How many of you find this an activity that leads to conflict in the household?
Who taught you how to hang washing? Why do you do it the way you do?
Have you ever considered these questions?
I’m going to right now. Well, first I’m going to explain why.
As many of you know, I live with David and because I moved in with David who already had a washing machine, and because he is the most super of house-hubbies, he has been doing the washing ever since. Okay, one day I might learn how to operate his digital washing machine, but until I develop the courage to take that on, I’m happy enough to leave things as they are. Well, this morning some washing had come to the end of its cycle (or so I thought) so I said I’d hang it out. I was just wanting to promote the ‘we’re in this together’ feeling and he was busy with something else…
So I dragged the load out of the machine, impressed that it could hold such a big load too! I started to hang things…the way I always hang them…the way I’ve been hanging them since I was probably knee high to a gnat and my mother began training me in the Finer Art of Hanging Wet Clothing on a Washing Line. I hang tops right across the line with the pegs placed on the seam under the armpit area where the sleeve joins the body. The reason for doing this is that the top dries nice and flat and either 1) needs little ironing in the case of more traditional cotton based fabrics or 2) just needs folding with more modern poly-cotton models. You can see this is based on sound science and generations of experimentation and discovery. House-hubby noticed what I was doing and commented, “Don’t you think it would be better to hang them from the end? Wouldn't they dry better then?” or similar. I smiled (I think…maybe not) and said, “Let’s see what happens shall we?”
Notice that I swiftly avoided conflict in the outer world but my inner world was piping up in protest!
- “Well, don’t you think that if I thought they would dry better some other way then I’d hang them some other way??”
- "I’m 55 years old. I've been hanging washing on the line since I was knee high to a gnat. I think I know what I’m doing, don’t you?” (insert raised eyebrows here)
- ”My mother showed me how to hang washing and I've always done it this way…and it works just fine!”
- “I've dried washing on boats in ten days straight raining…don’t tell me how to dry washing!!!”
I smiled to myself. I don’t mind if he brings it all inside to dry. That’s okay. I did wonder about whether I’d pulled them out too soon. The machine kept beeping a little digital song at me while I was getting things out and I noticed a light flashing alongside rinse (after I’d finished hanging them all), but they all smelled clean and not soapy (yes, I checked by rinsing a small item under the tap because they did seem a bit soggy; no soap came out!) and it seemed to have finished doing whatever it was doing. It was still and quiet. Now I think it was sitting quietly waiting to add more water for the second rinse. Right now I’m thinking I won’t give up my day job! I may well be banished to the computer to keep doing something I understand better; writing!
My cousin has a special way of hanging washing too. She likes to use matching pegs; each item has two red pegs or two blue pegs or two orange pegs. Or she did some years back – don’t know if that’s changed. I’m not sure if it’s something she learned from her mum or just something she does…must ask sometime!
When I lived in Southern Tasmania a long time ago I used to boil all our handkerchiefs. I used a pot specially reserved for that job, and I’d hang them on the lines I had strung up inside near the fire…and I used to count them. I know, it’s weird but I did. Do you know we had somewhere in the vicinity of eighty handkerchiefs? That’s ridiculous!
How about this one! I once read that towels actually dry more quickly if you hang them over the line rather than from the end. There was some scientific explanation for it in the article, but I can’t remember now; something to do with air flow…like with sailing boats. I hope someone out there might test it with a timer and get back to me with the results so I can use the data to shore up my reasoning for hanging stuff across the line. It seems probable that the Hanging of Washing has forged habits and fostered theories world-wide…and no doubt conflict and arguments.
I remember once doing a Positive Parenting course and the presenter used the Fine Art of Hanging the Washing to explore and expose the different ways that we do things…all sorts of things…and how we can be so sure we do things the ‘right’ way or the ‘best’ way. Really, we just do things differently. I might struggle with the intricacies of the digital washing machine, but in the end we get clean, dry clothes to wear and that’s the main thing. It’s not worth arguing about.
I’d love to hear about how you hang the washing; maybe I’ll learn some new tricks from you!