28 November 2010

Laundry in the Living Room

Well, it's not actually that bad.

I think I mentioned in an earlier post that one of the ways in which Nathan and I are trying to "beat the system" of materialism is to save some money by hang-drying our laundry.  In the summer, this is a wonderfully fresh and outside-based activity.  I can imagine I'm in a back yard somewhere with grass beneath my feet and trees scattered about.  Sometimes, even little birds come by and sing sweet songs to me as I hang my perfectly spotless tablecloths, and the woodland friends help to hang the sheets.  It's really a sylvan wonderland, you know.

In reality, it's not so different, although I am spared the worry about bird poop from the errant singing sparrow as our back staircase is completely covered.  Living on the third (top) floor, we have rigged a little laundry line outside of our back door.  Being safe from the rain, with a nice large side opening for the breezes (although no direct sun), we hang our things outside on the line, and place our rickety little folding drying racks on the landing and thus our things dry.  Sometimes for days.  There is really very little work involved, save the hanging part, but that appeals to my sense of order, and so it's really an exercise in meditation for me.

But the cold weather always makes me wonder how folks did it prior to dryers in the winter.  True, freezing temperatures evaporate water quite well, and so one ends up with stiff clothes until that water is gone completely, but - brr!  We've taken our drying racks and set them up in the dining room, and then we hang the shirts and things on hangers in the bathroom.  But yesterday, the flood of laundry (we hadn't washed clothes in at least two weeks) necessitated more space.  So, I stuck a few nails above the door jamb and the window casing and strung our camping drying line to and fro along the length of the bathroom, in a sort of zigzag fashion, until I was out of line.  Literally and figuratively, probably, but no one has complained.

The result is quite festive, although instead of banners, socks and aprons wave gaily to and fro in the forced air breeze.

However, unlike the summer season of drying, this fall and winter season is tej'ous!  Nathan runs the gauntlet outside and down the stairs, across the back end of our building to the laundry room in the basement.  Then, either depositing or unloading or both, he returns around the back and up the stairs laden with two wet loads of laundry.  Even in the cold, he is sweating a little from the effort.  He leaves the laundry on the back porch so that if I can't get to it quickly enough, it won't molder in the heat (there is no danger of that right now, mind you!).  I then pick up that freezing cold laundry and hand the little bits inside on the racks.  Olivia's clothes on one, Elsie's on another, and all the socks paired on the line.

There is always a system, you know.

The shirts end up in the bathroom, and the jeans and towels and tablecloths head out to the back line.  If there's no room, they end up on the back porch, back in the basket, to await their turn in frozen captivity.

Last night, socks and delicates took a devil-may-care attitude and ended up on the lines in the bathroom.  We have a houseguest, and she is dear friend, otherwise I think my husband might have been mortified at his skivvies parading about in such a manner.

I would have honestly liked to have left it at that, but Nathan has need of the shower this morning, and so I am up early to take laundry down.  Boy, I hope it's all dry.  Otherwise, I'll be stringing line again around our bathroom, like some sort of laundry fairy.

So, all you with dryers out there, rejoice!  Even if you do lose the occasional sock or two, the convenience is certainly worth it.

Not that I mind, honestly.  There is a bit of romantic heroism in this, I think.  We are actually saving money by cutting out laundry bills in half (the fryer here costs as much as the washer), and there is no hauling to a laundromat, so that saves gas.  Really, the only thing we are expending is work.

And in this case, string.

Which, dear reader, finally brings me to my point.  Hurrah!  In these times, where so much is unstable, there is a little bit of peace found in the simple things.  Eating good, home-cooked foods.  Spending time with friends and loved ones.  And, yes, even hanging the laundry.  This simple act, done out of love for family and value of work, really makes a difference.  At least for the underwear.


Anonymous said...

Bahiyyih B here:
I love that pioneer spirit! You're doing it and doing it well! With those kinds of economizing skills, you could live anywhere, and live well. You're free! Yeah! No clay on those wings. You guys are flying!

Mary Q Contrarie said...

Good for you. Using laundry racks instead of a machine saves money and helps save resources for the future. I find that I need to keep up on the laundry or drying it does become a challenge. Normally I always start a load at supper and then I hang it on the rack in front of the fridge when the kitchen is picked up. This keeps us from any late night snacking saving us more money and keeps us slim in the process.