Monday, November 16, 2009

Is Every Day Laundry Day?

So tell me. Is EVERY day "Laundry Day" at your house? It is at ours.

On Mondays I trrrrryyyy to get all dirty clothes, towels and sheets washed. But to no avail. And that's just the WASHING part. You know. Stick items in washer. Add necessary detergents and softeners. Transfer to dryer. Then pile into baskets. I can't imagine getting both washing AND folding done in a 24-hour stint!


The FOLDING. Sigh... The most time-consuming part of laundry. It's so pretty when it's all done. But therein lies the rub! It's never done!!!


So it's Saturday night and what am I doing? Laundry. Laundry that has stretched its dendritic sleeves and socks into every open moment of my day.

Most mornings by 10AM the boys are down for naps. It's then that I hear it. The laundry voice. "Start something washing."

It's always there. Like a little black cloud mercilessly hovering. I used to hear a similar voice in college. The homework voice. Did you hear it too? It follows you around. You're perpetually behind. And the load is forever more than you can handle?

In the evenings after 9PM, all the children are asleep (usually). The house is finally quiet and there's just enough silence for that pesky voice to come calling again. And with an attitude! "Hey! Remember me? I've been sitting at the bottom of the stairs all week crammed into this basket! And you wonder why you can't find any clean socks for your girls? They're in here you ninny. So fold me... Now!"

Ohhhhh... Do I have to? There are so many other productive things I would like to do...

The days and weeks stretch on. Into one eternal laundry day. Never ending. Never beginning. Always agitating. Perpetually tumbling.

But a month ago I stumbled across some perspective.

Living a good life is about proper perspective, right? And sometimes you just need someone to put it to you straight. So I came across this letter from a pioneer woman to her daughter, archived in the Smithfield museum.

There is so much to love about this letter. Can you imagine washing clothes like this?? Granted. Back in the day they didn't wear the hoards of clothing we buy. Nor did their children have the luxury of changing outfits FIVE times a day!

The spelling is charming. Read carefully.

And I love the fact that this daughter needed a little coaching from her mother. Her Mom is so very wise.

My favorite bit of instruction is the last three words. It makes my extended laundry day....well... worth it.

“Build a fire in the backyard to het kettle of rain water. Set tube so smoke won’t blow in eyes if wind is pert.

Shave one hole cake lie sope in biling water.

Sort things. Make three piles, one pile white, one pile cullord, one pile britches and rags.

Stir flour in cold water to smooth, then thin down with biling water.

Rub dirty spots on bord, then bile. Rub cullords but don’t bile. Just rench and starch. Take white things out of kettle with broom handel, then rench, blew and starch.

Spread tee towels on grass. Hang old rags on fense.

Pour rench water on flower bed. Scrub porch with sopy water. Scrub privee, seat and floor with sopy water caught from porch scrub.

Turn tubs upside down.

Go put on clean dress. Smooth hair with side combs. Set and rest a spell and count blessins.”

I love it. The need to use up all the water - waste not. The attention to personal care. The fact that it's okay to "rest a spell." And finally, her mother's gentle reminder to "count blessins."

So today as I look at my spilling baskets of sheets and socks I have to stop and think. Six blessings come immediately to mind. They are the reason for all my piles of clothing and bottles of Oxi-clean.


I mean - what's not to love about chocolate and ketchup stains? Biking clothes speckled with mud? And the sheets that have to be changed in the middle of the night?

We do it because we love them. The old proverb is true. "Work is love made visible."

The challenge is to not get discouraged in the daily tasks. Especially the ones that are constantly undone. Joseph F. Smith said,

"[She] is truly happy who can see and appreciate the beauty with which God has ordained the commonplace things of life."


My beautiful blessings.

A devoted hubby. Two delightful boys (gifts I would say).


And my three adventurous girls.

That said. I won't always see the beauty in my heaps of dirty clothes. So do you have any laundry advice? It wouldn't hurt to streamline a bit. While countin' blessins, what moves your laundry along more quickly?

Or maybe this is just reality. Will I be nagged by the laundry voice for the next... 10... 15 years? A penny for your thoughts.

PS - The winners of "Guess That Twin" were Becca and Ellen. Way to go Ladies! Candy is in the mail. Except for you Ellen. I respectfully appreciate your decline.

Gordon was on the Left. Spencer on the Right. Mary - what up? Looks like we need to have you over more often!!


  1. We feel your, hmm..."pain" isn't the right word. Okay, we understand how the laundry just never seems to end. I have often used the time for folding to catch up on TV shows; you know, pretend that I'm multi-tasking.

    Loved the pioneer letter, too. Makes me very grateful indeed for the industrial-strength washer and dryer!

  2. Out of the many household chores, I enjoy laundry the most! I love to fold! I make 5 piles and that's where my love stops. I do not love putting it away! Lucky for me (and for you someday, I promise) my girls are old enough to put their own laundry away (mostly)! As far as streamlining advice...I have none. But, I do make Tues/Thurs/Sat laundry days only...

  3. Brent - I'm sure you guys have the washer/dryer going round the clock too. I like the suggestion of watching a show. I'm actually a pretty lame multi-tasker when it comes to doing something while watching the tube. I just watch the screen and don't fold. But it does give me a false sense of productivity while vegg-ing out.

    And Jill - I'm with you. Putting away - not so fun. But like I said, I do love all those pretty folded piles. If I could put a dent in the laundry total three days a week I would try that. Maybe when I'm not feeding babies so often I can whittle down my days to 3 x per week. Thanks Jill!

  4. Thanks Cath for your perspective. I always LOVE reading your thoughts - and how thoughtful they are. You always help me put things into a better perspective. I have no laundry advice, just wanted to say I love you hope all is well. Sorry I have dropped off the face of the earth.

  5. I totally feel your pain. I am constantly doing laundry, or feeling its entire weight pressing down on me. Maybe mine wouldn't be so bad except for the tiny UK washer and dryer. It takes 2 hours to dry ONE load. So laundry is never done, it just continues to pile....

  6. cath, the photos are great!

    yes, every day can be laundry day and i find the washer to be a miracle. this was a chore i never really minded.

    for whatever reason this job above all others felt like holy work. xox

  7. Em- Been meaning to email you! I've missed you! Was wondering about the site you printed your kids' picture books from. Can't remember! I'll drop you a line soon!

    Michelle - I can't imagine 2 hours for each cycle in the dryer! Of course the clothes continue to pile... goodness! Maybe we can find something creative to do with our piles. Let the kids jump in them? Like leaves?

    And Cristie - Holy work. Love the phrase. I'm coming along. Beginning to see all these tasks as exactly that. It's all for the love, isn't it? Thanks for keeping my sights elevated.

  8. Couple of things:

    1. Sheets don't have to be washed every week.
    2. Folding clothes? It's all about sorting them to make sure they get to the right place. Underwear? Just gets dumped in the right drawer. Folded? Ha.

    :-) I thought of you last week when I did six loads in one day--and there are only three of us. I think it was a week+ of clothing, towels, sheets, etc.

    Another tip someone gave me--always have three sets of sheets for every bed. That way, as soon as you strip the bed, put new sheets on. Then you can always have a fresh set in the linen closet, one on the bed, and one in the wash--with no stress of having to get it washed in time for the evening.

  9. I love reading all about your positive twist to everything, even laundry!! I just can't wait for the day when I can do laundry in my home. Five years in NYC and now student blessing at a time:)

  10. So Erin. You mean to tell me you really just shove everything into your drawers?? I know you... - Jim. Is this true? Hmmm... it would save a ton of time! And more sheets is a great suggestion.

    Tamara - you're overflowing right now in the blessing category! TWO new babies to love and care for! We're so excited for you. William is darling. I bet laundry at home sounds celestial after all the laundromats you've been frequenting! Congrats again!

  11. Laundry, it's never done! I am always needing to put it away. I am pretty good about washing, and drying, and even mostly folding, but there it stops. Making it to the dresser is my problem. I don't have as many bodies as you do though!!! You are so great to always see the positive in the mundane. Your life is an inspiration, and I am in awe. I hope that you can make it to book club in Dec.

  12. Michelle - Trying to put a positive spin on things is the only way I can survive! I'm impressed you get everything folded! Phew! Pretty soon the kids will be old enough to put their own things away - right?

  13. you say the nicest things to me...thank you dear girl. xox

  14. Cath, you are too funny. Yes, everyday at my house is laundry day. Wish that you could see the laundry room right now....the floor is hidden. I don't mind the sorting, washing, and drying. It's the folding and putting away that trips me up. (sigh). All I can say is good luck with that. I have no tips for you whatsoever! haha. By the way, I don't have your email or even your phone number to send you the recipe! I might put in a call to Grandma Ronda. If you get this before that, email me through my blog and I'll get back to you. Love you loads! p.s. The Halloween pics are just adorable! Sounds like such a fun day.

  15. Hey Cath, Loved getting a little comment from you. I love checking in on your blog and reading in amazement at all that is going on in your family!!

    I am flattered that you would ask me to take your family's pictures. I will be in town a couple of times, but the soonest I would be able to do it is probably around the New Year . . . we will be coming in to town sometime after Christmas. That might be too cold to take family pictures outside . . . what do you think?? I would be happy to do it for you. It might be cute to have colorful scarfs and hats and be all bundled up . . . just let me know.



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