In a homeschooling house full of 7 kids & 3 guniea pigs....there is never a dull moment! A lot of people show genuine concern for us and want to know how we are doing, as the road we've left behind was not a pleasant one. So, here I am, to tell some of our stories...share some of our days...and open up a part of our world to you! Come join us on our journey so you won't miss the moments that take our breath away!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Flooded basement leads to love of hand washing clothes!

Recently, my washer started leaking.  I'm not sure if "leaking" is the right word!  Actually, it drained out on my basement floor.  All 40-50 gallons!  My basement flooded!  You can't even imagine the size of Mt. Laundry down there.  Who wouldn't love a laundry room in the basement, out of site...out of mind.  Right!?  I swear, a week without doing laundry around here and my kids could be rock climbing right in the basement on Mt. Laundry!  So, back to my flooded basement...let's just say, I had lots of wet clothes.  So, even though I knew my basement was flooding, I couldn't leave all of those we clothes on the floor.  I kept on washing and we stood by with the wet n' dry vac to suck up all the water we could as it drained out.  This didn't seem like the best idea, but it was really my only option and after all, the water would go down into the main drain, so it was only a temporary mess and most of my laundry was piled upstairs in the hallway and bathroom, so the wet pile wasn't never ending or anything.

So, I washed and we sucked up water (about 30 gallons per load)...and I washed and we sucked up 30 more gallons....etc.  This went on for about 3 or 4 loads.  I could not believe how much water went into washing just one load of clothes!  Falcon took apart my washer to try and figure out this "leak".  Unable to finish the project (it was about 10pm) we called it a night.  The next morning I went down to find the water had returned.  Hmm...weird.  We had sucked up most all of the water the night before.  But, there were still a few piles of wet things that could wait, so I figured that the wet piles were just keeping the floor wet.  That night, Falcon put the wet stuff into plastic tubs and we sucked up the water again.  The next morning...the floor was flooding again.  Geesh...really!???  So...I suck up the mysterious water again.  Later, after I did the dishes, I went down to check the basement floor only to find it flooded AGAIN!  Ahhhh Haaaa!!!!  The main drain!!!!  So, I monitored for the rest of the day and finally figured out that it was indeed the main drain. 

Unfortunately, we aren't new to this rodeo, as this has happened here before.  About 1 1/2 years ago, the main drain was backed up and we went a week with no plumbing.  Our running water is fine, but nothing can be drained.  So, having gone through this before I made a few alterations to our house.  Plastic bins went into all of the sinks (this way we could still use the water, but the waste had to be dumped outside).  This way, we could still brush our teeth and wash up at the bathroom sink and we could still cook and do dishes in the kitchen.  We also bought a camping potty (eww, gross) but the last time, every time someone had to go to the bathroom I had to trek all 6 kids off to a local restraunt or gas station and well, there is no way I'm doing that in December and besides it was miserable even in July.  

Now, after a few days our drain was fixed.  As it ended up, when our washer flooded the basement, the water washed things down into the main drain (ziplock bags, lint, etc).  In the meantime, I had decided to handwash our clothes.  My laundry was so piled up and I was really in need of doing laundry, so now without a washer for lord knows how long...I really had no choice but to hand wash a few needed items.

Oddly, the kids and I found hand washing the clothes to be quite fun.  What a sense of accomplishment it was!  When I was washing one of Macaw's sleepers, I noticed a spaghetti stain on the sleeve.  I scrubbed it right out.  Now, in the washer this would have been a permanant stain because I do not use stain remover, I just throw and go!  I am not going to scrub something by hand only to throw it in the washer and have it washed again.  Due to this habit, my kids have very stained clothes!  This time though, I was able to catch a stain and watch it disappear!  As I washed the clothes the water got very dirty.  When I rinsed the clothes, the water was clean.  I was amazed that my little hand washing idea was actually getting our clothes so clean.  Our dryer works fine, so we still had the luxury of using that...but wringing the clothes before putting them into the dryer was quite a chore!  When the clothes came out of the dryer they smelled so fresh and clean!  When Hawk saw them, he said "Wow, they look alot cleaner washing them that way"!  Huh...a 12 year old noticing that our clothes are actually cleaner!  Ok, so I saw how much cleaner they got and I could smell how clean they were AND my 12 year old son says they look cleaner too and guess what...they were all immediately put away!  SOLD!!!  At that moment, I was completely sold on the idea of hand washing.  I began to dream of washtubs and wringers!

My friends call me CRAZY.  Why in the world would a woman with 6 kids want to hand wash the family's clothes!  Call me out of my mind, but I have fallen in love with it!  No new washing machine will come here...but I will be ordering my hand wringer this week.  Cleaner clothes and saving on my water and electric bill...could it get any better?

I've done a lot of research and I don't doubt my decision at all.  I've been hand washing for about 5 days now and even without a wringer I'm doing a pretty good job!  Call me crazy...but I'm convinced my new system will be very successful and I'm so excited!  I am downsizing the amount of clothes we have around here, I'll talk about that in my next post :)  and I did go to the laundrymat today so that I'm not overwhelmed with that Mt. Laundry.  I've got a handwashed load of towels in the dryer and whites are hanging to dry.  Things will go much more efficiently once I get my new hand wringer


  1. A blessing in disguise, perhaps? I guess hand washing can be a fun activity. I commend you on your can-do attitude. It's really frustrating to have a flooded basement, and on top of that, you had a dilemma of wet clothes. Kudos to you for that, and I hope that the flooding problem has been solved.

    -Annalise Johnnie

  2. I guess we should thank that leak for flooding your basement and making you realize the fun of hand washing. Well, your friends can call you crazy, but I say if that’s what makes you feel good, then go for it. It doesn’t do them any harm, and in fact, like you said, it helps lower your electric bills. Not to mention, it’s a good form of exercise.

    Veronica Newton @

  3. Wow, good for you for rediscovering hand washing. Although I do have to say that experience must have been a nightmare. Imagine the repetitive flooding! For sure it must have affected the basement quite bad. I hope you got some sun into that basement as the damp environment would be the typical environment for mold to develop and we certainly don’t want that.

    Barry Chavez