Monday, January 2, 2012

Washing Laura Ingall's Clothes

This is a time for new beginnings.  Not only is it 2012 now, but also we are living in a new place.  My father-in-law passed away in October, and we've moved to his home just long enough to sort through everything and prepare the home for sale.With so much work in store for us, I'm trying to simplify our lives as much as possible.

God gave me the foresight to begin our school year six weeks early, with the idea that the busy season at work may have been too intense for me to teach every day.  Actually, I was able to teach during that time, but it gives me the freedom to skip out on teaching now.  The older girls are going to be continuing some lessons in a study hall style, but I'm giving myself permission to take a full six weeks off from teaching first grade.

As for the housework, I'm trying to simplify that as much as possible, as well.  My girls have enough basic cooking skills to be able to prepare a simple meal by themselves and keep the dishes clean.

Laundry, however, is always a problem.  To be honest, I have one full-time slob who gets part-time help from her sisters.  She can single-handedly keep me busy from morning till night, either supervising her as she picks up her string of socks, shoes, coats, gloves, scepters, boas, scarves, crowns, shirts, pants, dresses, and handkerchiefs or just picking up the darn mess myself.

If I don't watch closely enough, the girls are liable to fold the clothes, put them on the floor by their dresser, walk over the top of them, and clean up everything on the floor straight to the laundry basket without ever having worn an outfit.  It's a maddening, depressing problem which I'm determined to rid myself of.

Over the last few months for entertainment my family has been reading the classic Laura Ingalls Wilder novels.  As I was thinking over simplifying our lives during these next few weeks, I stumbled across a bit of inspiration from the pioneer days.  Perhaps you all realized this a long time ago, but I must confess that it hit me like a lightening bolt.  If I want to wash less clothes, perhaps we need to own less clothing.

I haven't made any permanent commitments.  Nothing has been thrown away or given away.  During this temporary move, however, it seemed the perfect time for a grand experiment.    I had each person pack one Sunday outfit, one pair of Sunday shoes, two pair of work clothes (one to wear while we're working and one to wear while we're washing), one pair of work shoes, one pair of warm pajamas, and a week's worth of undergarments.  That's it.  Everything else was left at our permanent home.

The first thing that I noticed when I got here was that everybody's clothing fits into one drawer.  (Actually, there is one exception to that.  My husband didn't hear me when I told him that I had already packed for him, so he has A LOT more clothes than anyone else.  Since he's good about cleaning up after himself, I'm not really worried too much about that.)

My hope is that I'm able to wash everything in only a few loads.  My in-law's washing machine only holds about 3/8 cup of clothes at a time, so we'll have to wait and see.  I'll keep you posted on how this grand experiment works for us.

Read Washing Laura Ingall's Clothes--An Update.

Shared with: Monday Mania, Fat Tuesday, and Simple Lives Thursday.

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