(Kari Kopnick is doing a series of articles about life on Benson Hill, and how things are changing with annexation to Renton)
I was thinking about laundry on a trip through my neighborhood the other day. I mean, laundry, boring, drudgery, right? Yep. I mean, OK, it’s not like my great grandmother’s day when you really had to DO the laundry with a fire to heat the water, and the lye soap you made yourself, and the scrubbing done by hand. That’s true. But it’s still a pain. My laundry room isn’t one of those cute ones like you’d see on the TV network. It’s a dark little space with, well, lots of laundry in it!
Over the years of raising kids I’ve had different systems to get our clothes from yucky and dirty to clean and organized. There was a period of denial that there even was laundry. That led to monstrous piles of laundry—I used to even joke we’d become a new religion that involved worshipping the laundry gods and those piles were our offerings.
Well, then when the babies were a little older and I could breathe every other day I decided to do laundry once a week. Wednesday was laundry day. I had to go out and buy more socks and underwear for everyone, and by Tuesday we all were dressed a little oddly, but it worked.
Then when I worked the swing shift for a few years my husband came up with the ultimate system for laundry. He’s an engineer, and I’d highly recommend an engineering degree for anyone planning to run a house; either that or a brain that works like his.
This is what he did: the laundry gets washed and dried all day. Our laundry room is off the kitchen so you always know when the washer and dryer aren’t running because it’s quiet. So in the morning you can get thru two loads. Add one before dinner and one after and even my soccer-playing-dirt-collecting family gets through it all. Then, here’s the brilliance: everyone takes a laundry basket of clean clothes to the biggest bed in the house. You dump it all in the middle of the bed and then sort it as fast as you can—by throwing every sock and shirt and every last thing at the person it belongs to. I have three boys, so it works great. Well, unless one of them lays down in the middle of the bed, then the other kids just pile laundry on top of them!
So this system has worked for a couple of years, but now everyone is busy with, teams, clubs, plays and friends. All that fun is taking up our evenings. So heading through my neighborhood I came up with a new idea. These brilliant folks, neighbors of mine, have their washer and dryer OUTSIDE! Right in the yard! Hey, maybe they even use rainwater, and wind power to run them. I can get behind this. I’d take a nice nature walk, pass through some bushes and trees, walk along next to the other appliances (not sure why they’re out there yet…..I’ll let you know if I figure that one out). And then with June Cleaver-like pep, I could cheerfully wash my family’s clothes. I would be almost like my ancestor women. It would combine fresh air, exercise and clean clothes. Perfect.
But wait? What about when we really, legally, officially become a part of Renton over here on Benson Hill? I wonder what our new city is going to say about a washer and dryer (and freezer and stove) outside in the front yard?
Hmmm, I’ll have to think on this one.