Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Monday Laundry Day
Picture is of an Amish House on Laundry Day
Someone asked me why I do laundry on Mondays. Well, the truth is, I do it that day because when I started learning to be a homemaker, I read that historically, Monday was laundry day. This is true still in the Amish culture, but was always true in the days of hand washing, wringing out and hanging on the line.
"During the 19th and the early part of the 20th century Monday was known as washday or Blue Monday. Without the benefit of a washing machine, running water, hot water and ’stain lifters’, this meant time consuming duties such as lugging and boiling the water for the wash and making your own starch and bluing for whiter whites and sometimes even your own soap! Laundry day was an all day chore!
Even Isabella Beeton in her Household Managment book circa 1861 for English housewives lists the duties for doing laundry as those of the ‘laundry-maid’ not the housewife.
For American housewives Catherine E. Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe call laundry 'the most trying part of domestic labor' in their treatise Principles of Domestic Science."
My laundry day is also an all day chore, but also a scary sight compared to these neat, orderly (sometimes competitively so) days. I pile it ALL in the middle of the living room and separate into piles by color. The kids then jump in the piles and fling it about, and then I separate it again with their help.
There the piles sit until they are all done. Sometimes this carries over into Tuesday...and Wednesday...and by Thursday, if it's not done, back in the bins it goes until next week. I used to be so hard on myself if it didn't get all done, but why? There's never a time when the hampers are totally bare in this house anyway, so aspiring to that goal is just dumb (I say as I cringe slightly at the remaining piles in the living room.)
Putting it away is a whole other chore in itself. Since we often put clothes away after the little ones are in bed, or during naps, we have moved all their "dressers" to accessible-after-bed locations. We have a full size six drawer dresser doubling as a table behind our sofa. It is just the right height for a behind-the-sofa table and no one would ever know it's secret function unless I told them. That's where the kids' undies, socks, accessories (likes hats, gloves, scarfs, tights, bathing suits, etc.) go as well as the majority of Caden's wardrobe--long sleeved shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts, and pants.
Caden has a dresser in his room for the overflow. Saying that, perhaps we need to pare down his wardrobe...an overflow dresser for a one year old seems a bit excessive...but the kid can dirty three outfits a day easily...so...hmmm, I will have to thnk about that...
Anyway, Kya and Wyatt's clothing has been moved to the old hall game closet where two long shelves are devoted to stacks (sometimes tidy, sometimes not so tidy) of shirts (long and short sleeved), pants and jammies (tops and bottoms are separated as well as feety jammies.) I would like it to look like a GAP store in there, with neat piles of evenly spaced clothing, gleaming with newness and cuteness, but in reality, if my kids dress themselves even once, and pull the shirt in the MIDDLE of the pile (inevitably) down topples the GAP neatness, so I just hope it all stays organized at least by gender most days. :)
Our old fogey laundry (which I cannot stand doing, perhaps because I am pretty much OVER my ill-fitting-because-I-am-16-weeks-pregnant wardrobe!)goes into dressers and our little walk-in closet, but it needs reorganizing BADLY! This is one of my projects for 2010.
As an aside, and because we are heading toward a day when we can reclaim our laundry water (more on that another time), it is really important to us to use a biologically and environmentally safe laundry soap, that also really works well.
Using Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent:
"Keeping your clothes and dishes clean is part of living a healthy life, but are you using dishwasher and laundry soaps that put the environment at risk? Phosphates and other chemicals in many dishwasher and laundry soaps can pollute lakes and waterways, kill plant and animal species, and pose human health risks. Learn about eco-friendly alternatives."
We are still committed to Melaleuca products for all our cleaning, toiletry, vitamin, and bathing needs. Their laundry soap is not only super concentrated to avoid waste, but also smells amazing and lasts a really long time. I have recently started using their fabric softener as well, all chemical and additive free, and feel like my clothes are cleaner and better smelling than ever. AND it's gentle enough to use on baby clothes (we use the fragrance free version for this purpose), so no need to use separate Dreft, or whatever other baby detergents are on the market (which all contain phosphates as well.) If you would like more information on Melaleuca products or becoming a member of this great company, please email me or comment here. I'd love to get you started with them.
So, there's my laundry day post. How do you handle laundry in your house?