I have a dilemma in my obsessive quest towards simple living.
Sewing Machine vs. Needle & Thread
Vacuum Cleaner vs. Elegant Broom
Typewriter vs. Pen or Pencil
Dishwasher vs. Dishpan
I'd prefer to have a handmade broom with grass bristles than a vacuum. The broom could hang shaker style from a pegboard on a wall.
We broke down and got a vacuum cleaner last year when we were batting bed bugs. In retrospect, I don't think it did much for us in that battle. The exterminators did. But...we have the vacuum now, and I do love how it sucks up cat hair from around chair legs and behind the couch. I'll admit to really preferring vacuuming to sweeping, although it alarms the cats. I'm not sure if it's faster but it's more thorough.
The sewing machine. After moving so many times I'm exasperated with moving all these heavy things. I use it once a month or less. Right now I'm meaning to hem some jeans and alter some used shirts that are a little too big for my husband. The last thing I can remember sewing were curtains that are now in use even though I never finished them. Frayed edges are fine!
The bobbin winder no longer will wind, so I load a bobbin by hand now, the slow way. I just think of how minimal a needle & thread is and there is a part of me that thinks it wouldn't be so bad to sew things up by hand.
I've designed a shirt in my head and would like to create it, but I think I could sew it by hand. I read some tips about how to make hand-sewn seams stronger by backstitching every 5 stitches or so.
Same with the typewriter. Sure, it's an antique east german typewriter that I picked up for a few dollars at a rummage sale. But it needs a new ribbon which I have yet to order, and I've used the typewriter maybe 5 times total in the 2 years I've had it. It's heavy. I love the idea of owning a non-electric typewriter. But I can just use a pen or pencil, right?
We don't own a washing machine. Last year when we were renting a house, we contemplating buying one. Fortunately we stuck with the habit of taking everything to the laundromat once a month. As annoying as it was (and still is), I don't know many people who get their entire month's laundry done in 2 hours per month.
When the house flooded, we would have really had to struggle to save a washing machine. We have learned that having less helped us adapt to changing circumstances.
In a short film we saw recently, a woman washes her clothes by hand and hangs them on a clothes line. Then she takes a break to push her daughter on a swing. I'm wondering if I have hand washing in my future. I know it takes less of a toll on clothing. Just a set of large basins hanging on the wall. A washstand out doors.
I know I can do this if I don't have a real job. Then I'll have the time to wash things by hand (right?). Or does this all go out the window once you have kids?
I can dream. I trade in the sewing machine, the typewriter, the vacuum cleaner. In my tiny handmade wooden cottage, a needle in a pincushion adorns a shelf. Pens and pencils sit in a cup next to a pencil sharpener. A broom hangs on the wall next to the basins.