Wash Week(s)

Laundry Night

Photo credit: “Laundry Night” by FlySi

I have two weeks left before my fall classes start so I’m trying to do at least a couple of the projects I’ve been meaning to do for the past 2.5 months.

This week: conquer the massive backlog of laundry we have.

I could blame this summer’s heat or something for the laundry that’s piled up… but that would be a lie. In truth, we always have those blue IKEA shopping bags full of laundry in our bedroom—sometimes up to half a dozen at a time.

Why? Because doing the laundry in the city can be a massive pain in the ass.

If you’ll indulge me, a brief rant about laundry (as well as those who may complain about it):

I really seriously cannot grasp AT ALL why people who live in the suburbs can’t keep up on their laundry. Do you know what I have to go through to get the laundry done? Pack it into a bag (weighing AT LEAST 30+ pounds), heft said bag onto my back or balance it on my hip while also holding the hand of a small child (who hopefully has brought enough books/games/whatever to keep herself amused), walk a couple blocks to the laundromat, sit in a hard plastic chair (and oh, I hope to god there IS a chair for me) for at least two hours, heft it back home and after all that walking to and fro and standing in laundromat, I need to get this 30+ pounds of clothes UP THREE FLIGHTS OF STAIRS. So, other bloggers/Facebook friends, I do not have ANY SYMPATHY AT ALL for your bitching about how much laundry you do, because I’m pretty sure you can just dump the clothes in your washer in your basement and then go back to your goddamn couch while watching ‘Dancing with the Gray’s American Housewife Idol or Whatever’ until it’s done SO SHUT YOUR WHINE HOLE.

Gosh, that felt good.

Anyhoo, this week (and possibly next week as well) is all about doing the laundry here in Maison Gezellig. (In my brain, I’m calling it CLEAN ALL THE THINGS! Week even though I’m only doing the laundry.) Here’s what I’ve been reading (when not at the laundromat) and/or thinking about (when I am there):

Ugh, how much of this do I even wear anyway? Okay, I could not pull off the same dress for 365 days but I am interested in the six items or less project. Although, at the same time, I could really use new jeans. The ones I have currently (yes, I own one pair, not including a second pair in black) are a little too big now (you’re sad for me, I know) and have been repaired multiple times.

My towels are shameful. They’ve all gotten pretty ratty and I have no idea what to do. I don’t want to drop a lot of (okay, truthfully, any) money on new towels, but at the same time, cheap, conventionally-grown cotton is not the greatest choice either. Plus, what do I do with the fugly towels? Most suggestions for reusing old towels involve washing your dogs and/or cars (which is no help at all) and my local animal shelter says they’re all set with towel donations.

What if I made my own laundry detergent? Okay, it’s a bit… Marge Simpson makes her own Pepsi (“It’s a little thick, but the price is right!”), but it seems dead simple to make: grated soap + borax + washing soda. I’m still trying to work out if it’s actually cheaper, though, than the Seventh Generation detergent I use now.

So… DIY detergent: cheaper or no? And where can I find good jeans for stubby legs like mine? Leave a comment here or join the discussion on Facebook.

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5 thoughts on “Wash Week(s)

  1. I made my own laundry soap for years. It probably was cheaper. It got my clothes about as clean as Seventh Generation or any of the other enviro-friendly soaps do.


    It felt a lot like work. All the grating of the castile soap, and then the method I used required me to gently heat it with the rest of the ingredients, and then I had to clean up after myself. I recall using (and therefore having to store) a separate stock pot specifically for the purpose of making laundry detergent, because the the clean up was such a PITA that I decided to keep another pot on hand that I could just rinse and forget about.

    In the end, I went with the time-savings of buying detergent. Also, friendly detergents started becoming more widely available, so I didn’t need to make a special trip to Whole Foods or the co-op.

    Have you considered an all-in-one machine?

    1. I don’t think I would make the liquid version (for just the reasons you mentioned) but I’ve seen a couple “recipes” for powdered detergent that I think I might try (if I ascertain it’s going to be cheaper).

      As much as I covet one, an all-in-one is not possible. Between a.) the cost (starting at ~1.5 years of laundry costs, not including additional electricity use), b.) a complete lack of anywhere to put it, and c.) I’m pretty sure I would need permission from the landlord (i.e. the people who vetoed us getting a dog despite offering them an extra deposit and everything) to get a washing machine = laundromat for me.

      The funny thing is, I don’t really mind being AT the laundromat (it’s the getting there/back I really hate). I like that I can just sit there and not feel like I should really see what else needs cleaning around here. It’s also pretty much the only time I ever read the entire New Yorker issue and not just the cartoons.

  2. Our lives are bizarrely parallel is so many areas: I also haul blue ikea bags up and down 3 flights of stairs, but fortunately only to the in-house laundry room. I like the super-concentrated detergents like Mrs. Meyers; they are rather ridiculously expensive but they don’t have any ingredients that will make Henry rashy.
    I use my fugly towels as kitchen/bathroom rags, instead of paper towels, for mopping and drying the floors and such.

  3. Homemade is cheaper, unless a lot of pure organic essential oils are used… then it’s probably not, but the recipe you used is cheaper. :)

  4. I just stumbled upon your blog and love how you describe unschooling. As for home made detergent (I use the liquid, but have a washer in my house) you can control exactly what goes into it. Last time that I looked at the 7th Generation’s detergent it still had SLS in it. For me that is something that I choose not to put on my body, so I decided to make my own. I dont know how cost effective it comes out to be when using the powdered, but be aware that you actually only need a little bit of detergent when doing laundry, so it does actually stretch pretty far.

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