Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wash Day {A Little Laundry Love} ~ Collection of Inspiration

“'Washing Day” has an ill repute that it does not deserve, for laundering is a science and an art that it is a pleasure to practice, if one has skill. Make it one of the household arts which you must carefully study, and you will find it pleasurable as well as necessary."
~ Foods and Household Management, by Helen Kinne and Anna M. Cooley

Bringing beauty to the everyday in some little way is what makes a house a home and transforms a common task into a practical pleasure. Here is our collection of posts from the past, inspirational quotes, romantic homemaking tips and concepts which hope to encourage you to enjoy "wash day" in your home!

The Common Tasks

The common tasks are beautiful if we
Have eyes to see their shining ministry.

The ploughman with his share deep in the loam;
The carpenter whose skilled hands build a home;

The gardener working with reluctant sod,
Faithful to his partnership with God—

These are the artisans of life. And, oh,
A woman with her eyes and cheeks galore,

Watching a kettle, tending a scarlet flame,
Guarding a little child—there is no name

For this great ministry. But eyes are dull
That do not see that it is beautiful;

That do not see within the common tasks
The simple answer to the thing God asks

Of any child, a pride within His breast:
That at our given work we do our best.

~ Grace Noll Crowell (1877-1969)

To begin, here is some wash day inspiration in the way of pretty pictures, poems and a "Wash Day Prayer" printable. I think all the beautiful images and thoughts can be pondered as you begin your daily routine {visit here for the complete article}.

Have you been contemplating a clothesline? I am in love with them! Visit here for our clothesline collection which is sure to inspire. You will also find our seven favorite reasons for hanging clothes to dry.

To make it more enjoyable, we share a tutorial here on how to make your own decorative clothespins. Sometimes it is the little details in life that make us smile during our daily duties!

"The Work of Our Hands ~ A Homemaker's Wash Day" shares the therapeutic and spiritual opportunities we have while managing our home {visit here for the complete article}.

Abigail Adams and granddaughter Susanna watch as a servant hangs laundry in the East Room– by Gordon Phillips

Did you know that the First Lady, Abigail Adams had some very sobering thoughts about laundry for wives? Visit Laundry Lessons from Abigail Adams for the complete article. 

Laundry in our household is a family affair. Here are some ideas to get your children involved (and learning at the same time) so that wash day doesn't overwhelm you. Between three and four years of age, children can begin to fold napkins, dishcloths, match socks, etc. A shorter clothesline at their level can be placed in the backyard where they can hang tedious items like socks and such for you. Older children can be taught to sort laundry (whites, lights, darks), remove all items from pockets as well as fold and put piles away. This will tremendously ease your work load while teaching responsibility and home economics to your children at the same time.

"Our Elizabethan ancestors dried their clothes and bed linen on rosemary or lavender bushes to infuse them with the smell and scented the washing water with orris root. We have many more possibilities, because although most of us haven’t seen a rosemary bush big enough to hang our double sheets over, we do have a multitude of essential oils which can be used in the wash, the dryer... And it is not just about making clothes smell sweet, as we shall discover....

If you have a washing machine put 3-5 drops of your chosen essential oil into the softener compartment. If hand-washing, put 2 drops in the final rinse water and swish it around. Avoid the resinous oils, and some of the heavier oils such as rose which tend to cling to the clothes in the wash but are fine to use when drying or storing clothes. To add delicious fragrance to your wash try lemongrass or lavender. If you prefer a more exotic perfume, try ylang-ylang or neroli. If winter colds or flu have struck the household, put eucalyptus, rosemary, or pine in the wash. These oils are especially beneficial on bed linen to relieve coughs and catarrh throughout the night. If whooping cough is in the house, use hyssop and peppermint. If insomnia is the problem, marjoram, chamomile, or orange blossom will help to aid sleep if used when rinsing the bed linen or nightwear. To infuse clothes with an essential oil when putting them through the tumble dryer, simply add 2 drops onto a piece of material no larger than 4 inches square and pop it in with the clothes.

Here are some oils you might like to try:

FRESH Lavender Bergamot Rosemary Pettigraine

FLORAL Geranium Neroli Palma rosa Bois de rose

ROMANTIC Ylang-ylang Jasmine Rose Vervaine"

"Another mode of systematizing relates to providing proper supplies of conveniences, and proper places in which to keep them. Thus, some ladies keep a large closet, in which are placed the tubs, pails, dippers, soap-dishes, starch, blueing, clothes-lines, clothes-pins, and every other article used in washing; and in the same, or another place, is kept every convenience for ironing."
~ Beecher, Catharine & Harriet Beecher Stowe, American Woman's Home, 1869

The Victorian Era Beecher sisters would have loved the concept of a modern day "laundry room". Visit here for a look inside ours. It was rather a dark and spooky space when we moved in. We painted it a cheerful blue and used some second-hand finds to make it into a pleasant place to work in. You will also find some printable laundry room labels and other thrifty ideas to perk up your room. We also share seven different styles and sets of laundry room art for free here! Feathering your nest is so much fun.

In the cold months, I added a few homemaking touches to brighten those dark and dreary days. I called it the "winter blues". You will find a different set of laundry labels and other fun homemaking ideas to make your place special {visit here for the complete article}. 

Making your own fabric softener is a simple two-minute project that will save you money and lend a romantic touch to your wash day. You can decorate recycled bottles to store your fabric softener and display them in your laundry room. We share two recipes on our website: A Scented Fabric Softener which utilizes essential oils and a Frugal Fabric Softener which uses citrus peels and herbs. Of course, you can always use plain white vinegar during the final rinse but do be sure to prettify your container before displaying it in your washing area. It does make the work lovely!

{Note: When using vinegar based fabric softeners, do not add to loads containing bleach!}

A stain removal chart is also handy to have in your wash area. Here is a printable of "Stain Removal Basics" from Martha Stewart. This can be hung in your laundry room in an inexpensive frame as practical decoration, tacked onto a bulletin board or placed in some other convenient location. You may also choose to store the chart inside of your herbal for reference in the "Laundry Room" section {you will find our printable herbal here which is simply a book of household wisdom}.

Here is also an easy recipe to make your own stain removal spray. It takes only a minute to make but features all natural ingredients that even your children can use safely.

If you enjoy simple sewing and handcrafting, then you may be interested in creating a "clothespin apron". This is such an easy project! We used a large napkin and a vintage piece of linen to make ours (all you need to sew are four straight lines!). Visit here for the tutorial.

“When you choose to work with a willing, happy heart,
you become a beautiful source of joy to all.” 

I hope you have been encouraged to love your laundry just a little bit more. If we must do a task, we may as well embrace the task! Oh, and before you go, below is a bit of wash day advice from on old friend. Methinks there is a lot we can ponder on as we clear out our brimming baskets.

"There is so much dirty linen in our own house needing to be washed that none of us need to take in our neighbour’s washing.  “Mind your own business,” is a command that might have been spoken by Solomon himself, and the apostle Paul was inspired to write to the Thessalonians, “Study to be quiet, and to do your own business;” and he and Peter very sternly condemned those who were “busybodies in other men’s matters.”
~ Charles Spurgeon

All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsGood Morning Mondays,  The Scoop, Tuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link Up and Create, Bake, Grow & Gather. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them). For some laundry room clip art, visit here.


  1. Such an inspiring post - I almost wish my laundry wasn't caught up! Love those pretty clothespins,too. Now, I'm wondering if you used fabric or paper for the decorations. I see one of the ladies at the river brought her soap in a bottle. :)
    Have a great Wednesday!

  2. Thanks for posting. Laundry, sadly, is one of my least favorite house chores. It often feel like a burden because it takes so much time, and feel like I never have a full day to do it.
    That, and I live in apartment and must take my laundry elsewhere.
    Every time I read your post about laundry, it does inspire me though. Even without my own laundry room, it give me ideas and impetus to do what I can -- maybe make a lovely tote of laundry supplies, etc?
    Thanks for posting! It was much needed encouragement for me.

  3. Hi Jes,
    This was a post filled with loveliness! Poems, scents and the prettiest imagery!!! Making a chore become a happy honor!! :-D Thanks for these inspirations!
    Many Blessings and warmth, Linnie

  4. You make wash day sound fun and look beautiful :) I love hanging clothes on the line and even better is their lovely scent after being out in the sunshine.

    You are such a joy, JES. Thanks for sharing. Hugs to you!

  5. I tried today!! A little on the chilly side, but the sun was shining! So - I hung a few things out... even though the yard was a muddy mess.

    Sooner than I wanted, I had to bring it all back in as the skies have darkened and it looks like it could rain any minute. :(

    Lovely post! I LOVE those two quotes there at the end. Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Thank you so much for sharing!

    I dó love to do the laundry and hang it outside to dry. Not always as quick dryed as I would love, but that lovely scent! Nothing compares to that.. Well.. maybe a.. anyway..

    Love from Holland!

  7. Did you buy the clothespins like that, or did you beautify them yourself? So lovely!

    1. Hi there! These were a gift (I think from Michael's). I also love them :) My daughter and I will be trying to make some ourselves and if we succeed, I will share that too :) Thanks for taking the time to comment!

    2. Such a great article!! Now, I'm wondering if you and daughter have succeeded in making some of those clothespins? I am just itching to make my own, but have no clue where to begin!! :-)

    3. Ah, great reminder Chyrll! I will try and get that on the website soon! :) I am glad you like them as well as I do!

    4. Simply a clothespin reminder :-)

    5. So sorry! YES, I finally bought some extras to photograph a tutorial. I will try for it very soon!!! :)

    6. Hi Chryll, I finally have the tutorial up! :)

  8. Here in Michigan the weather isn't warm enough to hang laundry outside until the middle of April. But I have 3 stand alone cloths racks which I use in the winter or when it is raining. We got rid of our dryer several years ago an have never regretted it.
    Susan from Michigan

    1. Hi Susan, thank you for sharing! I would love some drying racks too! We also ditched our dryer a few years back but on those cold rainy winter days, my house is one big maze of clotheslines ;)

  9. Hi JES, I love the pretty pink clothes pins!

  10. I make my own laundry detergent sometimes and LOVE Lemongrass and Lime Essential oils in them. I used sweet orange essential oil before that. We painted our laundry room blue, too. Isn't it such a great color for the laundry room?

    1. I couldn't agree more :) Thanks for sharing here today! Also, the lemongrass and lime sound wonderful. I will have to try those out.

  11. I love those pretty pink clothes pins. I grew up with my Mom hanging the clothes on the clothes line and I even had one at our last house. I cannot have one at this one because our neighbor has 4 dogs he keeps near our back yard and you can guess what it smells like in the summer most of the time. Would not want my clothes smelling like that. HA! HA!

  12. Wow JES! This was full of much delight in regards to home ~ making. I truly loved every bit of this.
    Your beauty shines forth my dear friend.
    You have inspired me with many ideas.

    Bless you, Debbie

  13. Some really great tips on how to make work feel beautiful! I love the inspiration you always share and the beautiful images and thoughts to go along with it. When I see the pictures of the women down at the creek washing clothes, it makes me very thankful for my washing machine, and how much easier my life is today, than theirs was. Once again Jes, a wonderful post!

  14. Dear Jes, what a lovely photo and that material was so pretty! I do love to hang my clothes on the line. I just have to watch for the high winds that can come at any time!
    I also think that clothes pin bag is just so handy and cute ta-boot...
    Happy Day, Roxy

  15. I loved this post! The laundry is an ever-present chore and how nice to add dignity and beauty to it! I love those clothespins... so pretty. :)

  16. I thoroughly enjoyed this post. I have always loved hanging out my bed linens, and bleaching the whites with the strength of the sun. Thank you for the tips about the essential oils. I will certainly look into this - lavender would be my choice.
    Visiting from Charm of Home.

  17. I just found you! I just love this post and your pictures! I will join in with your next link up too. I blog about homemaking and living a lovely life on very little money!
    Thank you so much I will be a regular now!

  18. I love your post. I don't like doing laundry but I do LOVE hanging my laundry on the line to dry! Strange I know, but there is something about warm sunshine, fresh air and the green grass under my feet. And nothing beats looking out the window to see white sheets waving in the breeze.

  19. Gorgeous post and pics. Makes you stop and think a bit and remember your mum having Monday as a `wash day´ and helping her hang washing on a line strung across the garden, sigh. love the pretty pegs,

  20. Congratulations on being chosen as a Featured Post on this week's Wildcrafting Wednesday! We've returned to your lovely blog time and again for quaint inspiration that makes us feel right at home. Have a blessed Easter.

  21. Great post. Congrats on being chosen as a featured post on this week’s Wildcrafting Wednesdays! I hope you'll join us again and share more of your awesome posts.

  22. Oh my you make washing day look like so much fun. What a great post!

  23. Thank you for the essential oil suggestions!! I don't mind doing laundry, and we hardly ever use our dryer - choosing instead to line dry as much as possible. (That gets a little tricky for heavy sheets or diapers during our Alaskan winters, I admit.) I love the idea of a whiff of scent left in the clothes. I am going to try this next wash load....I just happen to have some lavender essential oil on hand. :-)

  24. some one already asked about the clothes pins ...can't wait for the tutorial. I thing having something pretty like that will make handing up clothes so much more joyful than it already is!

  25. What a nice way to make an everyday chore a little more enjoyable. I also love the old wash day pictures. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you’ll join us again next week!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

  26. I have never enjoyed laundry no matter what I try to make it a happy place to be, I know why now as I have aged it became clearer that (I do love my mum but she was and is a very domineering lady), my mum whom I do luv (See previous note) never let me be during it, I was washing things to hard... not hard enough... to cold a water... or to hot.. enough wasting soap.. what don't I have eyes to see that it needs more soap.......thus my serious dread of washing clothes. I shall try a few pretties and maybe a quieter spirit will permeate my laundry room. After all in this day and age we simple sort load and go right so it shouldn't be an emotionally arduous task, but it brings me back to a little 9 yr old trying her best to do something with little or no instruction and inevitably doing it wrong. Always wrong (and heaven forbid a dark sox in with a lighter load...) I shall go in search of pretties and see if my head and heart can catch up to the intent of this lovely article.

    1. I am sorry to hear about your memories. I am sure your mother meant well but sometimes our perfectionist spirits can muddle things up!!! Here is to a "clean" slate in the laundry room! :) Perhaps the printable Wash Day Prayer we share above will help to put things in perspective! :)

  27. Wow, I think my wife would love these clothespins! She loved doing the laundry, carefully sorting each piece by color and making sure to pretreat each stain. I think all Moms have this same sentiment of doing each chore with love.

  28. Visiting from the Homestead Blog Hope and I am in love with your images! Beautiful pictures. Makes me yearn to make my home more beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

  29. A thoroughly enjoyable post Jes and fabulous projects and tips too.
    Thank you for sharing this week at Create, Bake, Grow & Gather. I'm delighted to be featuring this post at tonight's party.
    Hugs, Kerryanne