Laundry Lessons

DSC_0005I had the most enlightening conversation with my oldest daughter, the EMT, recently.

We were discussing Christmas gift ideas when she mentioned that somebody could always give her another laundry basket so that she would never have to put laundry away again.

I looked at her puzzled.

She said, “What?! I have an entire laundry system!

“There’s the very dirty that I can wear maybe one more time,

“And the semi-dirty that I can wear a couple more times,

“And the kinda clean that I can wear a few more times,

“And the totally clean that I haven’t worn since I washed clothes the last time.”

“Oh – and then there’s my hoodies – I never wash them.”

I shake my head in disbelief and ask,”These are all in one basket?”

“Oh yeah.  But I know where every pile is. I have a system, mom.”

I shake my head in disbelief.

She went on, “Well, except for my work clothes,  they usually have blood or vomit on them so I wash those right away.”

Wow. I’m glad for that.

I think.

So – if all of her clothes are kept in a laundry basket on the floor – just what can be found in her dressers?

Wait. Strike that. I don’t really want to know.

Got Grease?

GreaseA quick laundry tip today – because the weather is much too beautiful to be inside either writing or reading  blog posts! 🙂

You know those nasty grease stains that end up on your clothes after cooking – or the ones you kids create when they spill supper?

The fastest and cheapest way to deal with them is too use the waterless hand cleaner that is used to get grease off your hands.

Just pour a little on the stain and rub it in. Don’t add any water. Let it sit for a minute and then launder as usual!

I’ve been doing this for years and it’s never failed me yet!

Any brand will do – I picked up a cheap bottle at the dollar store today. Just don’t get the ones with pumice in it – they are a little hard on clothing!

Happy laundering!

It’s Habit Forming

I’m about to air some dirty laundry.

Well – actually it’s clean laundry – but that’s the problem.

You see – I have a few pet peeves – and this is one of them:

We spend time gathering dirty clothes, sorting them, washing them, drying them and folding them into nice piles for each child – only to have them dumped in front of their dresser.

Yes – the same dressers that we bought for each child, moved in and helped them organize.

Some kids would leave days worth of clean clothes on the floor – and just dig through it to find what they wanted to wear.

But not anymore.

This momma made a new rule.

By the time our home school starts in the morning – all laundry must be put away.

Of course one of the children asked, “But what if it isn’t?”

I just smiled and said, “You’ll see.”

I checked every day – and I’ll have to admit that the kids did great. It took two weeks before someone forgot. But when they did – I was ready.

I slipped in, grabbed the offending clothes and hid them – saying nothing. Yep – I kidnapped the clothes!

Several days went by. This child looked a little confused – and started wearing some interesting combinations – but said nothing.

Finally when the poor kid had to wear shorts to bed in January because they couldn’t find any more jammie pants – I stepped in.

“Are you missing anything?” I asked – oh so sweetly.

“Um…no. I don’t think so,” replied the offender.

“How about some jammie pants? Or socks?” I volunteered.


I required a ransom to be paid for the safe return of the missing clothing. They offered a piece of chocolate – but no – I had other ideas.

My upstairs bathroom is now sparkling clean and with all the grunts and groans I heard in the process – I don’t think this child will become a repeat offender.  🙂

Mission accomplished.

Next on my list of pet peeves – making their beds and hanging up the towels in the bathroom.

You know this is kind of fun – and I just hope it’s habit-forming!

Laundry Tips from Nana

One thing I really admire about my mom is her willingness to help out – even with the messy jobs. After my niece’s wedding, she volunteered to wash all the soiled linens. She was telling me about the different things she used to get all the stains out – and I said, “Mom, that’s blog post!”  And here it is…

Laundry Months, three to be exact, of preparation.

One week to set-up including collecting white sheets & cloth tablecloths for tables & skirting at the reception.

(Why cloth for tables? “Well, Mom, we want to make this barn-like room look and feel like a wedding reception!” so stated my daughter, the mother-of-the-bride. And so it was!)

One romantic evening with a beautiful and memorable wedding and reception that was enjoyed by all 500 people attending.

One day to take everything down, sort and transport back home – thanks to lots of help!

Several garbage bags worth of dirty white sheets & table cloths that came home with us.

Two full days of washing!

What a kaleidoscope of stains – blue frosting & punch, barbecue sauce, root beer & coffee!

My arsenal of stain weapons included Fast Orange, Oxi Clean & Simple Green.

Fast Orange works well on most any stains. Just rub on the spot before putting in the wash.  It was on the shelf for cleaning up hubby’s hands after his greasy mechanical projects.  I’ve also discovered that it is works really well to take grease spots out of his clothes.

One day I needed to take some cherry juice stains out of my knit top after pitting cherries. Fast Orange was the only cleaning item on my shelf. I discovered it is an all-purpose stain remover for clothes that are washed in warm or hot water.

Oxy Clean powder was left over from my “get out the brown stains in vintage linen” project! It works well when you dissolve it in very hot water and soak the stain for a few hours or overnight.

Simple Green works well on greasy stains. Just spray & wash. We were introduced to this product when the car we had purchased had transported a can of diesel fuel in the trunk. After several treatments we have managed to eradicate that odor!

After treating the stains liberally with my arsenal, I washed them in warm water with detergent.

Taking the tablecloths, which were cotton/polyester blend, out of dryer while still a little damp and hanging them up saved lots of ironing! The skirting sheets were all cotton and will have to be pressed before using again.

Now the sheets are back in drawers. The skirting & tablecloths are folded and stored in plastic bags ready for the next “white cloth tablecloth” occasion!

Happy Laundering!
Nana Shirley

And the City Cousins Hang Laundry!

Messed Up Laundry My nephews from Chicago were here last week.

They love coming to the farm.

They love the wide open spaces.

They love shooting movies with my kids.

They love shooting bunnies in the garden with the bow and arrows (they even hit one!)

We love to teach them new skills that are foreign to city life – skills like gathering eggs, burning trash, and hauling wood with the 4 wheeler.

And yes…even hanging laundry.

They did pretty well, all things considered.

The Joys of Laundry

I am thrilled to be doing laundry today!

Seriously. I’m not being sarcastic here!

My wonderful husband has spent three days running wires, water lines and drain lines so that my washer and dryer could be hooked up in the new house.

After 3 days with no laundry and seven people in the house- it was time. We had dusty dirty clothes from cleaning out and sorting through the storage room. There were my smelly and sticky painting and varnishing clothes. There were piles of towels and wet wash clothes.

I even found a bag of my parents dirty clothes from their last visit that had somehow gotten left on the porch when they were packing up!  (It was a little confusing that afternoon!)

The pile was growing and beginning to take on a life of its own!

Still it wasn’t quite as bad as the ice storm last December when we went without power and water for 6 days…

Or as bad as after our week long camping trip every summer…

But still I am grateful. My Amish neighbors still use wringer washers and hang everything outside, even in the dead of winter. My 87 year neighbor still hand washes all of her clothes on a wash board (by choice).

But my washer and dryer are modern conveniences that I appreciate.

The sound of the washer changing cycles is like music to my ears!

The hum of the dryer sounds so normal and homey.

So on this Thanksgiving eve I would like to express my thanks for the wonders of modern washers and the convenience of my dryer. Ahh- there’s the ringer for the dryer now- what a sweet sound!

Ode to My Clothesline

H.J.Y. King GeeseI love my clothesline. As a new bride living in suburbia years ago, I asked my husband to put one up in our backyard. The neighbors looked askance for awhile, but soon got used to seeing our towels and sheets blowing in the breeze.

Now that I’m living in rural America, a clothesline is just part of the landscape. I guess farm wives have known for centuries that the wind and sun are a great way to dry your clothes and they cost nothing.

Better yet, they deodorize and sanitize for free! And they even remove some stubborn stains.

But I don’t hang my laundry on the line just too save money, although the savings is substantial! I do it because I love it.

I love hanging my clothes out in the cool of the morning as the birds are singing all around me.

I love seeing them hanging there, blowing in the breeze, a testimony to my family life. Jeans of all sizes, cotton t-shirts,  towels, and denim skirts all remind me that I am blessed to have family at home.

I love gathering them in later in the afternoon and smelling their freshness. Then folding them, putting them in piles, and the process begins again.

Saving money by doing things I love to do is the best way to be Thrifty!