The fact that I don't use my clothes dryer has been well established, but I still use my automatic washer. Being an older, less expensive, top-loader, it's not the most efficient, and with an eye on conservation, if I had the cash, I might do well to get a more energy efficient model, but in the greater scheme of things, I have to ask myself, is operating an electric washing machine one of those areas on which I want to expend my precious electricity?
That said, I've done laundry by hand before, and it's difficult and messy. I don't have a very good set-up for hand-washing my clothes. If I lived in a warmer climate, I would take the clothes outside and wash them there in washtubs and use the firepit to warm the water, but my reality is that it's the middle of March, and we still have a six foot snow bank next to our driveway. Yesterday, when we were setting the rest of our taps, I walked through snow that was so deep, I ended up with snow in my boots.
I also don't have any big sinks in my house and my bathtub isn't made for bending over to wash clothes. It's a very deep, jacuzzi style tub with a step-up to get into it.
I can change some of that, though. The closet where my laundry machines are located would be a great place for a large, utility sink. A large utility sink would be a great place to do laundry in the house. Fill it up with hot water (either from the tap or from the woodstove), add the clothes and let them soak. After a bit, use a washboard to scrub the clothes, and then, using my wringer, squeeze out the water, and then, hang them on the line.
It wouldn't reduce my mountain of laundry, but doing them by hand might actually motivate me to cull some of the endless stash of clothes my daughters have (my youngest has clothes at the bottom of her drawer that she hasn't seen in YEARS! Because she has too many to need to dig that far).
And then, that mountain would become a mole hill ... which would be much more manageable.
For those of you who are interested in low-energy washing options, I have a treat. Many moons ago, I was given a Wonderwash.
I always thought I would use it, but it's a bit small for my family and so I haven't. So, I'd like to offer it to one of you. Because of the cost of postage, this particular giveaway is open to US residents only.
Per usual, please leave your name in the comments section ;).
AND THE WINNER IS ...The winner of the book How to Make a Forest Garden is reneebontjes. The winner of the book Gardening When It Counts is Alla. Please leave a comment with your full name and the mailing address to which you would like the books sent. Comments are moderated, and I will not publish your address. Congratulations to you both!