“Convienient” Isn’t Always Cheap..and Convenient. Part 1.

A couple weeks ago I was reading the book Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology by Eric Brende. I was very interested in the topic, since I was at the time feeling overwhelmed by technology.
If you have ever had a power shortage, or a black out, you may have noticed that everything seems so much quieter. The ‘whir’ you hear when everything goes off. Then silence. Ah, I welcome it. (If it’s not on a hot summer day. I don’t mind the heat, but my Dad does with his breathing issues.)  Sometimes I thank the Lord that we had a power outage, just so I can get some true silence. At least for a few hours. I mean, the fridge stays cold if you don’t open it.
Everyone seems to become more connected and friendly. Most families that I have talked to about a recent black out says that they were tempted to cancel their cable subscription because they were so close during those days without it. (But no one has.)
Power outages make me want to go and live in the middle of nowhere. But, I never do. (The money and transportation has something to do with it.)

As I read the book, I noticed there was an ongoing theme. Technology has brought a lot of ‘convenient’ and ‘easier’ ways to go about life. It has brought us cars, digital clocks, computers, television, mp3 players, and electric lights. And a whole lot more. But in the book, the man showed how they performed life without these conveniences. And he noted that life became easier and simple for them.

One that stood out the most was washing clothes. I heard heard that they boiled water and scrubbed until their hands were blistered and swollen red. But they used a hand crank to wash their clothes. He said that one load would take three minutes of cranking (or 200 cranks) and the load was done. His wife said she appreciated it, since she got an upper arm workout that she never could manage to get with her busy schedule. They also used a biodegradable washing detergent that you could make yourself. Once they were done, they hung it out to dry.
Now, we have a large washing machine that uses gallons of water and tons of power, along with expensive “allergen sensitive” perfume free detergent. Sure, you just load it, stick some detergent in the slot, press a button and come back forty or so minutes later. But to me, that seems so impractical compared to the hand crank.
What’s three minutes out of your day? Sure, I’m a homeschooled teenager that hasn’t had any kids or a job. But three minutes? As a christian, I am thinking you could spend that time praying, or even reading the Bible. Or hey, sing a hymn to pass the time. Or you could count it as your daily workout regime.
There are a few hand-cranked laundry machines you could buy, or a few different ways to wash your laundry without a laundry machine. I have yet to find a larger hand-cranked machine, but a brand that I have seen recommended repeatedly is the Wonder Wash. It’s priced at $43, but out of stock until September 30th. It’s portable, and according to the website it’s 12″ x 12″ x 16″. Not as big as normal washing machines. I have yet to find a bigger one, but there has to be one out there.

As for detergent, it seems cheaper and more cost efficient to make your own. There’s afew homemade recipes out there you can try out. They normally contain borax, Ivory soap, and/or washing soda. But there are also alternatives that you can buy. A blog entry I read at Passionate Homemaking shows you different options to laundry detergent. They give you a Homemade Recipe, a trust-worthy brand called Charlies, and Soap Nuts. I have heard of Charlie’s soap before. It’s something I think our household needs, but am trying to convince Dad that it is a good buy. It costs only $0.11 per load  if you buy bulk, but $0.17 normal. And a load is 1 tbsp. Soap nuts I have never heard of before. That’s very interesting. Maybe you can grow your own? Ha.
Once I move out, it’s something I really want to try out. It seems more practical and cheaper than a conventional washing machine. It’s seems to be worth a try. The website I shared that sells the Wonder Wash offers a 30 day return policy, and a 1 year warranty. That should give me enough time to try it out. I’ll probably try out some homemade detergent recipes before I buy any. But that’ll all be  a while from now. 🙂

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