Renaissance Mama

Renaissance Mama’s Guide to Laundry Management

I have nine children.  Collectively, they make a lot of laundry every day.  I knew this.  It is not a fact fully appreciated until one is unable to do the laundry on a daily basis.  In our case, this was occasioned by our laundry room supply lines freezing, and staying frozen, for days, in the midst of Christmas busy-ness, and coinciding with a round of stomach bug.

This was the result:

This is what twelve loads of laundry looks like.  I started with twenty.

This is what twelve loads of laundry looks like. I started with twenty.

Well, actually this is a little more than half of the result.  Suffice it to say that every stitch of clothing needed laundering.  If you are being swallowed alive by laundry, then I offer here a couple of simple suggestions to tame the laundry tiger.

I had threatened to considered reducing everyone’s wardrobe to just two outfits, but I get far too much pleasure from making new ones for them to wear, so that wasn’t realistic.  I assume that isn’t a realistic option in your home either.

First, catch up all of that laundry!  I know from recent experience that I can quite easily get eight loads done in one day with a single washer and dryer.  If pushed to my absolute limit, I can get a full twelve loads done in one day.  You can do it!  If you have to, drive it to a laundromat, commandeer the entire bank of machines, and spend a rather pleasant, if expensive, two hours reading a good book and sipping an overpriced, but delightful flavoured coffee of your choice before packing it all up to bring home.

About six loads to go...

About six loads to go…

Twelve hours later, all twelve loads done.

Twelve hours later, all twelve loads done.

Now… From this day forward, assign someone (or a team of someones – Team Francis at our house this month) to collect the day’s dirty laundry at bedtime, after the children have changed into their jammies.  Run those clothes down to the laundry room and get them going.  In our house, we can all get into our jammies at the same time (including the adults), I understand that’s not the case for some families whose Mamas or Papas work the night shift.  Just hold their clothes over to go in with the night collection.  After story time and tuck-in, I still have a good three hours before I go to bed, which leaves ample time to get those two loads of laundry done.  One light, one dark.  I even have time to pop a load of towels in from bathtime.  Noooo problem.

You can save the sheets for Saturday morning, or for every morning if you like uber-clean sheets.  If you’ve got cloth dipes, you can run that load during the day some time.  First thing in the morning is the best since they have a chance to line dry all day if the weather is fine.

No laundry build up, nothing for the dog to lounge in (please don’t ask), nice clean rooms.  Peace will reign and all will be right with the world.

Ahhhh, now THIS is what you notice coming into the mudroom.  It is still Christmas here at Chez Gadbois!

Ahhhh, now THIS is what you notice coming into the mudroom. It is still Christmas here at Chez Gadbois!

 

Please excuse the terrible iPhone images.  I’ll treat you to some better ones again – not of my dirty laundry.   Soon, promise.

Alphabet

Sometimes the children will take out packs of flashcards to occupy their playtime.  The bright colours laid out on the floor really caught my eye.  We are so blessed to have beautiful things to use and to play with.

alphabet6

alphabet5

alphabet4

alphabet3

alphabet2

alphabet1

alphabet8

{Making a Home} : Beautiful Floors

We chose to use natural, non-toxic finishes in our house, including old fashioned milk paint and natural oiled and waxed floors from finishes we made ourselves. That means a bit more work, but no worries about chemicals out-gassing into our home and making everyone sick.

We were so blessed to have intact wood floors that needed only a sanding before refinishing, though we did have to pull some linoleum from the hallways.

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

After the floors were sanded and the dust removed, we applied a linseed oil finish that we made ourselves. No scary boiling, no nasty chemical solvents. You still have to be awfully careful because the orange oil is strong and doesn’t feel nice on bare skin in that concentration and quantity.

Renaissance Mama’s Floor oil {to cover up to 1400 sq ft}:
2 gal. Flax oil
2 gal.Orange oil
5 gallon bucket (or size appropriate to your project), with a gamma seal to close it up tightly.

All you need are equal parts of both oils mixed together in your bucket with a clean dowel. The orange oil helps to loosen the flax oil, which is very viscous. Thinner flax oil will spread, penetrate, and dry better.  Coverage depends upon the dryness of your wood.  If you don’t need as much as this, it’s easy to make smaller quantities.  Super simple.

Spill onto your floor and spread with a squeegee. Work quickly in sections and be careful to spread evenly – don’t leave any puddles. Blot the floor with a car or bar mop cloth. You may also wish to apply kraft or contractor paper after waiting 30 minutes. In 24 hours, check to see if your wood has fired or not (it shouldn’t in most cases). If it has (the grain pops up and makes the surface rough), do a light sanding and wipe-down before repeating the oiling process.

Then after another 24 hours, you are ready to wax! You don’t need to wax if you don’t want to, but it makes the finish much more durable, which is important with our big, busy family.

Renaissance Mama’s Floor Wax {Updated}:

1 lb beeswax
1 lb carnauba wax (makes a nice, hard finish. This is what is in Turtle wax)
3 quarts olive oil (increased from 1/2 gallon to make the wax easier to use and apply)
2 oz. essential oils of your choice (I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our Essence of Chrism oil for this and it compliments the orange oil scent)

In a double boiler, candle pot over simmering water, or homemade Bain Marie, combine the waxes and olive oil together.  Stir, stir, stir until the waxes are melted.  Remove from heat and wipe the bowl.  Wait a couple of minutes and add the essential oil. Pour into large, clean disposable baking tins and let cool. You can use this wax on positively EVERYTHING. Wooden toys, floors, furniture. If you add oil soluble pigments, you can rub it on painted walls for a really beautiful, luminous finish.

This recipe makes enough for about 225 sq. ft. depending upon how dry your wood is.  {I made 6 times this recipe to start with for the first and second floors of the house}

Scoop out a handful (for floors) and spread it around. Work quickly in sections. Have a partner come behind with a buffer and buff the floors to a gorgeous sheen as you go. WEAR SOCKS, bare feet, or cover your shoes with scuffs. DO NOT wear your street shoes on the floor until the buffing is done. Apply a second coat if you’d like.

Wait 12 or more hours before putting your rugs back down to give the wax enough time out in the air to harden up.

 

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

{Making a Home} | Beautiful Floors

Easy peasy! Well, OK… Simple. But hard work. Soooo worth it though.

You can buy your bulk supplies for a big oiling/waxing project at Jedward’s. They were crazy fast, but we’re not that far away.

What to Do When You’re Convalescing

Make something.  In the kitchen.  With a little helper.

In the Kitchen

In the Kitchen

 

In the Kitchen

In the Kitchen

In the Kitchen

In the Kitchen

In the Kitchen  In the Kitchen In the Kitchen

I highly recommend it; and it is just what I did today.  Joséphine and I made something for snacktime while the other kids sorted socks at the table, and while the soup bubbled away on the stove.  It is our own invention, and completely delicious.  I think you can see that Jo agrees.

You can get the recipe here.

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