Laundry is the Mount Never-Rest of Big Families. On the road it is both more difficult and less difficult, both at the same time.
Why? you ask.
Well, the biggest difficulty is that we don’t have convenient facilities, of course. We don’t have machines to do the work for us at camp, and although we sometimes take our laundry into a lavataria (laundromat) and either do it ourselves there (as in, load the machines, change machines, fold the laundry ourselves…….ie., some work!) or sometimes we get full servicio (they do the work for us, sometimes even ironing a cotton shirt, and always nicely folding the underwear which I never ever ever in my life do!) while we rush around the city doing errands and hope to get back to camp before nightfall.
If we aren’t using machines to do the work for us, that means its our arms and backs having to do the work. And this is how we set up the Laundry Room:
We have to empty some Rubbermaids to make our wash basin and rinsing tub, both stacked on filled Rubbermaids to make it less work on our backs. We will one day probably purchase a good plunger (yes, as in for a toilet), one of those with a spiral silhouette, to use for the agitating….we hear that works quite well. But for now we use arm power, swishing around.
In the water I use some liquid laundry soap and in the rinse water I put some essential oils, changing it from time to time, oils like rose, pine or lavender.
As you can tell I get help from Everette usually. It really goes quicker and the arms aren’t so tired from the squeezing, swishing, etc.
Then we hang them on temporary lines we hang all over the place. In the trees, from our veranda, on the step-ladder, on shrubs. Wherever we can get them to dry we put them.
The simplest thing about doing the laundry while traveling……we don’t make as much laundry as we used to when living in a house. Although we’ve always done less laundry (per capita!!) than I think other families do, we did our fair share. Most days we threw a load on, simple and easy with our electrical servants.
Now we create less laundry. Well, maybe it isn’t that we create less dirty clothes, but that we wear those clothes longer and feel less pressure to wear clean clothes (& don’t worry much over mending, either). We don’t toss our slightly soiled shorts or jeans in the laundry bag but rather wear them day after day. In the tropics and summer we are wearing our bathing suits/sarongs for most of the day so our regular clothes aren’t even worn for an entire day so we wear them day after day until we think they warrant a wash. Maybe we realize it’s time because they can now stand up in the corner all by themselves, or we know that we wiped fish guts down the side of the pant leg, or mom can see what the littles have eaten as there are signs across the chest and belly of their shirts.
However, we are learning to decide for ourselves when its time to move them into the laundry bag.