A Sure Way to Make Laundry (seem) Easier


full laundry basketAre you up to your ears in laundry?

Believe me, I know how you feel.
I guarantee, after you read this, it won’t seem so bad.
Doing laundry may even start to look easy.
Almost fun.
I’m serious.

One of the stops Mike and I made during our time without kids last weekend was a museum at an old winery in California.

In the museum, there was a washtub with a note next to it. It was a re-typed list from a mother to a daughter written sometime around the turn of the twentieth century, describing how to do the family laundry.

All in 10 simple steps.


Read on…

Wash on Monday:

1. Build a fire in the backyard to heat kettle of rainwater.

2. Set tub so smoke will not blow in your eyes if wind is present.

3. Shave a whole cake of lye soap in the boiling water.

4. Sort clothes in three piles—one of white clothes, one of colored, and one of rags and britches.

5. Stir flour in cold water until smooth, then thin down with boiling water to make starch.

6. Rub dirty spots on the board, then boil them. Rub colored clothes, but do not boil. Take white things out of kettle with broom handle, then rinse, blue, and starch.

7. Hang clothes on line except tea towels, which should be spread on the grass. Hang old rags on the fence.

8. Pour rinse water in flower beds.

9. Scrub privy seat and floor with soapy water.

10. Turn tubs upside down. Put on a clean dress, comb hair. Make a cup of tea to drink while you sit and rest a spell, and count your blessings.

I don’t know about you, but after reading that, I’m counting my blessings for sure!

* list used with permission from the Sobon Estate

37 Comments on A Sure Way to Make Laundry (seem) Easier

  1. RefreshMom
    July 16, 2008 at 6:31 pm (10 years ago)

    Wow, I guess I really don’t have anything to complain about when trying to tackle our laundry mountain!

  2. Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories
    July 16, 2008 at 6:50 pm (10 years ago)

    Oh my word! I can’t imagine…and here I was complaining because I just finished 4 loads. I’m so spoiled! :)By the way, I don’t know if you received my email (I may have sent it incorrectly) but you are the winner of my little giveaway! Email me with your address and I’ll get it out in the mail to you.

  3. spaghettipie
    July 16, 2008 at 7:01 pm (10 years ago)

    While I can’t say that make laundry fun for me, it does provide some perspective. :)

  4. Mama C
    July 16, 2008 at 7:27 pm (10 years ago)

    That’s so funny, I was just complaining about my mountains of laundry this morning. And wishing my washer/dryer were not located in the garage. I guess I’m going to hop off to the garage with a smile now and get it done!

  5. Rachel
    July 16, 2008 at 8:07 pm (10 years ago)

    OK. I will never complain about doing laundry again. We really do have it too easy. But then again, they did wear their clothes until they stood up by themselves. Us, we wash every single thing we wear almost everytime we wear it.

  6. kksweet04
    July 16, 2008 at 8:28 pm (10 years ago)

    Genny,I just emailed you a you tube clip of laundry day that I thought you would enjoy. I knew you won’t recognize who you got this email from…so I wanted to tell you about it. Thanks for the reminder to be thankful that laundry is easier these days!Kristy Sweet

  7. franticallysimple
    July 16, 2008 at 9:11 pm (10 years ago)

    I think I will start having a cup of tea after I do my laundry.It’s hard work, after all. :)

  8. Gotta GROW with it
    July 16, 2008 at 10:20 pm (10 years ago)

    i think we all need these gentle reminders about the luxuries in our life! thank you Lord for bringing me into this era!

  9. care-in
    July 16, 2008 at 10:29 pm (10 years ago)

    I was trying to make homemade liquid soap the other day and while it was a success I could barely shave down the entire bar. I can’t imagine “having” to do that.

  10. Amanda
    July 17, 2008 at 12:13 am (10 years ago)

    Thank you for that little reminder of how easy I really do have it.Many blessings to you and yours-Amanda

  11. Kristenkj
    July 17, 2008 at 12:50 am (10 years ago)

    Um, okay, I like the have-a-cup-of-tea-and-rest-a-spell-part, but the rest of it just seems like a little bit of work! We are spoiled, are we not? What I loved was that this was a note from a woman to her daughter.

  12. angie
    July 17, 2008 at 1:10 am (10 years ago)

    I’m SO counting my blessings!

  13. RR Mama
    July 17, 2008 at 1:32 am (10 years ago)

    Wow! I keep wishing the laundry fairies would come over but they have gone on summer vacation. Hubs does a great job helping me keep the laundry in check.

  14. Elizabeth
    July 17, 2008 at 1:44 am (10 years ago)

    my grandma has stories like that…does not seem very fun to me. makes me feel like a big wimp when i don’t get my laundry done on time. :-)

  15. Sandy C.
    July 17, 2008 at 1:46 am (10 years ago)

    Yeowza! Count your blessing indeed…for technology! If I had to do that every time, I’d wear the same thing for 2 weeks straight. If I smelled bad, perhaps people wouldn’t ask me to do their laundry ;)

  16. Becky
    July 17, 2008 at 2:43 am (10 years ago)

    Ha! Thanks for the reminder to count our blessings in washers and dryers!!

  17. Kirby3131
    July 17, 2008 at 3:33 am (10 years ago)

    Great list! I washed clothes at my grandmothers house in the 70’s – she had a washer tub and then we used a ringer to squeeze all the water out. Then lugged it all up the steps outside to hang to dry. I thought that was ancient!

  18. Janel@Dandelion Dayz
    July 17, 2008 at 3:37 am (10 years ago)

    Amen! Loving my Kenmore washer and dryer right about now! I always need a reminder like this about the laundry. I passed along an award to you, btw. Check my blog out – yesterday’s post.

  19. Are You Serious!
    July 17, 2008 at 6:17 am (10 years ago)

    ♡ I can not even imagine being a pioneer! I don't think I'd have made it!

  20. Robin
    July 17, 2008 at 9:46 am (10 years ago)

    You’ll have to excuse me, I have to go kiss my washing machine now…

  21. megs @ whadusay
    July 17, 2008 at 3:03 pm (10 years ago)

    Technology is a wonderful thing isn’t it? I am giving thanks for my washer and dryer. It is amazing what a litle perspective can do for a person’s attitude. :)

  22. tollesons4him
    July 17, 2008 at 3:33 pm (10 years ago)

    I will not complain anymore when I do laundry.

  23. Kristen Andrews
    July 17, 2008 at 6:55 pm (10 years ago)

    no wonder they wore the same clothes all week!

  24. Tiffany
    July 17, 2008 at 7:21 pm (10 years ago)

    The relaxing at the end sounds so good that I am tempted to go start with the fire in our backyard right now:)I guess I’ll just go make the beds.

  25. MoziEsmé
    July 17, 2008 at 8:03 pm (10 years ago)

    OK OK, I’ll take back all my whining! It does sound like a fun way to make sure the toilet gets scrubbed regularly, though.

  26. Laura@Storytellin' Mama
    July 17, 2008 at 8:17 pm (10 years ago)

    I can’t imagine!!I respect how tough a woman’s job was before modern appliances!!

  27. Becoming Me
    July 18, 2008 at 1:43 am (10 years ago)

    Well, that puts things into perspective now doesn’t it? LOL

  28. REAL ME
    July 18, 2008 at 2:50 am (10 years ago)

    Great post!!! Thanks for sharing!

  29. Jamie @ Purposeful Pursuit
    July 18, 2008 at 6:02 am (10 years ago)

    Sure puts things into perspective! I’ve been wishing I had a newer washer/dryer set, but I’ll stop my complaining and be thankful for what I have.Oh, I wanted to let you know I’m adding you to my blogroll. I am so enjoying your blog!

  30. Laurie
    July 18, 2008 at 3:04 pm (10 years ago)

    Thanks so much for putting everything into perspective. I could not have lived back then and been a happy camper. Makes you appreciate all the blessings we are spoiled with.

  31. Breanne Vasquez
    July 18, 2008 at 8:24 pm (10 years ago)

    Oh my – I am counting my blessings!! Thanks for the reminder.

  32. Megan@Disorder2Order
    July 18, 2008 at 10:33 pm (10 years ago)

    This is cute! I do enjoy the laundry actually… now that it’s summer. My DH installed a cloths line for me, not only does it make life easier but I love the smell of cloths that are air dried!

  33. An Ordinary Mom
    July 19, 2008 at 3:16 am (10 years ago)

    I am very grateful for my washer and dryer … especially with a newborn in the home :) !!

  34. Indy
    July 19, 2008 at 3:42 am (10 years ago)

    I have thought of this before. I don’t know how I would have managed in earlier times. I am so spoiled. Don’t we all need reminded now and then? So true.

  35. Stella
    July 19, 2008 at 12:42 pm (10 years ago)

    Hello Genny, what’s good? :))Great list! For sure I’m counting my blessing too. Now, I think I’ll enjoy a cup of tea after doing my laundry: this are the kind of little moment that make life beautiful.Have a wonderful weekend with your family. Cheers from my place.

  36. Jenny
    July 25, 2008 at 2:15 pm (10 years ago)

    How lucky we are! I was once watching The Jetsons as a child and Jane was whining because of all the chores she had to catch up on. She sighed and said “so much to do!” Then she went to a robot and pushed one button, at which time the robot fixed her a drink and propped her feet up. Then it started cleaning for her. I thought, “she’s so lazy!” But if the woman who wrote that note could see us now, I bet she’d think the same thing!


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