Posts Tagged ‘clothes’

Keep Your Shirts On

May 12, 2011

My schedule has been unusual recently, leaving me less time for doing the things I normally do, laundry included.

Happily I’ve managed to keep clean sheets on the bed, towels in the bathroom and…erm…drawers in the drawers. The rest has been neglected, which is why today’s laundry featured 15 light-colored shirts and four nightshirts. It’s as much as the drying rack will bear.

Tomorrow’s wash load will contain some dear old friends I haven’t seen in a while. When the laundry piles up, wash day is like a reunion.

A Clean Start

January 3, 2011

After time out for restoration and repairs—in the real world if not in the blog world—I’m back and looking for a clean start. What better way to do that than with laundry?

So, I did the wash—two loads—on New Year’s Eve. Sheets, towels, clothes.

It was all cleaned, dried and put away in time to eat a late supper, drink champagne and watch the ball drop. I even put up a pot of red beans that simmered on the stove all day on January 1. It’s supposed to be lucky to eat beans on New Year’s Day. Later I found out that black-eyed peas are the legumes of choice, but that was long after the red beans had started to simmer and I figured I’d take my chances, maybe even start a new trend for the new year.

Which makes me wonder…

Shouldn’t washing the clothes be a good thing to do to celebrate the new year?

Apparently traditional superstition says not, but I didn’t know that when I loaded up the washers on December 31. So if 2011 proves to be a year of spinning, tumbling and agitation, I guess I’ll know why.

But I prefer to believe that doing the wash is a symbolic way to (w)ring out the old and ring in the new. It’s a chance for a clean start; and isn’t that what New Year’s celebrations are all about?

You’ll Never Wash Alone

March 20, 2010

My mother,
Your mother
Hanging out the clothes.
My mother punched
Your mother in the nose.
What color was the blood?

That’s what is known as a counting-out rhyme—a way to determine who’s going to be “It” in a playground game of hide and seek. And despite the fact that it’s a little gross (which is the way kids tend to like things), it’s also sort of sweet (the first part, anyway). Can’t you just see my mother and your mother hanging out the clothes? All right, maybe not my mother and your mother because they don’t know each other, and frankly I can’t remember my mother ever hanging out the clothes; but somebody’s mothers out in the backyard pegging sheets and socks to the clothesline, gabbing, and apparently engaging in fisticuffs.

Laundry is social. At least that’s how it was traditionally, whether townswomen were gathering at their local water source to wash their clothes or meeting over the backyard fence with baskets full of wet duds. It still is social, if you happen to live in a dorm, an apartment, or another place where you don’t have your own washer and dryer. Then you’re compelled (let’s not say “forced”) to visit the communal laundry room or the neighborhood launderette where you’re likely to meet up with your neighbors and you might even make new friends.

I know a couple who have been married for more than 20 years and who first laid eyes on each other in the laundry room of their apartment building. It happens…hopefully more often than two moms punching each other in the nose.

Good or bad, laundry is a shared human experience. Everyone has a laundry story. Just ask them.

Laundry Day #4

March 18, 2010


Shirts: 12
Pants: 5
Pajamas: 1

Temperature: Warm

Cost: $1.75

What have we learned?

Laundry lets us make our own choices.

This is the least costly load of wash I’ve done since beginning this blog. That’s because I washed the clothes ($1.75) but I didn’t tumble-dry them; thus saving $1.50 and a small amount of electricity and gas. It’s possible to figure out how much electricity and gas, I suppose, but I simply don’t feel like doing the math this time. (Sue me.)

I live in an apartment building with no outdoor access so my clothesline is actually a laundry rack set up in my bathtub. I don’t have the space to line-dry everything every time, but I do what I can. All shirts, pants and pjs are hung up to dry. Besides saving me money and saving a little bit of energy, line-drying keeps my clothes from shrinking.

On the other hand, in my building’s laundry room I regularly encounter neighbors who choose to use more than one dryer for their laundry. So, even though I didn’t use my “share” of the dryers today, they used twice their share. We’ve canceled each other out.

I’ve made my choice and they’ve made theirs.

Hanging Out

March 14, 2010

Project Laundry List is pursuing an interesting crusade: attempting to convince people—Americans in particular—to line dry their clothes instead of using tumble-dryers. You’d think this wouldn’t be a difficult task, but you’d be wrong.

Americans love their creature comforts—Hummers, cathedral ceilings, electric can openers—most of which (not so coincidentally) are energy hogs. Tumble-dryers are no exception: The Department of Energy estimates that they account for 6 percent of household energy usage in the United States. That seems extreme, and avoidable, which is part of Project Laundry List’s reason for being.

Making the campaign an uphill battle is that fact that line-drying laundry is actually—and bizarrely—against the law in many communities in the United States. This is somewhat akin to prohibiting people from riding bikes and walking, and forcing them to drive SUVs instead.

To someone, somewhere, this makes sense. Not to me. I’m in favor of hanging out.