Hanging Out The Laundry

Everything Old Is New Again

I’m doing a workshop on laundry for the ReSkilling Fair on 2/5. Amazing how involving I am finding this topic. Partner Beth & I have always had an abiding interest in “expired technology.” What I love is that is IS technology. It’s not just out of date or old fashioned, it’s a technology or approach which is sustainable rather than one that is depleting our limited planet.

So, Laundry. I have found that I’ve devoted about 8 hours of thought and writing so far. I’m trying to prioritize and communicate all I’ve learned in the past 3 years of “hanging out the wash,” while at the same time helping others feel & be the most successful. It would be terrible if I actually turned people OFF trying to do laundry more sustainably.

So here’s the list of topics, so far:

  • Shaking out wrinkles: softness, towels, shirts, socks
  • Shaping clothes: collars, cuffs, plackets, knits
  • How to hang items: hem, shoulders, cuffs, upside down, making parachutes to catch the breeze
  • Preventing creases: from clothespins, from hanging over line
  • Preventing lint lines from rinse
  • Clothespins: plastic or wood or mod
  • Pre-folding towels, napkins, bandanas, underwear on the line
  • Using drying racks
  • Using hangers for shirts & blouses
  • Importance of balanced clotheslines, like on an umbrella dryer or connected lines
  • What’s a good “drying day?”
  • Vintage cloth, like napkins, hankies, fancy delicates
  • Segregating clothes on drying racks
  • Natural Soaps: hot & cold water
  • Vinegar rinses for towels
  • Spinning in dryer without heat to fluff & remove wrinkles
  • Drying time indoors and outdoors
  • Linen, cotton, wool
  • Preventing shrinking
  • Knits and preventing stretching
  • Preventing fading on the line
  • Bleaching on the line
  • Washing feather pillows & other household items
  • Setting up a clothesline and shopping local

I am amazed at how much joy I get out of doing laundry.  It’s not only about being outside with damp clothes draped around my neck on a hot day (and calling it work) — it’s also about the pleasure in caring for our things.  I have noticed that caring for the abundant fantastic opulent stuff we have in our privileged Western society is somehow “too much work.”  It’s not only that it’s traditionally “women’s work” (which we KNOW is pointless and drudgery), but it’s almost like caring for our things would be acknowledging the shocking excess of stuff — so much more comforting to believe in “disposables,”  as in, “I’m tired of that shirt, so I’m just going to throw it away.”

Where is “away?”


About deendeens

Seeking a resilient, connected, sustainable community and personal life thru gardening, community building, biking, strength, love, Transition Towns, singing, and public service.
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