the stovetop or in the toaster oven. They’re learning to stand watch over what they’re reheating so it doesn’t burn, and they’re becoming more comfortable using other appliances.
  • My meal planning is getting better. When I can’t grab chicken breasts out of the freezer at the last minute and defrost them quickly, I need to know the night before what I’m making the next night.
  • Since I have an “anything can be breakfast” policy, the boys were quite used to throwing last night’s rice into the microwave for breakfast before school. It now takes a little longer to reheat things. They’ve had to adjust their morning routines a little. They weren’t happy about it at first, but they’ve adjusted.
  • More dirty dishes. We could heat things up in the microwave right on the plate or in the bowl we’d use at the table. Now, we need to use a pot, a pan, or an oven sheet to heat things first.
  • The need for more pots. We’ve had to dig out a couple of old, non-stick pans that I probably should have gotten rid of years ago. Since I often would use the microwave to heat up vegetables in the bowls they’d be served in, I wouldn’t need any pots to cook them in. I’m not happy about the non-stick pots, and I plan on getting rid of them soon and buying healthier, more durable replacements.

So far, I see no need to replace our microwave now that we’ve been without one for a month. If we ever do the kitchen renovation that we keep talking about, we may put one in above the stove so it doesn’t take up counter space. But for now, we’re staying microwave-free.

Do you think you could live without your microwave?

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Learning to live microwave-free
Our food blogger ditched the microwave in her small kitchen. Does she regret it?