Posts Tagged ‘laundry’

Second day in Tuscany. The first thing I noticed is this:

It is the norm here. Quite a difference from the supersize American dryers . . .

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Karen and I trade comments on our blogs on an almost daily basis. Although I have never met Karen in person, I feel I know her as a friend almost. Her blog, Best of Mother Earth, does have an earthy quality, that makes you want to linger. She writes some awesome articles on cooking, that always make me hungry. And a lot more. Posts on being a new dog owner, musings on parenting, tips on nutritional supplementation. When not blogging, Karen earns a living as a nutritional consultant. I especially enjoy Karen’s moments of greenness, such as the one she shares in this BlogAct.

I was divorced this summer and in the fall my eldest child moved out, to go to college. My teenage daughter, Kate and I describe our current world as “everything is different” She’s right. We are both transitioning.

On Sunday – every single Sunday, I do laundry – I have had a laundry day of the week for as long as I can remember – I started doing laundry in 1977, 30 years ago – yikes!

1560 weeks of laundry.

4 loads a week average – sometimes more – sometimes less

6240 loads of laundry. Wow. That’s a lot of laundry.

In my first marriage the husband would not buy a dryer, the first house we bought came with a washer. That was good enough – he said. Hey I was a stay at home mom, what else did I have to do? (don’t get me started) I hung to dry for 10 years. In the winter I dried clothing in a 6 ft by 6ft laundry room. Truthfully I didn’t mind all that. It made laundry ritualistic. I was green before my time!

I have these ah ha moments that I affectionately call domestic brilliance. In these moments I try and take the ho-humness out of housekeeping and find ways to be more efficient, face it folks – doing the dishes day in and day out is just plain boring, and when you get to the “doing laundry for 30 years” point — talk about the doldrums.

As I was recently sorting the whites from the darks (for the 1561 – ish time) I realized how little laundry there actually was. Now part of that could be because ½ my daughter’s wardrobe is on her bedroom floor ( hmmmm- that could be a future parenting post) or part of that could simply be because everything really is different.

I asked my Kate to count her underwear to see if she could get by with me not doing laundry that week. (I am not even going to say how many pairs of underwear that girl has) Needless to say she could definitely get by. I then counted my underwear, and lo and behold I had another 7 pairs.

We then counted socks and guess what – enough to cover.

I skipped laundry that week. I just didn’t do it! What a totally novel idea.

Officially I do laundry every other week. I have now reduced my laundry by 50% merely by wearing every last pair of underwear we own, wearing all of our socks, and by being more on purpose about full loads.

I will save money, water, electricity, gas and laundry detergent. I will pollute less, and wear all the clothes I own rather than the T- shirt that’s always on the top.

Now that’s green domestic brilliance, if I ever saw it!

Additionally I have completely altered one laundry day a week to a “we can do something else now” day of the week. Which is even more exciting! Count your underwear and your blessings!

Green Mandala me … being green

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Prad and I have this ongoing argument about towels. Being from India, Prad is ok with reusing the same bath towels over and over. It is a part of his environmental crusade, to not wash laundry unless absolutely necessary. He also insists on air drying the towels, which leaves them rough and stiff. I, on the other hand, love to indulge in the small luxury of soft, clean smelling towels, once in a while. This is one of the habits I acquired when I moved to the US, and that is hard to give up. When I lived in France, taking a shower was such a chore, and a spartan experience, especially the drying with a ridiculously small piece of cloth.

Yesterday, the smell of the towels, ripe with a week of daily usage, finally got to me. I grabbed all the towels and gave them a good laundry treatment, with hot water, preferred cycle. I stopped short of dumping them in the dryer, and hung them to dry. I have become a product of the American culture, that sets very high standards for personal cleanliness, regardless of the cost. This image I saw in Paris Match two weeks ago, of two kids in Sri Lanka, smiling and playing in water filled with garbage, is haunting me.

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The baskets in the laundry room are overflowing with dirty clothes. The children are supposed to do their own. I want them to take responsibility. The amount of clothes they go through every day is getting to me, though. It is not unusual for my teenage daughters especially, to use two or three changes of clothes a day. Each time, instead of putting their still clean clothes, back on hangers, they drop them on the floor, and when the mess becomes too much, dump them into the laundry basket. As a green parent wannabe, I know I should intervene. My kind comments have gotten me nowhere, and I do have to pick my battles. This is not one of them.

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