Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ditch the Dryer

This post came to me while I was hanging clothes on the line one unseasonably warm day last week.

I realized that many of my steps toward simplicity and eco-friendliness have happened not necessarily because I wanted them to, per se.  Things happened and Matt and I decided to just see how things would shake out.  To test ourselves in a way.  To see how much we needed and how much we just thought we needed.  This was the case a few years ago when both of our old, beater cars died on the exact same day (really mine wouldn't turn off and Matt's wouldn't turn on, but on that same day they both failed to operate properly).  After considering our options--and lamenting how much money we'd already put into those beaters-- we decided to purchase a single, good quality, fuel-efficient car for the both of us to share.  It worked and so that is what we have going on now.  It had surprisingly good side-effects as well.  We both got more fit as we walked and bicycled more.  It allows me a full 45 minutes of fresh air, listening to audiobooks, watching birds and sunsets, being alone with my thoughts, etc on my walks home from work.  It completely changed my sense of a walkable distance.  (As in, "Pffffftttt....three miles...that's nothing!")  It made me more appreciative of agreeable weather and utterly grateful when I am offered a car ride in terrible weather.  That is not to say there have never been hitches with this shared car arrangement, but not very many and certainly not enough to warrant the money that would be spent to acquire, maintain, and operate a second auto.

Likewise, when the dryer finally came to a screeching, squealing halt a year or two ago Matt and I gave it some good thought.  We could see if the dryer could be repaired.  We could replace it with a new one as ours was a hand-me-down, older model anyways.  Or we could see if we really needed a dryer at all.  The latter is what we decided to try, mostly because it was the easiest and cheapest.  And again, it worked so that is the way it stayed.  I later learned that dryers are one of the major sources of household energy costs so skipping the dryer was not only cheaper for me, but also better for the planet.  Super.  To me that is a huge win-win. 
Again there were a lot of unexpected positive side effects, too.  I discovered I actually enjoy doing laundry--the whole process.  It is my favorite household task.  It seems counter intuitive that I should discover I so greatly enjoy a task after opting to make "more work" for myself by going to the clothesline, but that's what happened.  I love the smell of the clothes right off the line.  I love how they are warm to the touch, infused with sunlight in the summer.  I am so very appreciative of even the weakest of winter sunlight because I can hang the clothes outside to dry instead of in the laundry room.  I enjoy my time pinning clothes and watching the birds at the feeder (which dangle off one end of the clothesline).  We saved money.  We prevent additional wear and tear on our clothes making them last longer.  We have more storage space in the basement.  Again, its not to say there aren't any negatives to the dryer-less arrangement or that it would work for every climate, but it works for us.

You never know when blessings in disguise might present themselves.  I love that fact about this wacky world.  And you never know what you are capable of until you push yourself outside of what you already know and just give it a try.  It might be great.  It might be terrible.  But, at least you'll know for sure and you might be pleasantly surprised, as I certainly am.

5 comments:

  1. Neat post. When our dryer died I was glad because I love hanging clothes. If it is raining out I hang the clothes on clothes hangars and hang on the shower rack or the curtain rods.

    Funny how simple things change perspectives and the more you live without them the more you wonder why so many need them.

    Jennifer

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  2. Beth, like you, I love a clothesline. I have a basement clothesline and I had one in my Conrad house as well. When I was washing diapers though, I would often put them in the dryer, just to save time. Besides saving on energy, a clothesline adds to the longevity of clothing. More and more, I see people around me embracing the "old school" ways of doing things. It makes for a slower lifestyle and I love it!.............Denise

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    1. I am seeing more and more of the "old school" as well and it is quite encouraging. There are so many smart reasons to "go back" in most cases! Seems like a step forward to me!

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  3. Totally agree, though winter "freeze drying" can be a little slow for the jeans. Really sorry we got rid of the basement lines, but our basement steps are a little sketchy anyway, and when carrying clothes baskets...

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