Live like your great grandmother did on wash day?

I only have one memory of my great grandmother.  It was her standing at an upstairs window watching me play in the yard of my grandmother’s house.  I don’t remember talking to her but I can still see her standing at that window like it was yesterday.

Old Fashion Homemade Laundry Detergent

As she was facing the last years of her life, I was a little girl full of life with no cares to what tomorrow would bring. I often wonder what she was thinking as she was watching me play.  Was she reminiscing about a time when she watched her own children play, or was remembering her own childhood?

How often I wish, I had the chance to talk to her.  To hear how she spent her days, what she did to pass the time and what she dreamed of for her children. 

What I am sure of is her days would have been filled with taking care of her home and children. Not so much different than what we do today other than the modern conveniences we’re privy too.

Today as I stared at a mound of laundry I couldn’t help but think how the laundry my great grandmother did would have been so much different than the buttons I push today. 

How spoiled we have become. Before the days of electricity and washing machines, wash day would have been an all day ordeal. It would’ve been filled with multiple tubs of water, scrubbing boards, and handmade soaps. The water would have been hauled from the well and heated over open fires and the chore would have been back breaking, to say the least.

I would love to say I have what it takes to live like my great grandmother did but I’m not sure.

I finally found heavy duty clothespins.

I’ve been line drying clothes for years, and have gone through many different styles of clothespins. From plastic, to peg, to cheaply made China pins, and no matter which ones I bought, I never could find any heavy duty clothespins that would hold up to the wind we get here on the farm. My clothes would always end up on the ground. Since I was introduced to these hand-made heavy duty clothes pins I don’t have to worry about anything ending up on the ground!


With the trend toward simplicity, many of us are looking for ways to return to our roots and live much like our ancestors did.

Am I ready to give up my washing machine…no, I think not! But I certainly can be a bit more self-sufficient by saving money on our electricity by line drying and relying on an old fashion laundry soap recipes that my great grandmother may have used.

Old Fashion Homemade Laundry Detergent

Mix all ingredients well and store in a sealed tub. Use 1/4 cup of powder per full load.

I wonder what she would think if she knew her great granddaughter was inspired to live closer to her style than the one the modern 21-century offered? 

How about you? Could you work as hard and live like your great grandmother did?

Tracy Lynn



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