Much of our lives is lived through insignificant routines. We shower, have breakfast, brush our teeth, cook, shop, do the washing, hang it out. We usually complete these chores the same way without ever questioning why. Most of the time we are on autopilot.
Take hanging out the washing for example. Everyone has a theory about the best way to do it. Whether it is putting like items together, not folding sheets, jeans to be hung from the top or T-shirts from the bottom, logical justifications abound. There are even YouTube clips showing the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way to complete this chore.
Of course, I also have my way of doing things, but I have never been a stickler for rules. According to YouTube, my washing line would hardly pass muster. To me, if I’m in the right mood, hanging out the washing is a chance to act on a whim and see where my imagination takes me. I have had many favourite types of pegs for example. The colourful ones allowed for a myriad of different patterns – all blue one day or green and red the next. But I gave up on plastic pegs as they perish quickly and only add to the landfill. Next, I bought circular wire pegs from the Blind Society. The problem with these was that they were all dark green and I lost too many in the grass. I did wonder whether this was a cosmic joke played on us sighted people. Red would definitely have been a better choice of colour. Eventually, I bought some stainless-steel pegs which will probably last twenty years or more. They are bright and shiny and easily identified when dropped.
When it comes to pegging clothes, my underwear is suspended in rows like fruit bats hanging from a Morton Bay fig tree. My socks look like Christmas stockings waiting to be filled. The rest is hung higgledy-piggledy as my fancy takes me. I do like trialling different shapes that I can make with clothes, my favourite being a cow which requires a jacket and a T-shirt, as in Helga Stentzel’s washing line artwork (https://www.helgastentzel.com/). As I play with the different combinations, hanging out the washing is no longer a chore but a chance to be creative and escape the mundanity of a boring household chore.
The extra few minutes I spend give me a chance to enjoy a fanciful moment and smile at my crazy creations. I become playful, which is a feeling foreign to so many adults. I like that I don’t have a set way to hang out the washing, that I don’t bow down to the gods of ‘efficiency’ in my private life. There’s more than enough of that nonsense in the workplace without bringing it home.
6 thoughts on “Hanging out the washing”
Bravo! I used to resent hanging washing so much. Then it became my spiritual practice! Love the art you linked too
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Thanks, Seana. I agree, just about anything can be a spiritual practice if it is done mindfully.
I see hanging out the washing as a chance to get some vitamin D! It seems that 10 minutes is just about the right amount of time to make a difference.
And I agree, we need to make time to be playful.
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Up until now, there was very little Vitamin D to be had in Millthorpe. However, we now have a heatwave.
Love your whimsy ! Hanging out washing for me is an act of sun worshipping…
Not in mid-winter is isn’t! Now, however, everything dries in an hour. The heat wave has even reached Millthorpe!