Being a stay at home mother, I spend many an hour doing the washing. You know how it is. With two little boys on the go and a husband, my life is surrounded by wet clothes.
And the one thing that has supported me through all this has been my trusty clothes horse, bought sometime last century from Habitat for just £12.50. I remember this detail simply because I only pulled the price label off last year. Life's just been too busy washing pants. Pants here, pants there. Indeed pants every-blimmin-where.
But with so much washing my poor clothes horse has begun to lean under the sheer weight of usage. Like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, it was developing a penchant for the right, depending on how you approached it.
And I had to approach it with care.
Except on Friday, when all in a lather to answer the doorbell, I bunged a whole pile of heavy washing on its poorly side. I returned to see it crumpled at my feet. One of the supports had snapped under the strain. I don't blame it really - when it comes to all that washing who wouldn't?
But this time last year, this Almost Average Household would have got our fingers ready on the Internet or jumped in the car to go off and buy a replacement, dumping this one at the tip on way. After all it was only £12.50 and it wouldn't cost us much more for another would it?
But look how things have changed. We've experienced such a transformation even my own mother wouldn't recognise us. Arriving home to witness the collapse of his personal laundry service, Mr A came to the rescue with a screwdriver and a piece of wood and made a splint for the broken support.
It's amazing how things change when you consider a life of Zero Waste. I know the clothes horse would have been recycled if we had taken it to the Recycling Centre. But we would have had the journey and there would also be the hidden costs in buying a new one, including the resources, energy in manufacturing and fuel used in transport.
When you think about it in those terms it highlights that Zero Waste is not just about recycling, precycling or indeed reusing. It's about much more.
For me, the Make Do and Mend philosophy has been one of the hardest changes to incorporate into our lifestyle. In a modern age where NEW is seen as king and the LATEST GADGETS make their predecessors obsolete, the temptations for an easier and more sparklier life have just been too ..... er....tempting.
But at last, I am happy that I don't need a brand spanking new clothes horse to replace the one that's collapsed. Thanks to Mr A, it's still in good shape to last for many years to come.
But sigh...a woman's work is never done.
Well it did take Mr A two days to get around to finishing the repair so my Zanussi and I have got some catching up to do! I can hear the washing machine on its final spin. I think I need to load it with more pants!
Poor old clothes horse!
As promised in the comments, here are a few links to suppliers of the old traditional wooden clothes horse: