Green World Tip Number 2 - Bring Back the
For the past four and a half years I've been living in New Zealand where electricity is outrageously expensive
and almost no one uses a clothes dryer. I made my husband buy one when we moved here because we have
three kids and I just didn't know how I would manage without one. The only one we could find was a teeny tiny
little dryer that I actually carried out of the store!!! My dryer in the States had to be moved with a dolly! Since it
only ever dries like 5 things at a time it is totally useless unless I'm drying something that I need in an
emergency--but then I see the result of that emergency when I get my power bill.
Anyway, the normal practice of drying clothes here is by hanging them on a clothes line. I can honestly say that
never having done this in my life and having three kids and a husband who worked in a vineyard at the time, I
about lost my mind trying to keep up with it! Then there were the rainy days where I couldn't hang out anything
and was forced to use my stupid ass useless dryer which I would run 24 hours a day causing my power bill to
be almost in the four digits!! I'm not kidding!
Since I couldn't justify the power bill to having dry clothes they just didn't get washed or dried and we had to
wear our undies inside out and stuff like that--just kidding, but it was bad.
Then, at about the two year mark I realized that I was being a big baby and I mustered up the courage to look
like an idiot and asked my mother-in-law what people in New Zealand did when it was too wet to hang out their
clothes. She laughed and said, you hang them inside. Yes, I felt like an idiot but then I realized how silly I'd
been for not thinking of that myself.
People generally have an indoor clothes rack or line. It's either suspended from the ceiling and can be pulled
up when not in use or they use their porches and verandas to hang clothes when it's wet. We now use a
collapsible rack. The point I'm trying to get to here is that due to our monstrous energy consumption, our world
is fading fast; everyone knows how close we are to the breaking point and so I'm just offering a suggestion to
be part of the solution. I know it is hard in this day and age, with kids and busy lives to not do the most
convenient thing, but I actually ENJOY hanging our family's clothes now--it gets me outside, I am forced to
pause; then I see all the other clothes lines in my street and some of the people out hanging their clothes too
and I feel like I'm a part of something. The kids help out and hang sometimes, my husband does it if he has
time...it's just what we do.
In America, there is a stigma attached to clotheslines; they sometimes invoke images of poverty or "trailer
trash"; but here in New Zealand there is a stigma attached to people who use their clothes dryers rather than
hanging them outside if it is a nice day; they are considered wasteful and inconsiderate! So, what do you say
America? Let's bring back the clotheslines!!!! Who cares what your neighbors think, if they say anything mean
to you, say, "I'm hanging my clothes outside to save the world, what are you doing about it??"
Last but not least, when you hang your clothes outside they last longer, they smell like sunshine, the bills are
lower and the world is cleaner!
Stay tuned for more Green Earth tips. Changing the world is just a matter of changing our minds about it!
Shauna Ratapu is a regular mediator and independent representative for The One Group: Certified Organic
Nourishment for the Skin, Hair and Body.