Thursday, July 15, 2010

Back To Basics

As a family of four, we’re always busy and on the go, taking advantage of every amenity of modern life. Right now, we’re living at my grandmother’s house after moving back to Germany from the US, where we’ve lived for the last four years, while we’re waiting for our apartment getting ready for move-in. Living in an old house (it was build in 1952 by my great-grandfather after returning from a Soviet POW camp in Czechoslovakia), a lot of things are different. One thing we soon found out was that my grandmother doesn’t own a dryer. Not that dryers are uncommon in Germany, everyone has one, at least that’s what I thought. My grandmother still has several racks to hang her clothes up to dry. So far, we’ve simply taken our laundry to my mom’s house after washing it, but with me working and my husband sick as a dog, we’ve used the drying racks for a couple of loads of laundry this week. I can tell you, the laundry feels completely different, and somehow I think the clothes are less wrinkly. Hanging up another load of laundry today I mused, if this could even be an experiment for our family. While my original plan was to dive back into the pool of modern gadgets, I now wonder if it would be worth a try to do without. I bet Richard will have his “why this now”-look on his face if I decide to talk to him about it. Doing without would definitely have a lot of advantages. Most of all: saving on the energy bill. Mostly, I need to runs to really get the laundry dry enough to fold the clothes and put them away, with about 4-6 loads a week, this may lead to quite some more money in the wallet, depending on the energy level of the appliance. Sun, in contrast to electricity, is free after all. Another advantage of going dryer-free would be the positive impact on the environment. And with the entire attic just for our use, it could even work. The major disadvantage, however, is the time factor. While I can rely on being able to have a certain piece of clothes ready for wear within about 1.5 hours, with line-drying it will take a lot longer. Proper planning and doing the laundry before we run out of clothes will be essential in the case. I also wonder how the attic will work for drying our clothes in winter. It would be quite a surprise to find a rack of frozen clothes one morning, and I really don’t want my house full of drying laundry all winter long. Also, just the idea of voluntarily doing without a gadget, that was so naturally part of my household is somehow weird, hard to describe. Maybe I have just become very inspired by the No-Impact Man, a New York city guy, who decided to go on the journey of living a year with nearly no impact on the environment. It is definitely a very interesting documentary, even if I would never go as far as he went. But maybe, going without a dryer, even if it’s only for the summer, could be a little step to a greener life.

If anyone of my readers has experience in the subject matter or any advice, I’d appreciate your input. Now it’s time for me to head to bed and ponder some more before I decide whether or not to bring the issue before the hubby.

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