Here is a link to a Facebook photo album detailing my experience using the non-electric Wonder Wash for the first time. It was relatively quick and easy, and I was able to use only 5 gallons of water, all of which I recaptured to use as gray water for flushing toilets.
This is the new non-electric washer
As you’ll see, I did use the spin cycle of the regular washing machine for about 10 minutes, so I could hang my shirts without distorting them from the weight of the water. (I guess that would be the only water I couldn’t reclaim as gray water.) The only downside to the experience was that the directions that came with the Wonder Wash were unclear and incomplete. I had to go online to find instructions regarding amounts and temperatures of water to use for washing and rinsing, and then had to convert the liters to gallons. Not really a big deal, and it’s easy to remember going forward.
A friend wondered about whether soap would be left in the clothes at the end of washing. My clothes are still damp as I write this, so I will post again to let you know how they turned out when dry.
The last part of our conversation about laundry habits was recognizing how we use or misuse our time. We own a well functioning washing machine and gas dryer. We put a load of laundry in and walk away. Sometimes we walk away for 2 or 3 days only to come back to sour smelling clothes forgotten in the washer, or a wrinkled pile of fabric left in the dryer.
In other words, we are not mindful about what we are doing with our clothes. And that’s not the only thing we aren’t mindful about …
Leslie previously mentioned the importance of “creating an environment conducive to success.” That did not describe our laundry room. The working end was a mess. And for me, shame about the current state can be a major obstacle to change. I bet I’m not alone in this. So, I am airing my dirty laundry with before and after pics of the drying area of our laundry room. You can see why we weren’t using it before.
Now, having looked at it with new eyes and “thinking of it as an adventure, I was able to reclaim the space in under 20 minutes!
As the parents of 5 kids, now grown, we understand the vital interplay between how you arrange your space and the activities (or conflicts) that occur within that space. As Leslie puts it: “You have to create the conditions for success”
As we think about the laundry room, we asked ourselves if we had created the physical conditions that made change possible and likely that we would make a significant change in how we do laundry … and our answer was, not yet.
As January’s laundry mini-challenge comes to an end, my husband and I sat down to talk about what it would mean to change our laundry habits. Phil Grove’s comment about “too many clothes” was part of that discussion.
One of the great things about the environmental mini-challenge is that I now have a reason to look into things that I knew I wanted to research, but never got around to doing. Today’s topic is detergent and when I started nosing around on the Web I found this: The Laundry Alternative. I feel downright giddy!
They had this page on eco-friendly laundry detergents. They had info on the ingredients found in detergents. Hmmm… looks like the site isn’t fully baked – some of the articles are missing. Oh well… it did get me thinking about my dry-clean-only clothes.
Three years ago we were demoralized over our lack of progress at paying down debt. Then we started working with a counselor who challenged us to be as radical as we could be about cutting our expenses. She told us to put everything on the table: cold showers … no cell phone … bike to work. How far could we go?
Well, we couldn’t go quite as far as her, but we discovered that taking on the challenge of drastic, time-limited change gave us a rush of energy that allowed us to tackle even more change. One of the things we joyfully discovered was that as we cut our expenses, we also became more green.
- That first year we entitled “The Year of Living Radically Thrifty and Green.” Among other things, we became a one-car family. We paid off about $17,000 in debt.
- The next year we entitled “A Thousand Things,” setting a goal of removing 1,000 things from our home and garage. Things cost more than just the purchase price. You’ve got to store them, clean them, repair them and replace them. We decided that if we owned it, we’d better really love it. If not, set it free. We got rid of more than 1,079 things by year’s end, and another $10,000 in debt.
- Last year we didn’t have a clear theme, backslid on some efforts, and didn’t accomplish as much, though we did say goodbye to one child’s college loans and continued to make progress on paying down other debt.
We needed more focus so we’ve started this blog and we’ve gotten involved in a neighborhood sustainability/transition group. Our intent is to write once a week about what we are learning in the group and in our own research and practice. Each month we will undertake a mini-challenge to see what we can do to decrease our energy use and environmental impact. We’ll report on what we’ve learned and what we think we need to do to maintain that positive change.
Doesn’t matter if you’re 20 or 50, it’s hard to change. Doing something very different from what you’ve done before is difficult, especially if it’s in response to something as amorphous as climate change and the inevitable economic change that will occur as a result of the end of cheap oil.
It’s easier to go on as usual. In fact, that’s exactly what our national leaders ARE doing – denying the need for change and denying that there are and will continue to be painful consequences from our past actions.
We prefer to face reality, as difficult as that may be. The best part of it is, we don’t have to wait for national leaders or state leaders to take action. We can begin today to do our part, and we’re going to do it with a curious mind and a hopeful spirit. We choose to think of this change — Joanna Macy calls is “The Great Turning” — as an adventure. And we’re inviting you along.