This blog will not be adding more posts but will remain open for you to access the information that will remain here.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Do What You Can

by Sadge, at Firesign Farm
Do what you can, when you can. That's my sustainable living mantra. The past couple of months, I've been fretting because I've had to resort to using my clothes dryer. I prefer hanging my clothes outside to dry, but the weather's been too cold and snowy most of the time. I have a little folding dryer rack I can set inside the bathtub, or in front of the wood stove. But since I'm working in an accountant's office until after Tax Day, plus trying to get a new fund-raising event organized within the same time period, I'm feeling a bit stressed for time quite often. I just don't feel like taking the extra time out of my day to load up that rack, and move it from place to place for the couple of days it takes to dry each load. I still only wash two to three small loads of clothes each week, but I just want to get them dried and put away quickly.

So, for now, I'm choosing to use the electric dryer. And, for the time I'm saving to do so, I'm also choosing to continue cooking our meals from scratch instead of using convenience foods, and take care of my stress levels by getting out for a daily walk with the dog. Both Tax season and the fund-raiser will be done the weekend of April 15th. By then, the weather should be nicer and I can get back outside with the laundry. I just keep telling myself that, in my case, sustainability is not and all-or-nothing type thing. Just do what you can, when you can.

During the 10 years I lived above 10,000 feet, I couldn't grow warm-season veggies such as tomatoes or peppers. But for our three months of "summer", I could grow short-season, cool-weather things like peas and lettuce. So I grew what I could, within the constraints of the climate.

Before I salvaged an old sewing machine from a burned-out trailer, I had a needle, thread, and pair of scissors. I did my sewing and mending by hand. Just do what you can, with what you have at the time.

And sometimes, you'll find, that you really don't need some things. Having a clothes dryer is nice for right now, but I don't mind the time it takes to wash my dishes by hand. I've never had a dishwasher, but then again, don't feel like it's something I need, either. It all just comes down to making your own choices for where you are right now. And as the days get longer and warmer, I know I'll feel like getting back out to my clothesline.

14 comments:

The Professor's Wife said...

I agree! Stress and simple living just don't go together. I sew from a needle and thread myself, and don't use a dishwasher (and use the dishwater to water my small garden), but when it is raining outside or I don't feel well, I put my clothes in the dryer. I feel blessed to have options - and choose to save money and help the environment one week, or save my sanity or health the next!

HAZEL said...

If everybody in the developed world just did SOMETHING it would help. I do what I can do, you do what you can do...at least we are doing something. Keep up the good work!

Joyful said...

So well put and I totally agree with you.

Mrs. J @ Road Less Traveled said...

We used our clothes dryer a couple times in the winter, so don't feel bad! We all have moments where we need to take the easier option--it's hard not to when it is sitting there!

I agree that we should do what we can. Mr. J and I are always trying to do more, but sometimes I feel like there is a limit to that. It's hard to be totally self-sufficient at home when you spend 50 hours a week away from home in a job so you can pay the rent!

I try to look at this time in our lives as an opportunity to do everything we can, and to learn new skills so later in life we can do even more.

David said...

With the hustle and bustle of busy urban life of today, it's difficult to be able to sustain a non appliance life at home. After all my generation invented those appliances so we all could live a more creative productive life without the mundane tasks of running a household stealing all the creative time away. The trend today seems to be to move away from those time saving devices and go back to the simplier more labor intentive way of life. Some of my best soul cleansing times have come while digging in the dirt, or working on a labor intentive project. I have learned to try to be content in what ever state I'm in. Whether it be drying clothes in a dryer in the winter or on a line in the summer.

Have a great frugal green day.

LindaG said...

I think if you have an energy efficient dryer, or use the low setting for small loads, you shouldn't stress.

That takes away from the joy of doing what you can, when you can. :)

Hope you have a good week, I hate tax time...

Denimflyz said...

Please do not stress about using the dryer. After many years, I finally purchased a Energy Star front load washer and dryer, and for me they are wonderful and help me greatly. I am disabled so for me, they are a time saver and body saver. I also take care of elderly parents so I am time starved some days, but I do not feel stressed about using the washer and dryer, as they are desiged with energy in mind, but when it is summer here where I live, I dry outside and love it.
We each must approach living with substainablity as we can, depending on each individual's life and surroundings, we do what we can, when we can, no more, no less.
Take care, you will get through the tax time with flying colors, and then play in your garden and enjoy your home.

Anonymous said...

You are doing what you can when you can. Nobody can ask more of themselves or others.

When I was dryerless and could not hang wash outside I put them on a rack and used a fan set to blow thru the rack - everything, including jeans and bath towels were dry overnight. Now I do have a dryer but will only use it for 15 min if necessary and then hang laundry on the rack and again, everything dries overnight.

We are retired and live on a very limited income so everything we do is computed on time, money and effort. We've found our lives much richer, more rewarding and much less stressful as we don't worry about money or keeping up with the Jones.

Annie said...

What a great reminder! I sometimes stress out over less green choices I make but you're absolutely right, we can only do what we can do. I just try to make sure I'm constantly working toward better choices and I always look for ways to organize my life so I can do things the slow, low energy way... And I suppose that is enough :-)

Paula said...

I bought myself a British clothes airer, which i have hanging from the ceiling in the kitchen, right above the backside of a double-sided fireplace. The fireplace now has a wood stove in it, so it's the perfect place for the airer. I bought it directly from the manufacturer in Britain, because my research showed that even with the exchange rate, I'd save close to fifty dollars buying direct. It's great because I can lower it when I need it, and raise it out of the way when I don't! They make really big ones- I'm kind of sorry I didn't get a bigger dryer. But take a look: http://www.castinstyle.co.uk/product.php/416/2/victorian_kitchen_maid__pulley_clothes_airer

Willo said...

Good mantra. We too use a rack in front of the wood stove. But one way I try to save with convenience is to wash and dry clothes at night/early morning hours as that can help ease the energy use (off-peak hours) and cost less.

becky3086 said...

Very good post. I tend to stress if I am not doing something self sufficient or different every week. As far as the dryer goes though, I have had to give in. We have way too many little ants here who think my clothes line is their freeway. We also have neighbors who all burn their trash, leaves etc. Nothing came in smelling fresh or didn't have an ant or 12 on it. It just wasn't worth it. Could I do it? Yes, but I don't want to. I can however, grow a garden, make my own yogurt, sew almost anything, build stuff, crochet and craft almost anything and grow my own meat. I am always adding something new to my self sufficient list and as you mentioned I do what I can.

emilysincerely said...

I really like that "do what you can, when you can." It is so fitting and applies to so many things. What it means to you might differ slightly from what it means to me and yet differ greatly for another person. I think it is good to be flexible when you need to be (like using your dryer right now). April 15th isn't very far off. I hope your tax work goes well and the fund raising event goes well too. Emily

and outlast blankets said...

I agree with you professor wife she is saying quite right that, she sew from a needle and thread herself, I like this post very much.
Thank you for sharing.