What would we do without a Washer?

So our clothes Washing Machine broke a few days ago and it has yet to be fixed. I’m starting to get nervous without it, especially as kids seem to be really really messy and we are in the midst of potty training Spencer who still has “accidents” every few days. The laundry is beginning to pile up fast!

I always believed that getting rid of all those “useful” household appliances would un-clutter and free us from consumerism. Who needs a dishwasher, microwave, washer and dryer, toaster, blender, food processor, fridge/freezer, or my wife’s favourite, a Kitchen-aid mixer, or the million other single-purpose gadgets we seem to have that are supposed to make our lives easier anyway?

When I was a bachelor, I only had two of each plates, bowls and cutlery. One for me and one for a guest and I washed them by hand after every meal. I used a knife instead of a peeler, a swiss army knife to open a cork, a fork instead of a whisk and so on. So I’m pretty confident that I can deal without most of the kitchen gadgets (though I’m sure I’ll have to compromise on some items with Shelley). But I’m beginning to suspect that it might not be as easy to get rid of the other appliances as I initially thought. We already know we will have a propane range/oven and most likely some sort of refrigeration system, so no living without there. But the biggy still in my mind is the washer. This is an item that I’ve never been without my entire life (which is crazy to think about). It’s those unsuspecting things that you are so accustomed to and don’t give a moment’s thought that give me the greatest pause when I eventually run into the reality of having to live without them.

I’ve previously researched the subject of doing laundry on the boat. There are sailors who use products out there like the Wonder Wash which is attractively priced and reputed to work alright but it’s bulky to carry around, only does small loads and I’ve heard some parts are flimsy and need to be reinforced otherwise they will end up breaking. Others use a plunger and a bucket. In either case, an old fashioned clothes ringer is used to get most of the water out and then the clothes are hung up around the boat to sun dry.

Alternatively, I’ve also heard some people sail naked which pretty much eliminates the laundry conundrum altogether! But I don’t think that’s for us. But we will hopefully be wearing less bulky clothes, such as shorts and swimsuits, for the majority of the time so that should cut down on the laundry.

I’ve never tried washing clothes this way but it sounds like a lot of unpleasant monotonous work in my mind and I’m thinking a washer is one item that is going to be tough to live without. Although I find it unpleasant, maybe another of our crew may enjoy it, after all I usually don’t mind being elbow deep in grease working on the mechanical systems. To each his or her own.

Hopefully, our kids will be old enough to do the laundry. It’s not child labour if they’re your own kids right?

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