What is my blog about? It's about Torah family living. It's about letting Torah affect our daily lives, from mealtime to bedtime, homeschooling to farm chores.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Our journey to simple living

I have always been drawn to the simple life.  My mom made our own clothes and toys, and my dad grew a big garden and hunted venison to help with food.  Now, with a home of my own and 5+ kids to care for, my heart is seeking the simpler ways again.  Part is from necessity, and part is from the desire to live as the scriptures teach. 

I am currently reading the book Living More with Less by Doris Longacre.  She wrote this book thirty years ago, from a mennonite perspective, but I am amazed at how her philosophies and ideas line up with Hebraic thinking.  We must look at our life as a whole, centered around relationships.  It is far better to work together, than spend our money on labor saving devices.  The list goes on.  So I have spent much time evaluating and trying to implement change where I feel led.  I thought I'd share a few things I have been doing.  Perhaps you will be inspired to seek the simple life, too.

The reason I bought the book in the first place was because we are trying to cut our electric bill, and use alternative energy where we really need it.  So I have been going through the house, looking at wattage on the back of all our appliances.  Shocking, really!  I am thankful that I bought some appliances that are hand operated, like my grain mill.  Yes, I turn a crank to produce about 4 cups of flour every day.  I have been unplugging things, but I can't believe I didn't look inside the dryer sooner.  It takes 5600 watts to run.  In my neck of the woods, that equals about $20 a month.  Well, I can think of some better uses for that money, like more bulk whole grains.  So, starting a week ago, I have been drying my clothes on a rack by the woodstove.  I was unsuccessful at first, but here a a few tricks I learned that you might find helpful.

  ~ I put my laundry in the washer right before dinner, and hang it on the rack by the woodstove right after dinner.
 ~ I do one load a day, which fits on my current drying setup.
 ~ I hang as much as possible on hangers on metal rods Doug rigged for me.
 ~ Diapers go at the top of the drying rack, where the heat rises.  They also get folded over the rod with one end longer.
 ~ Blankets and towels get flung over shower curtain rods.  Sheets go over doors.
 ~ Before I go to bed, I flip everything over that is hanging on the rack.
 ~ By breakfast, everything is dry and it gets sorted into small laundry baskets.  Everyone in the family has one with their name on it.  All the laundry is put away and the drying rack collapsed by breakfast.  No hanging laundry in everyone's way all day!

It would probably be fun to put 75 cents in a can every time I don't use the dryer!

We do not live with less for it's own sake.  We live with less so there is more to share with others.

Shabbat Shalom!


Sarah said...

Yes, the simpler life is desirable and we aim for that as much as we can. Well done with the drying solution, it's amazing what we can do when we think about it hey! xxx

Shleitheim Confessions said...

FYI, there's an anniversary edition of Living More with Less out now from Herald Press. Called Living More with Less: 30th Anniversary Edition, it contains some original essays but is updated with new reflections and tips for living simply. You can find it at http://store.mpn.net/productdetails.cfm?PC=1571

There's also a page about Doris Longacre Janzen on the site.

John in Winnipeg

Peterson Party said...

My brother-in-law turns his hot water heater off everyday and turns it on only when needed for things like showers and dishes, then off again. Of course they try to do all they need to when it is on the one time and then off again so it is not an all day on and off thing. Saves him about $30 a month.

Mary Q Contrarie said...

Your laundry system sounds almost identical to mine. I start laundry at supper time. First load goes on the clothes drying rack in the kitchen. The second load if it is a two load day goes in the living room.

I don't have a wood stove so it is ceiling fans in my house that helps to ensure that it is dry by breakfast.

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