Though I’m not really Amish, I do pick and choose from their way of life from time to time and try to incorporate some of those, what I consider simplistic and hard-working, values in my day to day life. OK, maybe I fall short (really short) of this ideal much of the time but it is still something that keeps me inspired and gives me something to aim at (much of the struggle of being home with young kids comes from no pre-fabricated structure and having to sort of invent your own context. The rest of the struggle comes from how like psychiatric health patients small children are (I could write a book on this)). So, you pick your ideals and I’ll pick mine.
That’s at least part of the reason I don’t have a dryer. The other part is much more feelings-based. When I was in my twenties, I spent a few summers in various circumstances that one might choose to call “rustic” and while in these places, it was often the norm (along with peeing on the ground, cooking over propane burners, and not showering) to line dry our clothes. I became somewhat enamored of the look of clothing flapping in the breeze on a line, the smell of sun-crisped garments and the meditative quality of the task of hanging and then taking down the clothes. I simply love it.
In my normal adult life, modern conveniences abound and, though I enjoyed my time roughing it as a way of life and often find myself daydreaming about ways to get back to simplistic living, it’s hard to resist the magnetic pull of modernity. That’s why I took the opportunity when moving into our new house to not buy a dryer (which had the added bonus of saving us money. Cha-ching!) I just didn’t buy one. So, for seven or so months now I’ve been line-drying our clothes. First outside in the yard in the summer, and now in our basement (which is less than ideal as our basement has a very musty-moldy odor that infuses all of our wardrobes. Meh).
I have to say: though there are times, especially with little kids, when the ability to dry things in less time than at least a day and a half would be beneficial, mostly, I don’t miss my dryer one iota. Not only do I not miss it, I look forward to hanging the wash as a rare moment of peace and contemplation in days that can be so messy, loud and dare I say “un-peaceful”? I simply love the feel and smell of wet, clean clothes, the old-fashioned look of a line bursting at the seams with clothing, the quietness and simplicity of the task.
You can say what you like about the Amish, and you can scoff at my simple-minded nostalgia for a bygone era, but hang-drying clothes is where the Amish, in my opinion, got it right.
Tune in for more city Amish lifestyle changes hopefully coming soon.