Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Vintage Laundry Lessons

"Since time immemorial it seems that wash-day has meant Monday and more often than not, "Blue Monday"; but of late years Tuesday has been growing in popularity as wash-day. This plan leaves Monday as a day in which the housewife can replenish her larder and put her house in order after the Sunday's rest or entertaining. Also, it gives her time to look over her wash, mend the holes or tears that might become larger in the laundering, remove the stains that should have attention, prepare food with a view to having something for the next day, and in the evening place the washing apparatus and piles of clothes in readiness without infringing on the pleasures or quiet of Sunday. Then when Tuesday morning comes, no time need be lost because of the disorganization that so often reigns in the house on Monday mornings. Such a program, regularly followed, will be found helpful in carrying out the laundering processes."

I found this little excerpt in a vintage book Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts & Sciences, by Mary Brooks Picken.

Upon reading it I thought of what engineers of domesticity our grandmothers needed to be. I StumbledUpon (more on this later) this Vintage Sewing site and thought you might have some fun playing around inside of it, looking through some of the old patterns and books used to train a young lady in the domestic arts and thinking of the women who were before us and what their lives and homes were like.

Also, to consider some of the unusual methods employed in simply getting our clothes clean.

For instance, can you imagine using a tampon and gasoline to clean a stain? Or using sugar of lead to set in colors? Or how about beeswax rubbed on an iron to keep it from sticking? (Can we just stop here and have a moment of silence out of respect for the person who decided to put Teflon on our irons!? Hallelujah!)

I've yet to get back to my spring cleaning as I'm still on the mend from The Crud, but I'm improving and see myself back on task very soon. One of my projects in the next few weeks will be my laundry room. I'm still considering what I might do to improve that dungeon-like area. I'll update you if I come up with anything brilliant.

Stay tuned....



diXymiss said...

An enlightening eXcerpt. Gracious, our great-grandmothers had to work HARD, didn't they? Glad you're on the mend and hope you fully recover soon.

Christina said...

I still use Monday as my main laundry day. With so many people in the house though it seems every day has become laundry day. I am going to check out the Vintage Sewing site it sounds neat.