Thursday, February 18, 2010

Necessities: Laundry

I've two challenges to keeping my clothes, linen and towels clean: affordability and back pain from scoliosis that developed from a childhood injury. Regarding affordability, recall that I've $783.24 left, annually, to pay for everything else after shelter costs.

To save the most amount of money, hand washing my laundry would be the obvious, ideal choice. It would save the $1.50 for the automatic washer that is three floors below me. If I could hand wash my clothes daily, then the fact I've little room for drying things - one drying rack and a shower rail - would also save the $1.50 for the dryer.

The condition of my back makes that most economical choice unfeasible. Washing underwear might be done at the bathroom sink, in small stints so the pain in my back from standing could be avoided. Alternatively, I might wash my underwear in the tub when I take my baths.

That is precisely what I used to do. Alas, I don't take baths anymore because I can't afford the smelly, water-softening, skin-softening stuff I used to use. Baths without that lovely stuff (which soothed my starved senses too) dry out my already dry skin. Ergo, it's nix on baths and nix on washing my underwear when I bathe.

Larger clothing and other items would have to be washed in the tub. Nix on that too.

Leaning over for any length of time, not to mention scrubbing while in that position, is extremely painful and to be avoided. (It's bad enough when I clean the tub.) The same can be said for folding laundry, of all the silly things. When folding laundry, one leans slightly forward. For the average load, folding can take several minutes. For me, that translates into a lot of pain.

Next choice after hand washing is reducing the number of times I use the washing machine and dryer. My mother used to do laundry once a week and there were three of us. Back then, one wasn't expected to change one's outer clothing or linen or towels everyday, just one's underwear. (I was taught to wear the same bra for one week.) So conceivably, I could go three weeks if I had enough clothes, etc. to last me that long.

It took me awhile but now I've enough underwear and towels (not bed linen) to do that and I continue the tradition of wearing the same outer clothing for several days.

That still isn't good enough, though. I can't afford to spend $3.00 every three weeks for the machines, plus the cost of detergent, not unless I cut back on my food intake even more, which I'm not willing to do.

So what choices are left to me?

  • hand wash underwear everyday in the bathroom sink;
  • wear the same outer clothing and use the same towels and linen until they fail the sniff test;
  • do one washing load - whites or colours - no more than once every six weeks;
  • use my shower rail and drying rack whenever possible to avoid having to use the dryer;
  • 'order' a new-old drying rack from my local ReUseIt and hope to get one or more positive responses so I can eliminate the dryer altogether.

Shall update this post should the latter happen. As for bed linen, I've begun to entertain the possibility of eliminating it entirely. I simply can't keep up.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

every two weeks i walk a couple blocks with my laundry to a friends house and do two loads of laundry. i wear my pants and bra usually for 3 days, but change everything else everyday. this arrangement is way cheaper than using the laundry machines at my apartment, which was about $7 total, and the dryer didn't dry the clothes all the way so i put it on for more time. grrr. i hate having to have exact change for laundry, i wish i could get a prepaid card to swipe instead. also with going to a friends house to do my laundry i get to hang out with them more.