Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Early Homesteading Skills: Laundry

     Crisp bed linens snapping in the afternoon breeze- sunshine brightening white shirts as they sway on the line. We tend to romanticize the notion of line dried laundry often forgetting the reality- it's work. Hand washed or done by machine, wet clothes are heavy- messy- and time consuming. Despite the work involved, I must say there is nothing like line dried bed sheets or sun-brightened shirts. No bottled detergent fragrance can compare to clothes off the line.
      In the early years we often dried our clothes on racks in the living room- directly under a ceiling fan. When allowed, we strung clothes lines on the balcony or between nearby trees. One early home had a wonderful old T-post clothesline I absolutely loved! It was continually blessed with load after load of cloth diapers and baby things.
     Before we get too boggled down with the washing, we must realize that laundry on the homestead is so much more. Here we must take stock, do ourselves, make do, or do without- even with our laundry. As a homesteader, my wardrobe is simple- cottons and denim are prime for the task. Sturdy clothes stand up to our routine and last many washings. Closets are frugally suited with items necessary for our lifestyle and 'good clothes' are kept for special occasions.
     In the run of things trouble can occur making basic mending skills necessary- replacing a button, patching a hole, even a hem here or there. Simple sewing skills keep us careful of our finances, making every penny count as our clothes last as long as possible.
     Then there is the issue of ironing. We are fairly careful not to purchase items needing dry cleaning, but ironing seems to fit many fabric needs. Simple ironing skills- dress shirts, skirts, or jackets, can help us save time and money while keeping us nicely dressed.
    Let me note while I do not hand wash my laundry, I did make it a point to learn that skill and acquire the needed supplies to do so. Knowing how and being able to in a bind have been a blessing on more than one occasion. Each one of us will have a different path toward self sufficiency in homesteading- no one is better than the other. Our family has taken the time to acquire the skills we felt would benefit us in our daily routine as well as prepare us in cases of emergency or distress. In the end, a simple yet attractive wardrobe, basic laundry upkeep skills, and some careful planning help us take one more step toward our homesteading goals.


Dicky Bird said...

I was just thinking about something related to this about 5 minutes ago. I was hanging up my husband's flannel shirts and jackets. I looked at his side of the closet and thought - if my husband had an office job these rods would be full of dress shirts and suits. He has 1 suit. I thought of a friend of mine who spends hours ironing her husband's shirts for work. When you have the homesteading mindset, you wear the uniform for the job - ours just happen to be jeans and Carharts (bought from Goodwill). Blessings from Ringle, WI.

Simply Scaife Family said...

Sounds like our closet:)