I think I'm getting my head around the washing, and the ironing. My previous approach to the washing was to throw the top third of the washing in the basket into the machine whenever I had a 'window'. I felt like I did loads every day. Some days, though, there wasn't a 'window', and then the dirty washing would threaten to take over, and the stuff in the bottom of the basket would start going mouldy and I would threaten to leave home. And the ironing? Well, when I emptied it a few weeks ago, the ironing basket contained ironing (mountains, including most of the out of season clothes), mending, three cushions that didn't have a home, a bag of broken toys, and surprisingly, a bag of Christmas candy canes (I knew I had bought some. Had to dash out at the last minute to save Christmas).
Now, my mother is completely domestically challenged, but she does do washing well. In fact, she can spend all day doing the washing absolutely perfectly. She gets all the washing out of the baskets, puts it all in little piles, washes it (in the twin tub), takes the grey water out to the garden, hangs the washing out, goes out later to check it, turning it upside down to dry more evenly, brings it in, folding it as it goes in the basket to prevent wrinkles, puts it in more little piles, puts it away...so, my mum is the washing expert. I am modelling my washing days on hers. I decided I needed some days off washing, so, two days off, and one day where I only wash sheets. On the other days I empty out the washing basket, make my piles of darks and coloureds, and rags, and teatowels (because who wants to use a tea towel that has been washed with the underpants?). I soak the things that need soaking, and wash them last. I am getting to know the clothes like I didn't before. I am keeping mental notes of stains to treat, buttons to sew on. The clothes are becoming more significant. I feel like I want to care for them properly, like I want to get rid of the ones that are obviously not made properly, and cherish the ones that are. I can see how women who made their own clothes in generations past would have taken such pains with the washing process. Taking care of things, it seems, does make you appreciate them more.
Hanging out washing has always been my favourite domestic chore. Meditative, repetitive, standing and stretching in the sunshine with flappy, sweet smelling washing. What could be better? I also get to visit my vegie garden and talk to birds and neighborhood cats. I am usually dashing out during our homeschooling morning, little sunshiny moments in a crowded day.
So, one chore, out of many, is coming together. The ironing? This week, the ironing basket only contains ironing. My next task is to empty it out completely, and iron on washing nights so I only have a few things to iron at a time, and never have an ironing basket again. One less piece of clutter in the bedroom, one less horizontal surface to dump things on...
Moment of peak efficiency? When I realised I could pack the washing machine with the first load the night before, and and start the day by pressing, well, START. It seems fitting.