Tiny Tricia

My journey to a tinier me.

Filtering by Tag: clothing

Practicing Tiny: Laundry

I've been living without an in-unit washer and dryer for a year now and it hasn't been a big deal—I just haul my laundry 3-floors down to the basement and pay about $2 a load to wash and dry. It's annoying, but by no means a lifestyle deal-breaker.

As a result, I don't see the need to include a washer/dryer in my tiny house—it's just too much space, energy, water, and expense wasted to justify the convenience. 

I plan to take my clothes to a laundromat—or, because I live in the Bay Area where anything can be delivered, use a service like Washio. Since the first of these options is inconvenient and the second is expensive (and possibly one of the many businesses that won't survive the impending bubble burst), I wanted to see if I had other options.

Enter the Breathing Mobile Washer.

It's a really simple concept—manual agitation of small loads of laundry. There are other models out there for this kind of old school laundry (barrels you turn by hand or washboards for the really homested-y types), but they took up more storage space than I'm willing to give.

So I bought this simple plunger-like device and a rod that doubles as a great way to stretch my shoulder muscles. Did it work? Here's what happened:

Pros

  • Fast: The whole washing process took less than 15 minutes.
  • Cheap: I don't pay for water in my building and I didn't have to pay the coin-operated washing machine. The item itself only cost me $16.51 plus the rod and the bucket (maybe $10 together?).
  • Reliable: This works without regard to power—no drain on my energy source!
  • Private: I can do this in the privacy of my own home—no traveling, no waiting for a machine, no one watching me literally deal with my dirty laundry in public.

Cons

  • Physical: This isn't a task I'd want to do if I was sick or getting on in years.
  • Drying: This doesn't solve my need to dry things, and since there's no spin cycle, you need to wring things out by hand and let drip dry (or have an alternative). It's the next day and my dresses are still drying.
  • Small loads: I put in 3 dresses and it doesn't seem like I'd want to put in much more than that.
  • Water use: Although I only used about 6 gallons of water to wash and rinse my clothes, that's still water I'd have to have on site (as opposed to using the laundromat's). How I source my water for a tiny house may or may not make this a big deal. But hey, that's still way less than the 14-27 gallons of water the front-loading, high-efficiency washing machine uses!

And last but not least—are the clothes clean? I mean, I think so? I didn't have anything with serious stains and the water wasn't clear when I poured it out (not sure if that was due to dirt, color leakage or both). My clothes smell clean, and that's what I care about.

I think I'll keep using this tool for small items like underwear, socks, bras, and things that require hand-washing, but I won't be switching to it for all my laundry needs any time soon. It's an easy alternative to have around when you really need it, but I can't see it being my first choice in laundering. 


Practicing Tiny is my series of experiments with tiny living—it's my "try before you buy" way of testing out what my needs are before committing to a build. It's fun.

Dealing with 116 Hangers

This weekend, I emptied all my clothes out of my closet and drawers. By no means am I a fashionista, but I did have 116 hangers on just 44 inches of closet rod space and a dresser full of folded stuff.

Everything included (tops, shoes, costumes, underthings), I was stunned to find I owned 320 items.

Despite that volume, the experience of sorting things with the KonMari method wasn't as overwhelming as I'd expected. Taking things out of the closet and off hangers let me evaluate what items really "sparked joy" for me and which didn't (and I was pretty surprised in some cases).

Here's what I learned from the process.

Giving Yourself Permission to Pitch

When I got all my things out of the closet and thanked them collectively for their service to my body, I gave myself permission to get rid of anything for any reason—brought up a bad memory, didn't fit, looked worn, I'd owned it too long, just didn't like it that much, anything.

That last reason required the "permission" step the most because I grew up using things until they were beyond repair and consider myself a "use it up, wear it out" kind of adult. 

It was like I'd been waiting for someone to say that was okay to get rid of things I didn't actually like—I instantly grabbed pieces I didn't really like that much to pitch them. 

Practical But Unliked Items

I had a lot of tops I was keeping because I knew they fit fine, but I didn't get excited about wearing them. 

A lot of these came from my mom years ago, and I didn't look terrible in them but I also didn't look great. It was time to purge luke-warm outfits.

Knowing My Palate

You know that feeling you get when you catch yourself eyeing something in a store that you realize you basically already own? I've decided to lean into that. 

For example, I know I like jewel tones and that reds emphasize my skin's red undertones—so I pruned my wardrobe of red pieces I knew didn't flatter me. Picking a consistent color palate also makes it much easier to mix and match.

Comfortable Fit

Some of my clothes I knew I'd been avoiding for fear that they would fit too tight—and now I decided that they don't get to stay if they don't fit comfortably now. 

Having pieces like that in my wardrobe, I realized, just makes me feel exasperated when I go to pick out an outfit. Besides, if/when I lose a few inches, I'll get the pleasure of buying something lovely and new.

Trying Things On

For the most part, things I tried on ended up being pitched because they didn't fit comfortably. 

I'd definitely recommend trying on tights/hose for this reason—besides a comfortable waist fit, tights are hard to properly evaluate when not stretched. Putting them on lets you spot holes, snags, pilliness, or just plain this-color-looks-weird-with-my-skin in a pair you might otherwise have kept.

Liked But Worn Out

Some pieces I'd just loved past their prime, but I didn't necessarily know it because I pick out clothes in a pretty dark closet. 

I evaluated each piece in the harsh light of day and actively looked for holes, snags, and pilling. Pieces that I loved I made a mental note to replace, but I wasn't going to hold on to them until I had a replacement—or they would never leave.

"Memory Clothing"

I had plenty of T-shirts to remind me of projects or groups I was a part of and too many gift scarves—it was time to accept that a T-shirt from my friend shouldn't be my key reminder of her.

I thanked these things for the thoughtfulness of the gift, and let go of what I wasn't regularly wearing.

The Remaining Wardrobe

So what was left? I made a pie chart because why not?

In total, I got rid of total of 111 pieces and just 52 hangers remained, including:

  • 9 dresses
  • 3 suit jackets
  • 4 pencil skirts
  • 3 coats and 2 hoodies
  • 13 tops and 7 cardigans/shrugs
  • 2 pairs of trousers
  • 1 renaissance faire costume

In addition to my hanger items, I had plenty in my drawers; here's what made it through the purge:

  • 24 pairs of underwear (90% of which is brand new)
  • 7 pairs of jeans and 1 pair of shorts
  • 2 swimsuits (1 bikini, 1 single piece)
  • 2 belts
  • 9 tank tops and 5 pairs of leggings (used for layering, yoga, and PJs)
  • 2 pairs of hiking pants, 1 pair of horseback riding pants, 1 pair of long underwear
  • 2 pairs of sweatpants and 2 pairs of PJ pants
  • 3 pairs of bike shorts to make wearing dresses and having thighs work
  • 13 T-shirts
  • 4 pairs tights, 32 pairs socks
  • 22 pairs of shoes (includes slippers, work/hiking shoes)

Altogether, I kept a total of 212 items or roughly 2/3 of what I started with (that doesn't account for the pieces I'd been gradually picking out of my wardrobe over time, which might get me closer to half). 

Now I can actually move hangers on the rod and I'm not stuffing things into drawers. Can't wait to see what it feels like to get dressed for the next few weeks!