Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

Frugal laundry

Absolutely no money saving idea, frugal living way,  or cost cutting device in the whole world will work if you don’t “do it” or “use it” or “form it into a habit”.  You can read about ways to save money all day long but reading about them doesn’t save the money.  Doing does.  Over the years I had grown accustom to some of the time saving (but money guzzling) ways that the advertising media convinced us we must use.

One of those was the use of my washer and dryer.  I realized I’ll never be able to afford a new set of those high efficiency washers and dryers.  Then I asked myself why would I want to?  I remember a time when we washed our clothes in an outdoor wash house in a tub with a wash board.  I don’t want to go back to those days but I can still save energy which also means save money.

So, I decided to drastically cut back on the energy use of the set I do have in order to save money.  I started with the washer.  A thought occurred to me that if a washer is set for a large load using cold water….

Energy diet 2014 012

and run on the normal wash setting…..

Energy diet 2014 014

that it uses the exact same amount of electricity as the smallest load?  So, let me say that again.   If I have a small load of color clothes, set on cold water, for a normal wash, it uses the exact same electricity to run the washer as a super size load of color clothes with cold water and the normal setting.  So I ask myself why should I run the smaller load?  Because the washer company and the laundry soap company told me to do it that way?  I’m changing my ways.  I’ll use the large load setting and make sure the washer is full everytime.  That’s not easy to do when normally I have very little to wash.  So I’ll put color  and white clothes together in the same load making sure it’s large.

Yeah, I can hear you thinking about the mixing of color with whites in the same wash load.  Maybe your thinking about how you accidently put a red sock into the wash with your white blouses and suddenly you had several new pink ones?  Ok, are you afraid of bleeding colors? Really?  Gosh, my clothes are old enough, and washed enough times, that nothing bleeds anymore.  If you are afraid of colors bleeding, then why not use a color catcher in the full load?  Those things do work.  If you have one item you know for certain will bleed, simply hand wash it by itself or “fix” that by using vinegar to set the color.

Energy diet 2014 013

I would love to be able to hang clothes out on a line in the yard but that’s not possible here where I live.  The west end STINKS and the west end is extremely DIRTY.  There is a black soot like or mold like substance that covers everything.  Houses, cars, trees, and just about everything else is coated with the stuff.  I believe if kids set still long enough that stuff would gather on them too.  I do worry about what is going into our lungs.  How much of that stuff are we breathing?

Anyway, I decided to rig up a clothes line in my house.  I used to have one and then when I started earning money from quilting I stopped using it because I told myself I didn’t need to live without convenience anymore.  Yeah, I listened to the media hype.  I got affluenza the minute I started earning money.

I had been thinking about doing this for quite some time.  I would start hanging my clothes in the house like years ago.  When I found a really good bargain on a clothes drying rack I bought it.  I set it in the tub so if there is any dripping water it won’t be on the floor.

 

Food and kitchen 2014 124

When not in use it hangs behind the door out of the way.

Food and kitchen 2014 125

This takes care of the smaller stuff but larger items like sheets or pants really needed to be higher.  I went to the closet and brought out my previous “line” and put it back up.  Here you can see the whole set up in use.  Well, not the sheets yet.  The best photo I could get was through the mirror.  See the wood bar above the tile?  That’s the new clothes drying line.

Energy diet 2014 011Ok, so you don’t like the stiff feeling of line dried clothes.  They are stiff and scratchy.  Now I ask you, which is cheaper, a half hour of drying time using full heat or 5 minutes of fluffing?  I dry the clothes on the indoor line then put into the dryer for five minutes to rid them of that stiff feel.  It’s your money, you choose.  Give your money to the utility company or spend it on something you want for yourself.  As for me, I can put up with scratchy clothes and put that money into a Christmas savings for the grands.

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8 comments on “Frugal laundry

  1. Faye
    August 7, 2015

    I decided about 12 years ago not to purchase a new clothes dryer. I dry everything outside in the summer and inside in the winter. The sun ( sometimes over 109 heat index) in the summer dries things quickly. The increased humidity in the winter allows me my house to feel warmer. So it is a win win…no money spent on electricity to run the dryer.

  2. Michelle
    September 28, 2014

    Glad you didn’t fall in the pit of hype over these new front load/HE washers. I have a set (2nd washer) and absolutely hate it! It has managed to snag a couple of different shirts at times and completely ruined them. You have to use special products to clean the washer or else everything stinks. Even with the cleaning/leaving the door open to air dry, my clothes don’t smell as nice as they used to and the only thing that changed was the washer. I still use the same laundry products that I’ve used for years. Honestly, I can’t wait for this one to break and need a replacement. Back to the original top-load for me!

    I’ve always washed on cold settings and had no problems with cleanliness. Jim’s clothing sometimes need special treatments but that’s rare if he lets me know soon enough. With a family of 4 we always have plenty of laundry to separate colors/whites/undies/jeans but I have been guilty myself of blending loads when I needed to finish out what was left and was too small for a load by itself. The key is to remember not to load extreme delicates with jeans……

    Love reading your frugal living blog. I’m getting so much information!

    • Na Na
      October 6, 2014

      Thank you Michelle. Yeah, I know the hazards of putting delicates with jeans. It happened to me a couple of times. I wore denim blue undies for quite awhile. Hmm… Just like you, I’ve been thinking I don’t want the set I own right now. The set is only about 5 years old but I’d rather have the small stack up kind used for tiny apartments. I don’t need a large set for just me.

  3. sarasinart
    September 26, 2014

    All good ideas for being frugal! I’ve washed everything in cold water for years, and if anybody says things don’t get clean, well, yea, they do. And I use my dryer only to dry some of my terry cloth. Everything else gets hung on a rack or on hangers on a pole in my laundry room, and lots of stuff out on the clothes line in good weather. Fabric lasts longer when you don’t put it in the dryer too, win-win all around!

    • Na Na
      September 27, 2014

      Yea! Frugal minds think alike. Don’t you just love that a lot of the laundry is easily put away because it’s already on hangers? I do.

      • sarasinart
        September 27, 2014

        Yes, it all works out very well. And frugal is such a good word!

  4. Nathalie
    September 26, 2014

    I love your blog! You have so much common sense and I love it when you post something that reminds me of the way my grandmother and mother raised me back in Europe 🙂 I also love the perspective of an older person on a very limited income. A lot of bloggers are younger people who are discovering new ways of saving money, which can be inspiring as well, but they don’t have the life experience to back up their experiments and most of them don’t seem to have the wisdom passed down from older generations, unfortunately. I feel that your voice is very important in this community and I love reading your posts about “this is how we did it back then”. I read you via “Feedly”, which is an RSS aggregator.

    In my almost 30 years as a grown-up, I have NEVER separated colors from whites and have ALWAYS used cold/cold to wash my clothes. I never had a problem with clothes bleeding onto other clothes. I think clothes-bleeding is a myth, nowadays, that Proctor & Gamble loves to perpetuate so gullible customers keep on buying their products (much like the new “washing machine cleaners”!). Once upon a time I made my own laundry soap but I found that I actually like the smell from the cheap detergent that I get (on sale, with coupons, of course) so that’s a cost that I don’t regret.

    I used to have a larger family (6 kids, including some bed-wetters) so running full loads never was a problem. Now that we have fewer kids at home, we still mostly use the extra large load setting (I bought a washer with that setting on purpose since we were washing comforters quite often) because we all do our laundry once a week and we wash the towels, kitchen rags, etc with it. Sadly, we have more than enough clothes to last us more than a week. I say “sadly” because I feel that we have wayyy too many clothes. I don’t even buy all that many clothes anymore but we rarely throw anything away and with 6 kids, we had lots of hand-me downs so we all have full dressers and closets. I do go through them a couple of times a year and take bags of donations of kid clothes to our local thrift stores, but my husband and I aren’t concerned with fashion so we gladly wear our clothes year after year after year.

    I also used to dry the clothes outdoors when the kids were little but back then I worked outside the home and it was very time consuming… also, despite the amount of sun we get here in Central Florida, it’s also very humid and we get lots of rainstorms so I found myself having to always be stressed about it and I went back to use our dryer. My husband doesn’t care for his clothes to be dried outdoors. I tried putting them in the dryer for just a few minutes to fluff them up, but he still complains. So I’m picking my battles. His undies and socks still get dried on the rack, however, no matter how much complaining occurs (which isn’t quite as much as I make it sound!).

    This year, I’ve decided to air dry as many things as possible: I put a reminder above my washer to add vinegar in the softener compartment (I don’t use softener otherwise, only a Bounce bar in my dryer) so it helps a little. I have 2 racks in my laundry room and I dry the undies, kitchen rags, cloth towels, and polyester/blend clothes on the racks (Aldi’s had metal racks for $9.99 a couple of weeks ago and I got one but my older rack has much more drying surface, if only I could remember where I bought it!) and on hangers. I put comforters and sheets to dry outdoors if it’s not going to rain. Cotton clothing still goes in the dryer but I was looking at my settings the other day and realized that there is a “Moisture Sensing” setting so I have been using it. I don’t think it cuts much drying time from the method I used before, but my clothes aren’t burning hot when the cycle ends anymore, which is probably good as far as their life expectancy, and of course my laundry room doesn’t get as hot as it used to.

    I’m not sure if I’m actually saving a lot of energy/money by doing all this but I still think it’s worth it!

    Have a great weekend!

    • Na Na
      September 27, 2014

      Yes, you are saving money even if it doesn’t seem like it. And you are right, the younger generation really could learn a few things from the older generation if they would take the time to listen or read books and blogs like mine. Sadly, many don’t see the reason to live frugally. The world is full of consumption greed.

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