For those of you
who may not have noticed, Alison and I are cousins due to the fact
that our mothers are sisters. These two wonderful women are from a
certain generation and social background, were raised in a certain
manner, and expect things done in a certain way. Let's just say that
they are "particular".
In my mother's house
there was no dust. It was not allowed to exist. There was never any
mess or clutter; silver gleamed, crystal sparkled, floors shone and
the furniture was lemon-oiled once a week. Mom not only used window
cleaner and towels to do the dozens of windows at home, but also razor
blades and Q-tips "to go around the edges and in the corners."
(!!!!!) Everything was ironed, and I mean EVERYTHING, right down to
our undershirts. All laundry went outside, and my mother almost never
used the dryer, even in the winter. (She was also a full-time teacher.)
So.... when Mom last stayed with my partner and me in our little Shinjuku
Tokyo apartment, I was gobsmacked, absolutely stunned, over the moon
even, when she said to me one afternoon up on our roof garden where
the laundry was
hanging, "Your whites are so much whiter than mine!" OH!
My whites are whiter than Mom's! MY!!! WHITES!!!!!! How could that
possibly be you ask? Well, allow me to let you in on my little
secret: DON'T USE AN AUTOMATIC WASHING MACHINE OR DRYER, AND HANG
YOUR LAUNDRY OUTSIDE!!!
That's right. You
heard me. They waste water and power, and add unnecessary pollution
to the environment. I have an "old fashioned", yet newly
produced, two tank manual machine. Too labour intensive you say? PSHAW!
I can do three loads in the amount of time an automatic machine takes,
and I USE THE SAME WATER FOR ALL THREE LOADS! It's also amazing how
clean this powerful little washer gets clothes.
Let's say I'm doing
two loads of whites and one load of darks. I start filling the tank
and add the detergent, just a tiny bit, because my husband and I are
both white collar workers, so our clothes don't get that dirty. Things
that need an extra bit of cleaning go in first when the water is low
and the detergent is still concentrated. (This would be my husband's
underwear as he has IBS, and, well, sh*t happens!) Next, as the tank
is still filling, I would throw in the completely white things like
T-shirts, white dress shirts etc. and let them swish around for a
couple of minutes. They do NOT need an eight or ten minute wash cycle.
Too hard on your clothes and a WASTE OF POWER! I pull them out and
dump them in the extractor tank to the right, set the dial for spin
and while they're being spun, I'll throw the second load of whites,
or lightly coloured laundry into the wash water. Pull the spun-out
clothes out of the spinner, dump in load number two, start them spinning
and throw in the dark load. Same water for THREE loads of clothes.
Up to this point it has taken about fifteen to twenty minutes. ONLY!
has been spun dry, I drain the wash tank, and fill it with clean water.
The clothes go into the rinse in the order they were washed, and then
they get spun out. I never EVER do two rinses like an automatic machine.
WASTE! I use very little detergent, so there is no need for two rinses.
WASTE! WASTE! WASTE! I spin the clothes the second time, (the extractor/spinner
is so good that the clothes come out barely damp), and then hang them
out in the blazing
Tokyo sun. If you can help it, you should NEVER use a dryer. EVER!
They are an enormous waste of power, (think how much they add to your
electric bill!), and are hard on your clothes. Hanging laundry inside
helps add moisture to the air in a centrally heated, dry home, and
hanging it outside makes everything so much brighter and nicer smelling!
The whole process, including hanging out took less than 45 minutes!
Waste of your valuable time you say? PSHAW, I say again!
Nobody is THAT busy! I listen to music, watch the people down on the
street (our machine is outside on the roof), read a mag or a book,
do my nails, putter in the garden, pick my nose, play with the dog,
or just stare into space. VOILA!