Wednesday, September 17, 2008


My favorite household chore has always been laundry. There is something about taking a pile of dirty laundry on the floor and turning it into clean, folded clothes and linens that appeals to my inner organizational self. We bought our first washing machine, a shiny, new General Electric machine, when we were 20 years old. We lived in a rented, furnished apartment and didn't own a stick of furniture, but we had a washing machine!

I learned how to do laundry from my mother, grandmother, and great grandmother -- all women who were born in the 19th or early 20th century and were very proud of their laundry skills.

You know the basics like no red shirts washed with the white underwear, etc. But, here are a few so-called rules from the matriarchs of my family:

1. Use hot water, lots of soap and wash the "devil" out of them. Get rid of all evil!

2. The clothes line was where you dried everything. In later years, my mother and grandmother had clothes dryers, but the line was still the method of choice.

3. Clothes lines should always run north & south for optimum sun and wind exposure. The clothes will dry faster, and you can fill the lines twice in one day.

4. The best clothes lines are made from 4" cast iron pipe for maximum sturdiness with the ends closed in to keep the wasps and bees from nesting.

5. Always hang clothes in a logical order -- all socks hung from the toes with the heels facing the same direction, etc.

6. Of course, there were lots of rules about washing cloth diapers. Believe me you haven't lived until you've washed a diaper pail full of dirty diapers every day for years. I have to admit I did enjoy hanging them on the line, especially when there was snow on the ground to whiten them (another hint from grandmother).

7. Here's my favorite: When you are pregnant, never, never hang up clothes on the line. Your baby will be born with the cord wrapped around its neck. I think we can chalk this up to an old-wives tale.

8. Then there is ironing. Sprinkle the ironing with warm water, then roll and wrap in an old, clean sheet overnight. No steam irons for the dedicated. After ironing pillowcases, fold them, and then iron in the fold creases. That way your guests will be assured they have clean bedding. Same thing with cloth napkins.

9. My mother thought that even the cleaning rags should be ironed -- she said that they look better in the drawer and the ironing helps kill germs.

See those creases in the cases at the back of the photo?

Do I pass the test?

These are only a few of the tidbits I was taught. It's a wonder I still love to do laundry.

Thanks for stopping by,



onlymehere said...

We have something in common, I've never minded doing laundry. I'd even like a clothes line for when I wash the sleeping bags, blankets, or other big things that seem to leave a wet spot where they bunch up in the dryer. I usually hang them over a front room chair overnight to finish drying!! I love having all the folds the same in the drawer. There is something about the fresh clean smell of laundry. You lost me with ironing rags though! LOL!! I hardly iron anything, period! I loved learning how our mother's and grandmother's did it! I think next spring I'll talk to my husband about that clothesline and make sure it runs north and south!

Brown-Eyes said...

Hi...I'm glad I read your reminded me I have a load in the washer I need to put in the dryer...oops! Thanks for the laundry 101 and have a happy weekend. ;-) Bo

bj said...

I don't mind doing the is the folding and putting away that I am not real crazy about.
My mom ironed everything! I don't.
I do keep a pair of ironed pillowcases in my linen closet for overnight guest, tho.
I really would like to have a clothes line...I remember bringing clothes in off the line when a sudden rain would start. Mom always helped me get them all in.
I can remember how fresh and clean smelling my bed always was...smelled so so good...

Jill said...

Hi Miss Sally,
The best Goodwill in Colorado is in Colorado Springs! It is on Kelly Johnson Blvd, off Academy Blvd. They have wonderful treasures. There is a couple more in the in Old Colorado City and another off of Powers Blvd. they are really good too.

I love your brown transferware plates. I have been trying to find some for several months now, without any luck to find some.

I see you have Dollar Tree pumpkins too! That seems to be everyone's favorite item this fall!


Manuela said...

Oh my, that #7!! I love hanging clothes on my line. I love just seeing it there!


Susie Q said...

What a wonderful post. Just reading this made me want to go do laundry! Really! It is one of those chores that offers such satsfaction I think.
And your bedding looks just perfect! I used to iron a lot but must admit that I have become lax in that area. *blush* But I MUST have ironed pillow cases and top sheet for a guest bed. That is important to me. : )
This was just a pleasure to read and to see!


Susan said...

I used to enjoy doing laundry and I did tell my spouse several times recently that I would like a clothes line in the hint yet.

I do need to start at least ironing the fold down part on our bedsheets...they are 100% cotton. I have to admit though, I put a percale pillowcase on a pillow this weekend and forgotten that I like them...they are a bit more 'crisp' than the 100% cotton. Am I the only one who doesn't like the t-shirt fabric sheets?

Susan said...

Oh yeah, may I have the pillow on the brass bed? It is one of my sofa fabrics and I love it. ;)