The Name Our New-To-Us Washing Machine Contest

Last November I wrote a post entitled “I Want To Save The Planet, Or Do I?” about getting rid of our failing washer/gas dryer stacked combo unit and not replacing it.  My argument was that I wanted to start to break the chain of my dependence on fossil fuels, manufacturing, and resource mining (appliances are made mostly of metal, not a renewable resource).  I received more comments on that post than on any post before or since.  Based on the good advice of my readers we made a decision on how to manage our laundry, and it is not what I had originally planned to do.

My original plan, naive as it was, was to not replace our appliance with a new appliance, but instead to purchase hand washing laundry supplies.  I imagine myself scrubbing clothes in a bin, rinsing, wringing, and hanging them out to dry.  A few of my readers pointed out how ridiculous that was, considering the time each week I would spend with this new task (thank you Dave Atkinson).  When I looked into the cost of hand washing laundry supplies I was shocked – they would cost me $700, the same as a replacement washer/dryer combo unit.  And of course there is always my temperamental lower back – there is good chance my back would not tolerate the new responsibility.

One reader in particular, a good friend of ours, noted that the purchase of a high quality used Speed Queen washing machine, coupled with a good rack drying system, would save time, money, energy, laundry soap, water, dryer sheets, and effort.  After a little snooping around I had to agree this seemed like the best alternative.  As luck would have it this same friend found a used Speed Queen in Denver for $250.  A used replacement model for our stacked unit was $750, so we saved $500 dollars on the unit itself.

IMG_3297_resizeThe next step was to build a good rack drying system for drying our laundry.  We already have an outdoor laundry line, but we needed something for cold weather so our clothes would dry rather than freeze.  (Our new-to-us Speed Queen ends the cycle with our clothes dryer due to the force it spins with, making rack drying time significantly less.  Because of this drying our clothes in the house, in the winter, doesn’t take four days).

IMG_3301_resizeFor those of you that have been to our house, every square inch of space is accounted for.  This is of course why we had a stacked unit – we are just so short on space.  Enter a fabulous idea from Northwest Edible Life – The Wall Mounted Clothes Drying Rack.  The panels shown in the photos costs us roughly $35 each and we used two.  If you can, try to repurpose or reuse if possible.  When we were building our rack we could not find any of these “baby jail” panels used or free, so we did end up buying new.  Out total cost to build our new “dryer” was around $100.  Considering our initial savings of $500 on the washing machine over the replacement stacked unit, if we subtract the cost to build the dryer our new savings is $400 total for the a washing machine and “dryer.”

But wait, there’s more.  This new washing machine uses less water per load, less laundry soap per load, and of course no dryer sheets with our new rack dryer.  Right off the bat we are saving money in all of those areas.  We have always run our laundry on cold water, so there is no additional savings in our water heating bill.  But, with this new high efficiency front loading washing machine we are running larger loads, meaning we run fewer loads per month.  Fewer loads per month means even less of everything – less water, less soap, and less electricity.  And here is the real kicker – the Speed Queen (God bless her) gets our clothes the cleanest we have ever seen.

IMG_3299_resizeOne more unexpected perk to our new system is the amount of space we have gained.  Our clothes drying rack lays flat on the wall when not in use, and when in use it never touches the floor to take up space anyway.  The room above the Speed Queen is now open, and we are planning to install a cupboard above to hold laundry soap and such, items that are currently sitting on top of the Speed Queen.

The last item to speak to is the amount of time it takes to lay out our clothes to dry.  This is an added chore, but it actually adds very little time to the total time to do laundry.  Because our clothes are sorted and in some cases on hangers to dry, putting our clothes away is actually faster than it used to be.  Total time gained is about five minutes per load, and that’s not too bad.

For those of you looking for ways to shave back your fossil fuel use, save some money, get your clothes the cleanest you have ever seen them, and free up some room in your house, I highly recommend this approach.  It has been a full month since we brought home our new washing machine and built our drying rack, and we will never go back to a conventional dryer.

We could not be happier with our new Speed Queen washing machine, and as such we think she needs a name.  If you have a submission to the “Name Our New Washing Machine Contest” please leave it in the comments section below this post.   Sorry, but Betty, Bertha, and Fran have already been disqualified.

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23 Responses to The Name Our New-To-Us Washing Machine Contest

  1. Jennifer March 17, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    We’ve recently built our own drying rack based on the NW Edible model as well and haven’t really noticed an increase in workload for the chore of laundry, either. :) We have found drying bed sheets this way a bit more… troublesome. Do you have any tips?

    As for naming suggestions, how about Shiva? As in the Hindu god of rebirth (also death and birth). Not only is your new drying rack the death of an outdated method, but the ‘birth’ of your ability to do something else with the money you previously spent on drying, AND it’s the rebirth of a drying technique that most of the world still uses.

    • Christine March 17, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

      Actually, we just dried some bed sheets this weekend. We also have a laundry line under cover on our back porch – we used that for drying the sheets.

      As for the name Shiva, I love it! We’ll wait to see what other submissions rattle in, but I think your contribution is a contender. Thanks!

      • Jennifer March 18, 2013 at 10:47 am #

        Ah. We don’t have an outside line and we haven’t decided if we need one. Theoretically we can dry indoors year round…. can you think of a reason we’d want to put in an outside line? I’m thinking it’d have to be one of those on a center pole and then four sides of lines around it.

        • Christine March 18, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

          We started with an outside line so we just kept them – they are handy for the bigger items. My quilt is too heavy for even the outside line though, so I dry it over the fence. I think an outside line is great in the summer – it really speeds up drying time. The center pole with four sides of line work great and they are compact. That sound like a good idea.

  2. Sue D March 20, 2013 at 7:04 am #

    I think Queen should be in the name like Queen Speedy or Queen Ivy.

    • Christine March 20, 2013 at 7:47 am #

      Oh – that’s good Sue! Retain her roots by keeping Queen in the name. Something to consider…

  3. pak March 20, 2013 at 9:31 am #

    The Green Queen?
    So did you build the panels, and if so – do you have any diy instructions? I love them!

  4. Susan Jonell Roragen March 20, 2013 at 10:37 am #

    I thought Queen should be retained, also. But as the top appliance among workers, maybe Queen Bee! Or, as the hard-working aunt in the Andy Griffith show, Queen Bea. ;-)

    Found your blog at the Prairie Homestead, and have subscribed. :)

    • Christine March 20, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

      Oh my gosh – such a great name! Queen Bea is fantastic (I am such a sucker for the Andy Griffith Show). Glad you are enjoying the blog, and thanks for signing up. I so appreciate all the support and encouragement. :)

    • Christine March 25, 2013 at 7:44 am #

      Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner! After deliberations with Ben, we decided that new washing machine shall from this point forward forever be known as “Queen Bea.” Thanks to everyone for all of the great submissions- there were some really fun names to choose from. :)

  5. Anna March 21, 2013 at 11:04 pm #

    I love this website and what you have done with it. I am intrigued with your new laundry system and all the feedback from people is great. Keep up the good work!

    • Christine March 22, 2013 at 7:29 am #

      Thanks! Maybe we should get one of these flat wall racks installed for you as well. They save you money on your utilities! I bet Eric could put one up in no time at all. :)

  6. Bea April 9, 2013 at 9:02 am #

    I love this! I’ve been hang drying for years and live it. Some added benefits of hang drying is that it extends the life of your clothes. Clothes stay in prestine condition, no color fading and fabric stays strong. Also, no shrinkage. We actually have a retractable clothes line mounted in the wall in the laundry room. I have one outside too and really can’t wait till its warm enough. I love the smell of nature dried clothes!

  7. Connie Johnson April 9, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    How about Oprah Spinfrey?

    • Christine April 9, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

      LOL! You crack me up Connie. :)

    • Nichole April 9, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

      I love that one!!!!!

  8. Katherine April 30, 2013 at 9:36 am #

    This is amazing! I have just done up my kitchen and utility room so have brought a new washing machine as it was very old and was starting to play up! As they do! But I love the idea of your dryer rack you have built, i am going to get my husband on the job!

    • Christine April 30, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

      Hey there Katherine! Glad you like the rack – I can’t take credit for it though. Erica over at NW Edible Life came up with that idea and I love it as well. Get your hubby going on this – you won’t regret it. :)

  9. Kelly October 1, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    Speed Queens are the best washers ever, but I think its funny you got one because they’re made the old way which means they are not energy efficient at all.

    • Christine October 1, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

      All I can say is everything is a trade off. The Speed Queen gets our clothes wrung nearly dry, and we don’t have a dryer anymore. I would say on balance we are using less energy. :)

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