There are certain things that there is no pleasure in owning. things like dryers, ironing boards and dishwashers. I like having them, I would miss them if they were taken away, but they do not usually bring me joy. I don’t really even like using them. Until recently I would have insisted that washing machines belong in this category as well. A category of utilitarian, mundane, unexciting, and tediously necessary possessions.
I hate to buy things that belong in this category. Its dull to shop for stuff you know you won’t enjoy. So I tend to keep these kinds of items for a long time. With our old washing machine I think I might have overdone it. It belonged to my husband before we were married, and he had it a good few years before that, so it was more than 18 years old. Bits were starting to fall off it, it had dial with no known purpose (or none that we can remember), and there was a hole where the bleach compartment used to be. It gave us years and years of faithful service, but this summer it spun it’s last inadequate spin, spat out a sock we hadn’t seen in a while, and died a watery, sodden death.
“X@x!” Off we went to Sears for a new one. We traipsed around the aisles looking for the washing machines, prepared to be thoroughly bored by a range of unexciting choices. Instead, among the expected array of ungainly white cubes, we found a vision in red and chrome that has transformed our relationship with laundry. I kid you not–I have found a household gadget that I enjoy owning! The washing machine has moved with a quantum leap from the irredeemable depths of the “annoying but necessary list” and landed squarely on the list of things that I like using.
Did I mention that it is beautiful? It has “hot” and “cold” settings that actually change the temperature of the water, it makes no noise while it runs (especially not the “out of balance and threatening to crash through the walls” kind of noises our old machine made regularly). No more panicked runs up the stairs to adjust the load. It can be programmed without a Mensa membership, and even without reading the instructions. And best of all, when it spins things, they don’t come out wet. With this machine preparing the input, my dryer actually works (I thought it was broken as well).
Today, as I sit and watch my laundry tumble around in the awesomely large barrel (there’s nothing much on TV), I am ashamed that I kept my old machine for so long. I was trapped in the washing machine dark ages, surrounded by semi-dry laundry-in-process and piles of dirty laundry waiting in the queue. This new machine, with it’s awesome efficiency and actual ability to spin, has worked a kind of minor miracle in our house. Compare the size of my old and new laundry piles. We are keeping up! And (you might need to sit down for this one) others in my household besides me have begun doing laundry!
Bottom line–if you have an ancient washer and are struggling to keep up–have a look at the new machines. I wish I had changed mine earlier. The only downside–the old dryer looks kind of bad sitting next to it.