There are two appliances that I’ve been eyeing up this past year wondering if they were worth the space they took up in my house. I remarked about it a few times to my husband that I wasn’t sure I used these 2 appliances enough to justify having them, but it wasn’t until they both quit working that I had the opportunity to find out if I truly needed them.
The first was my dryer. Nestled next to my washer in my laundry/mud room, I rarely used this machine. I hang out my wash spring, summer, and fall. In the winter, I hang it by our woodstove in the basement. There are a few cloudy, rainy days in the spring, summer, and fall where I would toss my laundry in the dryer, but the majority of its life it sat in silence while my washer churned away washing load after load. When it stopped producing heat, we tried one simple fix that worked for a few more loads. When it stopped producing heat again, I told my husband I wanted to try life without it. So, off it went and we quickly filled the space with a new whelping pen for our miniature schnauzers.
It has been gone now for about half a year. Do I miss it? No. Not much. Since I do wash every day except Sunday, there are days when it would be more convenient to toss my laundry in the dryer. However, on those few days, I hang it in my basement. It doesn’t smell very fresh or dry very quickly in the basement, but it works, and the sun comes back eventually. Overall, I find I like the extra space in my laundry room more than I like the convenience of drying it quickly.
The second appliance that didn’t make the cut at Russell Homestead was a microwave. My kitchen does not offer a lot of counter space, especially in light of all the from-scratch cooking and canning that I enjoy. Because of the limited counter space, I’m always looking for something to move off my counter. The microwave we had was a large, old model. The day it turned on when I OPENED the door was the day I said “no more microwave!”
We tossed it unsure of how I was going to heat leftovers, melt butter, and do the many other small tasks I used it for daily. As I looked at the large empty spot on my counter, I decided we could make this work! And work it has. The only time I really miss it is when I have leftovers to heat up. Instead of a microwave, I heat them in a frying pan on the stove or in my toaster oven. These two methods take a bit longer than a microwave, but they provide a full heating through as opposed to microwave’s sometimes spotty heating. I also miss it for melting butter, but really it doesn’t take much longer on the stove. I simply have to make sure it doesn’t brown. All in all, I’m enjoying my counter space way more than the convenience of microwave. (Although isn’t it funny how other things creep into empty spots on the kitchen counter?)
Will I ever have a dryer or microwave again? Perhaps, but right now I’m quite content without them in my little (by American standards) house. Before you think of me as complete do-with-what-she-has-queen or hard-core-off-the-gridder (which I’m definitely not), let me insert here that my dishwasher stopped working a few weeks ago. While I cheerfully did without it for a few weeks until my dear Mr. Fix-It husband had time to repair it, let me emphasize that THAT ONE is staying. I’m not opposed to modern conveniences, but sometimes we need to evaluate if they are truly convenient for us. Is there a better way than the way it has always been done? In my case, my dryer and microwave weren’t worth the real estate they were taking up. Maybe someday I’ll change my mind, but right now I’ll strive for contentment with what I have.
Though we call ourselves “Russell Homestead,” we are far from the original homesteaders in our country who truly made-do with what they had because they had no other choice. We have choices, and I want to capture just a piece of that homesteading spirit by making do with what I have and living a balanced life.
I would be curious to hear if any of my readers have an appliance or modern convenience they have chosen to do without & why.
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Vanessa from Russell Homestead. Follower of the Lord Jesus, wife of my knight in shining armor, mother of 5 wonderful children, and joint-keeper of the Russell homestead. Thanks for stopping by!
Independent Field Representative