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. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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 ;)

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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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