I was chatting with my mother-in-law about how having a washer and dryer in my house seems to have increased the amount of laundry I have to do. I realized that because I can throw a load in whenever I need to (and I can do so without having to find nine quarters!) I was washing things more often than I had been before. When we lived in an apartment and had to use the communal coin machines I was much more selective about what really needed to be washed.
In the days before washing machines men and women would wear the same clothes over and over until they were really dirty.
When I spent a semester in London it was customary to have one or two pairs of pants and a few shirts that you would wear all week without washing.
I’m not suggesting that we should wear sweat stained, smelly, food covered clothes to the office, but there are ways to reduce the amount of washing that we have to do.
- Treat all of your clothes like they are dry clean only. Hang clothes up after wearing them instead of throwing them in a pile on the floor. They will have a chance to air out and you can get another couple of uses out of them.
- Use one towel (or a set of towels) for the week. If it’s hung up each day so that it can dry the towel won’t get smelly.
- Wait until you have a full load of laundry before starting the machine. This will save you money as well because you will be running the washing machine only once.
- Bonus Tip! Use your cloth napkin more than once before washing. If it’s not particularly dirty keep it at your place setting for the next meal.
I read in “The Encyclopedia of Country Living” by Carla Emery how she would put the clothes in a big drum with water and soap and stick it in the back of the pick-up truck before taking off down the bumpy dirt road. I find that so charming! And now I know how to wash my clothes without a washer if I ever need to.