Wednesday, February 15, 2012


                                              MONDAY'S WASH DAY
"Today is Monday, Today is Monday
Monday is wash day
Everybody happy?
Well, I should say!

Today is Tuesday, Today is Tuesday
Tuesday is ironing
Everybody happy?
Well, I should say!..."

As you can see the poem continues. This is the first part of a series with suggestions of help with household jobs. PART 1 - "WASHING/DOING THE LAUNDRY".
For some people getting clothes washed, dried, folded, ironed and put away is a much thought about and talked about topic. It's a job which must be done, but can be enjoyed and certainly can be done with little mind occupation or stress.
In my opinion when buying a washing machine it's worth buying a strong reliable brand which has a capacity that will help work for your sized family. Do some research. We began with a small front loader because it saved on water use. Our first two children enjoyed watching the clothes churn around through the glass 'window', but apart from providing entertainment it didn't do the job - it took too long to get through the load and only washed small quantities at a time. The best washing machine we've had is Fisher and Paykel's biggest Intuitive Eco machine. Our first one lasted 10 years having washed for nine people six days a week. We are now on our second one.
Next research washing powders and identify what you want in your washing powder - coloured beads like 100's and 1000's to eat grease, whiteners to bleach, eco friendly substances, or perfume powders? I suggest experimenting with the quantity they say you are to use. I use a New Zealand eco friendly brand which is kind to our sewerage system, but I only put in about 2/3 the quantity of powder they suggest.
I'm a firm believer in washing everyday or to keep on top of the mound. I choose not to wash on Sundays and the extra clothes on a Monday still make the break worth it. 
When all our kids lived at home I rarely sorted the washing into whites, colours and darks. I chose to just get the clothes through the wash and use the extra time on other things. I always washed the cloth nappies separately, however.
When my kids turn 15 years they take over washing their own clothes. They 'club' together and work out between them to take turns to wash their load of dirty clothes. I keep out of their difference of opinion in whose turn it is to do the washing. This saves me, trains them to be self-sufficient and responsible and become aware of the effort required in caring for one another.
Once the load is finished, get it out. Don't delay, do it straight away as this only adds to the mindset that washing is a big deal.
Living in New Zealand I peg the washing outside on a line, even in bad weather.
I have a series of lines (NO this is not me or my garden) which are covered but face north which is where our best sun comes from in the southern hemisphere.. If the rain is driving in then I hang the washing inside on a clothes rack. If by the following morning the clothes are still not completely dry, I finish them off in the dryer.
I resist using the dryer for a number of reasons ~
 * the added cost to our power bill.
 * the unnecessary use of energy.
 * clothes don't last as long when always dried in a dryer - just look at  the lint your dryer catches, it's all removed from the fabric of your clothes. This is especially true of underwear and clothes with elastic.
 * my white clothes would miss out on natural sun bleaching, meaning I would need to scrub more or soak more.
 * there's a pleasant, natural smell clothes have when dried on the line outside.
Another great reason to hang washing outside is it gives me time to be outside in the sun, the breeze, or showery rain where I can notice nature on my own and think.  For many years it was a great time with my littlest children sitting right by me, playing with the clothes pegs, handing them to me, singing songs together. Sometimes I would use it to be a special time with just one child. 
Bringing the washing in if I am rushed, is a quick grab, unpeg and drop into the basket. But if not, I take each item off, fold it and put it in the basket. At times I unpeg all the items of one child, folding each as I go, then do the next child's clothes, so that each person's clothes are all together with the household items folded on the top. Once inside I resist not putting the basket down, but rather put the household washing away, and lift out each child's clothing pile putting them into their mini washing basket. 
I'm sure I'd never have gone for this system if I'd had a couple of children but the more we had, I couldn't function without getting organized.
I bought a mini washing basket for each child, set them out on the stairs and put the clean clothes into each. It's the child's responsibility to take their basket from the stairs and put their clothes away before bed.
I'd threaten, if baskets weren't picked up and clothes put away, that I wouldn't do their washing the next day. This worked for most of our kids. The slow learners needed to be worked on more.
I find by folding washing straight from the washing line eliminates a lot of ironing. I have to smile here because I married a man who in his single days ironed his face cloths, tea towels and pyjamas, which I think is crazy. But in recent years he has taken to ironing his own shirts, and I really don't mind :)
We have a huge basket in the laundry for dirty clothes to go into and my over 15 year olds have their own separate one. I insist dirty clothes are not to be left in the bathroom but rather are to be left in the dirty clothes basket.
THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS~ will hopefully be a happy week with the kids with the washing, as the poem suggests it can become.

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