I Cried When It Died Now I Find Joy

It’s 2012, and the sad reality is I have a full-blown addiction to modern convenience.

Sure, I talk about living off the land and abandoning most inventions of the last 200 years, but the truth is I’d have a hard time adjusting to this reality.

Two weeks ago my dryer died.

I cried.

How pathetic is that??

It took me about 5 days before I accepted that it wasn’t getting fixed as quick as I hoped and my laundry was piling up fast.

I wrapped some clothesline around my back balcony, dug out my clothespins and set to work.

Today marks day 17 since my dryer broke and I can say my addiction is broken.

The repair guy came today and I have no interest in using the dryer.

This is such a great feeling!  To have one modern convenience that isn’t anchoring me down makes me feel all prairie like.

Granted, the dryer is an easy appliance to do away with.  I could see myself surviving without a dishwasher and for those who know me, I’m already quite free from the telephone :)


I would rather go without a toilet than not have a washer.  Let me think about that for a second…..yep, I’ll stand behind that.

Have you gone without a washing machine for an extended period of time?  I’m thinking we’d transition our wardrobe to the bare essentials and it would be all linen.  That seems manageable to me.

In all seriousness, though there are dozens of you that do not have a washing machine.  You are probably laughing at my whining. Several readers have asked me for advice on how to wash cloth diapers without a washer.

My answers always come from the deep recess of my brain reserved for survival skills.  It’s pretty dusty back there.

The bathtub, a washtub or a trough of some kind sound like good ideas to me.  But, it’s the information I gleaned from reading experiences of participants in the Flats & Handwashing Challenge that really have helped me.

Kim of Dirty Diaper Laundry created a video tutorial on how to make a camp style bucket washer.  Fletcher is one of the cutest video models I’ve ever seen.

Just watching that video makes me feel completely capable of hand washing my cloth diapers! I wish I would have watched it months ago and participated in the challenge.  There’s always next year!

A couple of my favorite posts from participants came from Polly of Sew-Fatty and Elyse of Izzy and Johnny’s.

Polly really made me consider how we so easily say, “I could never do that!” but when in the situation you adapt fairly quickly.  I like her story of visiting her grandmother in Mexico while in high school:

Years ago when I was a young my parents let me go on a  long vacation to Mexico with my grandparents. Once there I had accumulated some dirty clothes I had to wash, I asked my grandma if I could wash. She then handed me a bar soap and said that the washing board was in the back room. I looked at her kinda puzzled wasn’t sure what she was saying, I  mean my mom always washed my clothes what was I supposed to do now??

So I go to the back room and I see a concrete washing board and clothes that are sitting there to get washed. Hmm now what?? “Grandma how do I do this I’ve never done this we have a washer and dryer”? my grandma responds ” Mija, we don’t have a washer, but ill show you how to wash on the wash board I do it everyday” my mind was blown away.

I thought “Are you kidding me”? I could not do this everyday.

Well let me tell you I did it every other day  until the day I was getting ready to go back home. To this day I appreciate my grandma showing me  how to wash on a wash board.

Elyse is a true champ.  She participated in the challenge but was already well versed in the how-tos of handwashing.  For a whole year she handwashed her cloth diapers and it was her first year of cloth diapering at that!

Elyse has written a book simply called the Handwashing Guide.  In the guide Elyse describes both the Camp Style bucket method and the Wonder Wash by Laundry Alternative.

How true is this statement that Elyse makes in regards to peoples’ amazement at handwashing or any number of other “impossible” tasks??

In our daily lives we do things that would seem extraordinary to others but are ordinary to us: waiting tables, calming temper tantrums, changing diapers, cooking dinner for a family of 6, working 80 hours a week.  Its all based on perspective and when your situation changes so does your perspective.

If you are like me, your entire perspective has changed in these last 800 words.  I shouldn’t be chained down to modern convenience that my whole world is rocked by something breaking.

Nothing in life is guaranteed to last, not even life itself.  Finding joy in all that comes our way is a challenge but one we must strive to attain.


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About Autumn Beck

Autumn is a wife, mother, homeschool teacher, friend and most important a follower of Christ. She began cloth diapering in 2005 and has experienced many joys and trials throughout the years. You can read more from Autumn over at https://www.facebook.com/beautifullyblessedlashes.

View all posts by Autumn Beck

19 Responses to “I Cried When It Died Now I Find Joy”

  1. Renae Says:

    This came to my e-mail box at the right time.
    We recently moved into a rental house that already had a washer and dryer in place. We own our own so clearly I wanted to use my own personal machines. So, the movers moved the old washer/dryer out of the way and moved ours into place. Days later as I get ready to wash, my DH discovers that this house does not have the proper electrical hookup for our dryer. Initially I’m thinking ok no problem I’ll air dry for a while, it is summertime and things will dry quickly. This is usually myprefered method of drying anyway. However, it has now been a month of no dryer and with only one drying rack and the clothes line still hiding in a box somewhere I have gotten a bit frusterated. I have only been able to do one load per day due to our small drying rack and humidity lately things are taking way to long to dry!
    This post gives me an entire new perspective, thankyou. Although, I’m not quite convinced that no dryer is for me, would love to have the “convinience” of the dyer to get a few things dry quickly at this time. In the mean time, I have two loads sitting and waiting, they will get washed tomorrow. lol


  2. Sara Pearsall Says:

    I guess you could say that we have slowly given up some modern conveniences. About 7 years ago no I stopped watching TV. Yep. No TV for this girl! It was so full of drama and bad news I would get depressed from watching. Plus I no longer had an excuse to be lazy on the couch when there was so much to do outside. When I met my now husband he of course thought I was loony, but soon I convinced him not to watch and he’s been TV free now for over 5 years. Don’t get me wrong, we have a television (with zero stations) and we do watch the occasional movie, but that is it. We also rarely use our dishwasher. I hand wash most everything when I am doing the cooking or baking. He hand washes some of it (then leaves the rest for me!) when he’s cooking. As far as the no washer and dryer…I think that would be harder to give up on! I do hang dry my cloth diapers but just don’t know if I’m brave enough to transition to all of our clothes just yet! Just today we had the discussion on whether or not to buy a microwave. We just moved in to our first home a few days ago. It did not come with a microwave. When he asked we both kind of looked at each other and just shrugged our shoulders and agreed we’d see how it works out without a microwave. One less appliance to have to clean : )


  3. Bianca Says:

    Last week we went camping and I shared the same tutorial with my SIL for that camp washer. We hand washed our cloth diapers, and I’ll agree, I felt so much like a pioneer! With the sun and warm weather finally hitting the PNW, I’ve been sun drying out cloth diapers for several weeks now too, to save on energy costs.


  4. debbie Says:

    My washer is out, sortof. I need a new shaft and bearing on my cabrio. It will cosy about $100. With is doing the work. I do love my washer. And I called to complain that it should last more than 4 years. I have been thinking about washing in a bucket too. I have about 6 loads that need washing.


  5. Justice Montgomery Says:

    Our washing machine broke down this past Saturday, the 21st. We are a family of 7, with 2 in cloth. I have been hand washing flats, covers and fleece liners since Saturday evening. (I stuffed all our prefolds, pockets and AIOs into a couple pillow cases until we have a washer) The rental company that delivers for our area was supposed to be here between 8am and 2pm today. They called me at 9, to tell me that they have to cancel. I pretty much went HYSTERICAL because they can’t be here until next Monday, the 30th. This morning I washed 2 loads of diapers, two loads of kids’ undies and 2 loads of people’s shorts so they can continue to wear clean clothes. Apparently everyone has enough shirts. Thankfully my oldest two kids (Almost 12 and 10) think that plunging their laundry in the bath tub to get it clean is FUN and actually fight over the plunger. I still end up doing most of the work, but at least I can have help if I want it! I do wish that I had one of those old hand crank basins though, with the wringers. :) It’s certainly not fun, but it gets the job done.


  6. Amber Says:

    I see a lot of ragababes on the clothesline :) Do you still love your grasshopper diapers as much as your Rags?


  7. Miranda Says:

    This is a silly question, but I’m trying to figure out how to hang a clothesline on our city balcony so that we can sun dry our new cloth diapers. What kind of line did you use and how did you attach it? Any tips on attaching a clothesline to steel balcony posts?


    • Autumn Beck Says:

      i screwed in tiny hooks then attached a clothesline to it. very simple! but with steel posts you might try wrapping something around the post to let the line rest on. maybe something rubber that won’t slip down?? you’ll have to get creative!


  8. Swapna Says:

    Where I’m from in India and when I was growing up, most people wash their clothes by hand or they hire servants to wash clothes by hand. Nowadays though in India, more middle-class people own washing machines but dryers are very rare.

    I grew up learning how to wash clothes by hand and hanging them on clotheslines, though not everyday. While I appreciate the convenience of washing machines & dryers, there are days when I do wonder if doing things the old-fashioned way is not better.


  9. Tiffany Says:

    What diaper is the white and blue diamond one hanging in your picture?


  10. Jen H. Says:

    Great post! I have lived without a dishwasher for almost 5 years now. You get used to hand washing, so, even though I agree, I’d rather be without a toilet than my clothes washer, I assume that it would become routine to hand wash clothes if I had to. I haven’t used my dryer in over a month (ok, except when I forgot to wash my husband’s work clothes this week and dried one set in an emergency). It has been over 100 degrees here most days for the last month or so and I just can’t add more heat to the house. Especially when I will wash the night before and hang in the morning before it gets scorching out(I bring the clothes in the a/c so they won’t sour overnight.) I litterally dried 3 loads of laundry in this heat in less time than my dryer does one load! My biggest issue with handwashing is that I have insanely sensitive skin and half to use gloves to wash dishes with. One day I ruined my last pair and did dishes without. Never again! Couldn’t even use my hands the next day my skin was so raw! So, it does kind of stink to have that expense, but, oh well.


  11. Athena Says:

    Hi Autumn, so funny this is todays post, my new non energy efficient top load washer is being delivered today!!! I’ve been without a dryer now for three months, at first I thought it would not be possible to keep cloth diapering and keep up with laundry for six people. I was wrong, just needed to change my perspective, takes a little more time (not that much here in the California summer)but now I love it! It’s actually helped me to simplify( pared down everyone in the familys wardrobe)and realized we really don’t need much. We donated much of our excess and feel great about that!Also my electric bill went down!although it may go back up with the new washer( lol) have to wait n see… Thanks for another great post!


  12. Renee S Says:

    Going without a dyer in the summer is a lot easier than in the rainy or snowy times of the year. So thankful we have a washer and dryer at home, especially with kids and CDing


    • judi Says:

      This is so true! My dryer died last October and it was really, really tough keeping up with laundry for a family of 8 in a CO winter. The hardest part was having to round up someone to carry the heavy baskets of wet clothes up the stairs (washer is in the basement) and out to the yard as my pregnancy progressed. I’m still without a dryer but the dry, hot summers here make it pretty simple. I’m going on strike if I don’t have a new dryer by this fall.


  13. Christen Says:

    Love the Rags hanging on the line!


  14. Trisha W. Says:

    My family of nine was without a washer for nine days. I did run to the Home Depot with my husband to get a bucket, lid, and plunger right away. I then sent a quick note to Kim at DDL asking for how much detergent she used in her bucket. Over the next few days I did many tiny batches. A bucket load was about 1/4 what my washer can do in each batch. Ultimately, I did do four loads of wash at the laundromat and backed off using my CDs. That was just too much for me. Luckily, we already have a clothesline which we purchased last year. If you ever do go without your washer, please be aware that the washers at the laundromat are probably smaller than your washer’s tub. I was surprised by that.


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