Monday, May 05, 2014
Making It Work....Laundry
The first part of my new series is on laundry. With our size household, there is no shortage of it!!! Before I begin I thought I would give a very quick summary of what this series is all about.
"Making It Work" for starters is NOT about trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It IS designed to be an encouragement to make do with what you have. I suppose I can't be the only one who has struggled with sitting on my bottom waiting until I have all the time, or supplies I need before I begin.
Don't get me wrong, there is a time and place for that. For example, we plan on pulling up our carpet and painting the sub-floors. My first rule is that we won't pull one thread up until we have all the supplies we need. Otherwise there is a high likelihood that we will be walking around on bare sub-floors, getting splinters, for weeks to come. For our bathroom project we *needed* to pull things up since it was a matter of getting rid of the mold as quickly as we could. But, our bathroom has been unfinished for over a year...hence our wait on pulling up the carpet.
I can sit around waiting until everything is just perfect, which leads me to a life of inactivity (with 8 children, I am not actually sitting on my bottom, but I think you understand what I am trying to say :-)). I have decided that it was time to 'get up' and do something about the ideas in my head. This is how this series came about.
Laundry. We all have it. There are a ton of ways one can handle it. I encourage you to find a way that will work for your family. No one way is the *right* way. I know my mother would just about keel over and die if she knew that I pretty much throw my laundry in the washer without sorting. I know, a true crime! Though, to be fair, I do have three piles. One for diapers, one for towels and the last one for everything else. The exception is a new article of clothing that could seep it's fresh dye into the laundry water, I would wash that separately for a few times before throwing it in with the 'everything else' pile.
This year I wanted to extend our outside laundry line. We saved a lot of money last year by hanging our laundry out to dry. The biggest savings come during the spring through fall time period. We try to make do without the AC or heat (spring or fall) which in itself saves money. When it is time to put the AC on, we can still save some money by hanging the laundry. This way the AC unit doesn't have to work against the heat from the dryer running half the day.
We have at least three loads of laundry a day, if not four. Our dryer, for what ever reason (we've looked into it), takes a cycle and a half to dry our clothing. That puts each load drying for one hour and thirty minutes. That means our dryer is running for at least four and a half hours, and sometimes 6 hours daily. Last year I found it difficult to get all our clothing hung on the lines we had. If I started early enough, and it wasn't too humid, with at least a slight breeze, I could get all our laundry dried on the line for the day. If the conditions were not right, then the dryer was used for some part of the drying process.
This year I wanted to extend the lines we had available to us. But, alas, lack of funds for new poles led me to find a way to "Making It Work".
We have trees. Lots of them. Not sure how conducive it will be to have our laundry in the shade for half of the drying time, but trees are what I have to work with. I walked around our property, close to the house, to see where I could make this new line. My new place is working, though not perfect. There were some things....like goats....that determined where I could put my line.
Here it is, in all it's glory :-) I took one end, tied it to a tree, then just kept walking, stopping to wrap the rope around a smaller tree, then kept walking, until I ran out of rope. Nothing fancy here! After using it for a couple of weeks there is one spot that I need to wrap around a tree as there is too much slack in the line, otherwise I am very happy with how the line is working.
Most people think that goats will eat anything. That is not true. However, they are like babies who put everything into their mouths! Our two brown goats in particular love to play with the clothespins. They pull on the laundry until the clips fly off, find them on the ground, and nibble on them. Either that or they like to nibble on the newly hung wet laundry. One way or the other, my clean laundry finds it's way to the ground. That wouldn't be a problem if my line was strung over lush green grass. Alas, it is not. Again, making do with what I have, and that sometimes means I have to rewash an item or five :-)
See? We are clearly lacking in the lush green grass! But I do have these lovely rock formations, smack dab in the middle of my strung up laundry lines. I have to be careful when I am hanging the laundry by the rocks because there are smaller ones that I always seem to trip over (these are not small rocks that I can pick up and throw, but large ones like the above, that are only sticking up a small amount).
How do you all handle your laundry? What type of obstacles have you had to overcome to make a system work for your family?
A large span of lush green grass, multiple lines in the sun, would be ideal, but not all of us have that to work with. I was just driving by a house yesterday and saw their laundry line. At most it could hold 4 or 5 shirts on one line. They had three, maybe four lines, for a total of possibly 20 items to dry at a time. This wouldn't even hold one load of laundry for our family. But, if that is all you can do, then that is one load less, possibly two, depending on your climate, to take it's turn in the dryer.