FRUGAL WAYS ON THE FARM: LAUNDRY

When I was growing up on the farm, we had three sets of clothes:

  • Our Sunday clothes – the newest ones that we only wore to church and other dress up occasions. Of course, we weren’t allowed to be rowdy and get dirty at church, so we took them off as soon as we returned home and hung them back up.
  • Our School clothes – the ones that were our Sunday clothes previously.
  • Our Every-Day clothes – the ones that used to be our School clothes, a little worn, a little faded but still had plenty of wear left in them. These were only worn at home.

When we first moved to the farm, we didn’t have electricity or a washing machine. So even though I don’t remember it, I’m sure my Mom did the laundry in a wash tub using a rub board and her homemade lye soap.

The water had to be carried from the well or the branch near the house and heated for laundry day, which was once a week. Whether washed by hand or in the wringer washer, all the clothes had to be hung on the lines to dry. Mom never owned a clothes dryer.

Before we had electricity, the ironing was done with the sad irons. [We still have Mom’s sad irons.] In my pre-teens, I started doing all of the family ironing, which included pillowcases, table scarves, and all the clothes for 4 of us [except underwear]. By then, we had an electric iron. I enjoyed ironing, especially if it got me out of mopping the floor or washing dishes. The Faultless starch always made our clothes look nice.

Back then, our frugal ways were not a choice, but a necessity.

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