“Wow! This is a wonderful source of information! How often do you do all this? How much time does it take you to do 5 people’s clothes? Tell the truth, would a washer and dryer make you happy, even if you only used it once in a while and did this process most of the time?”
I try to do laundry weekly on Monday. I stay on schedule better in the warm weather months. Usually it takes several hours starting mid- to late morning and finishing up in the afternoon. I’m only doing two people’s clothes. If I were doing laundry for 5 I think it would depend on how old the children were. If they were bigger than toddlers I would have them helping. Many hands make light work. Also, it depends on how much “clothes disclipine” you employ. We hang our clean “going to town” clothes up after wearing them and only wash them when they’re truly dirty. Our work jeans and skirts are worn several days in a row and shirts depend on how hot it is. In the cooler times of the year they can be worn several days as well. In summer we change sweaty shirts daily. Each of us has towels that we use for a week at a time and hang up after each use and sheets are changed and washed weekly. We wear mostly darker colors and earth tones and our sheets and towels are brown so I don’t get hung up spending too much time trying to remove red clay stains.
Would a washer make me happy? I don’t know if that’s the word I’d use. It would certainly be easier and conceivably would free up time for other tasks but we believe, like the Amish, that work has it’s own value besides simply the results obtained. Since the industrial revolution our society has been led to believe that labor saving appliances would give us more “free time” when mostly all they’ve done is cause us to work more outside the home and away from the family in order to earn more money pay for all the newest goodies and services that are supposed to give us more free time. I prefer to do my work at home and, anyway, we live off-grid with limited solar power – not enough to power a washer and/or a dryer. Even if I had a million dollar windfall today I wouldn’t go out and upgrade our solar system so I could get a washerr and dryer. I do admit to occasionally, if I get way behind, having taken the laundry to the laundrymat but I find myself doing that less and less because I’m completely dissatisfied with the results. A washing machine just doesn’t get our grubby homestead work clothes clean enough to suit me and I really don’t have the cash to spare. I’m working toward become more disciplined in getting the laundry done every week regardless of the weather. Soon we will be adding large porches on the south and east sides of the cabin and enclosing the deck where I work now into a summer kitchen. That should help with the weather issue.
Thank you, Jennifer, for your questions.