For decades (longer?) women generally did their housework according to the order of a particular poem:
For several years I've actually followed a modified version of this. The reason? The order was based on common sense that still works for today! I don't think that I have much "wisdom" to share about this, but I think it could be somewhat interesting to share together about how we go about the necessary work to take care of a home. This is my interpretation of the poem.
At the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, there is a house that was moved from Massachusetts to the museum. It tells the story of five families who lived in that house over a span of 200 years. (Click HERE to see more details.) The Lynch family, Irish immigrants, lived there in the late 1800s and took in washing. They did all the washing . . . by hand. Here are the steps for washing whites:
- Step 1: Soak overnight.
- Step 2: Scrub in hot lye suds.
- Step 3: Boil white linens and cottons.
- Step 4: Rinse.
- Step 5: Rinse again with bluing powder.
- Step 6: Dip in starch and hang to dry.
Oy! Now, as a modern woman, I am about to share with you the steps I take to wash whites. I'll wait while you go and get a pencil and paper.
- Step 1: Start washing machine, using hot water.
- Step 2: Add detergent to water. Mine is homemade, y'all!
- Step 3: Spot treat anything suspicious.
- Step 4: Put clothes in washer.
- Step 5: Wander off until washer is finished.
- Step 6: Take out of washer and either put in dryer or hang to dry.
Did you see that? I have six steps, too! Maybe things haven't progressed as much as I thought . . .
Notice that I gave two options for Step 6. I have a clothes dryer. It runs on a combination of electricity and propane. I do use it, but try my best not to for a couple of reasons: It saves money and I LIKE to hang clothes on a clothesline! I call it "laundry euphoria." I've talked about it before HERE.
When I think of laundry billowing on a line, this image comes to mind:
That is not my clothes line and not my clothes. This is what I actually have. (Since it's winter, I couldn't take a picture of my actual line, so this is someone else's yard, and clothesline, and fence, and clothes.) Though it has been known to go airborne when filled with sheets on a gusty day, I must say that I like it's compactness.
What about winter, you say? (I could hear you as you laid your pencil down to get a sip of your coffee.) I really wanted to take advantage of the fact that we have a basement and that we NEED more moisture in the air in the winter. My husband rigged me up a way to use my rotary dryer down there! (This IS my actual dryer, with my actual clothes, actual unused exercise equipment, and actual messy basement.)
Isn't that cool? It works for us really, really well. The reason it works so well is this: I have strayed from the Monday Wash Day pattern. I wash ONE load of laundry each weekday. Ma Ingalls, please forgive me.
- Monday: Whites
- Tuesday: Sheets, towels, and misc. items
- Wednesday: My clothes
- Thursday: Son's clothes
- Friday: Husband's clothes
Wait. That's more steps than the Lynchs had. Cool!
That's my take on Monday Wash Day. We've got it SO much easier, but it's still a task that has to be done regularly, so we might as well enjoy it.
Do you have any tips to share regarding laundry?
Next time: Ironing Day