A Place Of Privilege — Why I Live The Frugal Life

by Katy on August 1, 2008 · 6 comments

I wrote other day about my infatuation with my backyard solar clothes dryer.

A.k.a.  — the clothesline. (I even love the stiff and scratchy towels that I refer to as loofah-style. It’s like a spa treatment every time you shower!)

Most people throughout the world hang their laundry not because of idealistic reasons, but because they have no other choice.

“Nichole3” wrote in the comments section about her history with clotheslines:

“I had no dryer a great deal of the time my children were growing up. I always had my clothsline full. If we had special plans on the weekend. I started washing Friday night and got up early Saturday mornings to have my entire clothesline filled. With four children , I always had to wash at least 2 loads a day. I have to admit it was not always fun. I use my line now mainly for sheets and blankets.”

I’m lucky. I come to the clothesline experience from a place of privilege. 

I have choices.

Raining today? I guess I’ll just use my perfectly functioning electric clothes dryer.


My mother grew up in Nebraska with six brothers and sisters. To say there was no extra money would be an understatement.

When she sees me hanging the laundry, she recounts to me the never ending job of hanging her younger sibling’s cloth diapers. In winter time they’d freeze into icy hard shingles.

It was drudgery, pure and simple.

Does all this mean I should get off my high horse and start using my electric clothes dryer?


Life is about choices.

I hang-dry my family’s laundry because it is a mindful choice I’ve made.

I enjoy the process, the money saved and the energy conservation. 

Because I do make so many small choices of frugality, I am able to work less than part-time. This occasionally pain-in-the-neck lifestyle  allow me to be at home with my kids, and even write this blog. It also keeps me from getting burned out at my job as a labor and delivery nurse.

Just because I can afford to buy new and shiny, doesn’t mean that I should.

Living a frugal life gives me the freedom to live the life I want to be living.

Are you?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne August 1, 2008 at 5:25 am

I now see air-dried towels in a whole new light! I used to think the scratchy way they dry was icky, but your loofah-style description makes it seem rather nice. I’m going to start putting my washed towels out on the drying rack. I don’t have a backyard for a line. The drying rack also humidifies my apartment in the winter.


carocoknits August 1, 2008 at 6:20 am

Bingo! A long time ago, I read somewhere “just because I can belly up to the trough, it doesn’t mean that I have to.” I wish that I knew where it came from because it has stuck in my mind for years. It helps me make the choices necessary to live the life that I want to lead. To me, being able to make the choices that you want are the basis of simple living.


diaryofarecoveredbulimic August 2, 2008 at 9:59 am

You are so right! We finally got a dryer this past year. I still prefer to hang the laundry up. I think it’s better for the clothing, and also like those rough towels, and there is something calming about doing it. But it is nice to have the dryer on rainy days, in emergencies, and to fluff up pillows, comforters, etc.
There are so many choices we can make that can help save money, spare the environment, and they really don’t hurt.
I’m glad I found your blog! – Martha


Linda August 2, 2008 at 10:59 am

I have been using a clothesline for many years. Even during the time we lived in a mobile home park for two years I found ways to hang some of my clothes out even though that meant getting a chastising call from management when I was “caught”. It’s unfortunate that in many areas hanging laundry is seen as unacceptable & even low class. Project Laundry List is working to make air-drying laundry acceptable and desirable as a simple and effective way to save energy.

Visit http://www.laundrylist.org to learn more about how simple lifestyle modifications, including air-drying one’s clothes, reduce our dependence on environmentally and culturally costly energy sources.


Cal Bolton August 3, 2008 at 2:03 pm

You need to come and see what Grandma has to say if you are interested in saving money and/or pinching pennies. 100’s of ideas on over 80 pages.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: