10 04 2008

or the electricity stops running…something to think about….

What To Do With Your Appliances When You Get Over Them

Sharon Astyk April 8th, 2008

“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to leave alone.” – Henry David Thoreau

My kitchen is old fashioned. I’m not talking about the wooden cabinets, the open shelving of grains and stored foods, the home canned jams, or the lack of a refrigerator in my main cooking space. I’m talking about the electric stove and the fridge itself. That is, these appliances are archaic residues of a life in which energy was cheap and abundant and our whole lifestyle was created around that abundance. These energy sucking appliances may have a place in our future or they may not, but they are fundamentally a product of a day when energy sucking appliances with 5-10 year lifespans could be made, replaced and disposed of. Those days are as over as the days of the Crimean War, and my kitchen has a growingly retro look to me – I bet yours does too.


Fortunately, my side job as the Design Consultant at the fine magazine _Better Homesteads and Rat Holes_ gives me every qualification to offer suggestions for how to make use of those old appliances, now that you’ve shaken off the past and moved on to the low-energy future. So here are some suggestions for post-electric uses for common appliances.

Dryer: We actually bought one of these about 5 years ago, because my husband’s grandmother insisted. And it was used, mostly by her, until her death, and once in a great while by me until we started Rioting. Now it is sitting in my laundry room, waiting to be pulled out and put in the garage as permanent storage for apples or potatoes (pulling it out involves removing the washer and some other stuff, and I’m a slug). With a small piece of wire over the dryer vent, it will be rodent proof, provide a nice surface to set things on, and a measure of insulation on the coldest nights. Other possible uses: manual compost tumbler (would require a bit of adaptation, but I bet there are some handy folks out there with ideas).


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