Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sukkot and laundry economizing

The holidays are over and so, almost, is the month of Tishrei. To be truthful, I can hardly remember going through a more intensely challenging period. Among all the busy flurry of holidays, we've also had to cope with stomach bug, fevers, sore throats and coughs, visiting each of us in turn and sometimes more than one person at a time. I'm still feeling rather ill as I write, but hopefully, it will be over soon. And now we're back to our normal routine, and to the many projects that have been put aside and saved for later. 

One aspect I found particularly challenging during Sukkot was laundry. It is a custom of Chol Hamoed (the days of the festival) not to do the washing unless absolutely necessary. And so, while I knew we had enough clothes to last us through one week (although the girls did come very close to using up all their underwear), I felt something very much like panic when I looked at the mountainous pile of dirty washing taking up much of my balcony space. It doesn't help that in this house, I don't have a proper utility room - my washing machine and laundry baskets are outside. 

*Illustration: overflowing laundry basket

So, as a last desperate measure, I decided to do what I can to slow down the exponential growth of the laundry pile. I didn't change hand towels in the kitchen and bathroom as often as I'm used to. At the end of each day, I examined my children's clothes; if they only had a little dust or sand on them, or some little stains, they would wear that item again. There was also a skirt of mine muddied by dog paws - instead of tossing it on top of the already-full laundry basket, I kept it aside and put it on again, whenever I had to go and feed the dog or take her for a walk. 

Of course, I still have a lot of washing to do now that the holidays are over, but today I started on it and hopefully it will all be tackled before long, together with many other things. However, I also understood that perhaps I could apply the laundry-saving method on a permanent basis, since none of us appeared to suffer form it. It could help lower our electricity and water bill, and it would also save me work. 

I hope to be back soon, and also hope I will be able to tell we are all well now. I'm looking forward to sharing with you some of the things we did on holiday, and wishing you a happy season of autumn, or spring - depending on where in the world you are.

With friendship,

Mrs. T


Leah Brand-Burks said...

I do this all the time-what with 5 people in the house, 3 of which are toddlers or babies. We almost have to do this, since we also cloth diaper. I'd be running at least 10 loads a week if we didn't! As it is, I run at least 7 per week, but that averages out to one a day. Good plan I say, since they will likely get into the same messes the next day, and so long as you aren't going anyplace special, who cares really? Hope you feel better soon

Tia said...

So right. You know, when we were children we wore our outer clothes 2,3,4 days in a row. Yes they'd get a bit grubby, but unless there was a major spill or bodily fluids related incident, we wore them anyway. School uniforms were changed 2ce a week, and that was the norm for everyone in the class.

I remember the shock and condemnation for my aunt who allowed her children to change their clothes several times a day, and then encouraged her children to put all those outfits in the laundry basket.

Times have changed, and certainly school would look sideways if I sent my girls in grubby uniforms, but I'd I can stretch our play clothes and home clothes out then of course I do. And now were down to 3-4 loads of washing a week for the three of us (which includes 2 incontinent children, and yes, those clothes definitely get washed!

I am a Girl Guide leader, and we take girls to camp. It is a real shock to them to learn that there are no laundry facilities; that they must wear their warmest clothes for several evenings in a row and that that splash of mud/soot from the campfire won't make them ill

Hearth said...

My mother says that when she was a girl, you had your play clothes - which were treated as you treated your daughter's clothes during the holidays, your school clothes (which were expected to stay relatively clean) and your church clothes (which were *never* expected to get dirty). I imagine they laundered the school shirts daily, but the skirts/pants not as often.

I still launder my skirts after a couple of wears or when they're visibly dirty. Saves ironing and water.