I feel that for a family of four, I do a lot of laundry. Now, I know my perception may be slightly skewed because I'm still washing diapers for Z2. But honestly, the hamper gets full at least every third day which means I do laundry at about that pace (not counting sheets and towels). I cannot abide a full hamper and bags of clean laundry laying around. I have to get them folded and put away. I can't help it!
Our washing machine is in the basement. And our basement is a neglected, dank, moist and dark place. Z1 thinks it's an adventure to go down there. So I don't really enjoy going down there to do laundry. In my dream situation, the laundry room would be an inviting, clean and bright place. But whatever, most days I give thanks that I have a machine in my house at least (and I don't have to go the laundromat) and keep it moving.
Well, after those torrential downpours we've had over the last few weeks, the basement was really wet and I had to put on my rain boots to go down there. (Normally, you can't wear house shoes in the basement anyway but with all the rain, you really had to get on some serious footwear--the water was about 1-2 inches deep). Anyway, I was f.u.n.k.y. about the whole thing. Actually mad about having to go to the basement to toss clothes into a machine that washes them for me!
Once I realized that I was being petty, I tried to change my way of thinking. I started thinking about how doing the laundry would be different if I didn't have a washer and dryer. Here are some things I thought of:
- I'd have a dedicated laundry day where the whole day would be devoted to doing laundry and pretty much nothing else. Preferably I would be outside and it would be very warm. I then started to wonder how the early peoples in the northwest did laundry in the winter time.
- I'd spot clean a hell of a lot more. The kids would wear their clothes a lot more before they finally made their way into the laundry pile.
- I would have "play" clothes and "going out" clothes seriously separated. Right now having separate clothes adds another step to the process of getting out of the house (because they'd have to change before we leave and we have problems getting out of the house as it is).
- The kids would have a lot less clothing.
Okay, so most of the laundry I do is the kids' laundry, I realized. It's amazing how grimy kids can get! I know that being the mother I am, I absolutely won't let the kids go out with dirty clothes. I feel like it's a reflection on me so it usually ends up that at the end of the day, whatever they are wearing goes in the hamper.
But it's also amazing how even with technology to help us get these tedious tasks done, they still remain tedious. I guess it's just the never ending nature of the chores.
Anyway, as usual, I like to think about how I'd go about living my life happily without the modern conveniences of consistent electricity and appliances. I think it's good to imagine these scenarios becoming our realities--to prepare, mentally at the very least, for what could be.
Photo Credit: "Dear Laundry' by DJ Lein on Flickr.com
Photo Credit: "Laundry Lady" by Just B Cuz on Flickr.com
P.S. The basement redeemed itself somewhat. I had to go down there to try to re-start the boiler (which took on water and quit last Tuesday, got fixed for $50 and then proceeded to quit again on Thursday). While I was down there, waiting to see if the thing would fire, I started looking around. I found an addition Bingo game and a mancala game complete with the stones. I carefully cleaned them off and they're in perfect condition despite having been down there for only God knows how long. I spotted a sewing machine and a few other things down there but I didn't want to rile up my allergies. The hubby says he's going to totally clean out the basement this summer. I mean, really. If you're going to be dark and dank, basement, you shouldn't be cluttered too.