About gDonna
The photo is my son and myself. Now days you can get a photo made to look old like this one. This photo was taken when this was the new look.

Harry S Truman was president when I was born and world war II had ended. I grew up in a time when lunch was put in a brown paper bag and a sandwich was wrapped with wax paper. There was no such thing as pantyhose, we wore stockings that attached to the rubbery clippy things that attached to the girdle. Convenience stores were not common and when we took a trip we packed a picnic basket because many places did not have fast food. Highways had places to pull over and stop, some with picnic tables. Read more ....
 

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Comments On Article: Laundry In The 1930s

1,649 posts (admin)
Wed Dec 28, 22 1:31 PM CST

If you would like to share your comments for article Laundry in the 1930s, this is where to do it! 

Click the Reply To This Topic button below to post yours.

A
39 posts
Wed Dec 28, 22 5:25 PM CST

Frankly, most of the amount of clothing is plenty!  Other than each individual's specific needs  - I'd swap some of the "party" for day wear, it really shows how much we have now that is way too much!

So interesting and a really good guideline to decluttering our own closets!

K
67 posts
Wed Dec 28, 22 6:54 PM CST

I don't have an extensive wardrobe, but I still think I could pare it down for this study.  I'm thinking 3 pairs of pants (switched out for 3 pairs of capris in hot weather), 5 shirts (short sleeved for hot weather, long sleeved for cold weather), 5 dresses (4 day dresses, 1 nice dress for weddings and funerals), 2 cardigan sweaters, 1 cashmere sweater set, 1 wool dress coat, 1 down winter coat, 1 spring coat, 2 nightgowns (1 winter, 1 summer), 5 undershirts, sufficient under clothing for daily changes to be washed weekly (so 8-10 to allow for unexpected schedule changes), 2 pairs tights,  5 pairs shoes (walking shoes, short boots, clogs, sandals, and dress shoes), 1 pair slippers, 2 summer hats, 2 winter hats, 6 aprons (I wear aprons daily and do like to change them when soiled or splattered).  And then a few pieces of clothing for exercising.  I'm going to put the rest of the clothing in a bin and store it up high in the closet.

For me, adopting a 1930s mindset based on who would have lived in my house at that time would mean that she would have had many nice garments prior to the crash and the Great Depression, but would buy fewer clothing pieces in her reduced circumstances, and would care for and mend the clothing she did have -- so that is exactly what I am going to do.

As for laundry, I wear my clothing multiple times before washing.  My intention is to use my washing machine, but to get back into the habit of line drying all of the laundry instead of just part of it.

M
4 posts
Wed Dec 28, 22 6:57 PM CST

This discussion does make me think about ways to make my wardrobe smaller. I know I have too many clothes and have a hard time letting them go, even if I don't wear them.

I would be very interested in reading Sarah's diary!

G
256 posts (admin)
Wed Dec 28, 22 7:29 PM CST

Thank you Ann E, I would swap party for day wear too because of my lifestyle. 

Kimberly F, you are doing well with your clothing plan with purpose for all your items is good. Setting the scenario based on who would have lived in your house is a great idea. 

Mary B, I am donating some of my clothing, I needed this study to give me the push to do this and other things I packed away and will leave to next year and then if I did not need it I will donate that as well.  Thank you for letting me know you interest in Sarah's diary. :)

S
92 posts
Wed Dec 28, 22 7:44 PM CST

Very informative. I spent Monday and Tuesday going through my closet looking for clothing that looks more like the thirties. I found a pair of black trousers and some blouses that looked appropriate. My yoga pants got put away. I have three dresses that will do. I do have a coat but I don't have a hat. I have two sweaters, so no change there. I'm working on getting my woolen underthings to keep me warm. I've got a couple of aprons. I'm going to learn to sew one this year, and that will make three.

It looks like we're doing the actual Depression, because a pipe that was already iffy broke completely in the extreme cold and is estimated to cost $10,000 to fix. We are now pinching our pennies for real! Unfortunately I don't have an outhouse or well handy, so we've been having to make do. I was unprepared for the extreme cold and unprepared for losing our water. We did get down all the canning jars and filled them with water while we could. I've been washing dishes in two dishpans and throwing the water in the backyard. We took the towels to the laundromat because I was about to wash them when this happened, but then couldn't. We brought them home wet and I sniffed them and they were definitely not as clean as when I wash them. Next time I think I'll hand wash just what I need, like the dishtowels and cloths.

T
25 posts
Wed Dec 28, 22 8:27 PM CST

I have a question about the way you write the costs of things in cents, with the period/point before the number:  

When you write, for example, that something would have cost ".10 cents" do you truly mean "point  ten cents" (as in one tenth of a cent?)

Or do you mean "$0.10" as in ten whole cents, one dime?

If you could please clarify, it would make it much easier for me to follow.  Thanks!

E
16 posts
Wed Dec 28, 22 9:19 PM CST

So interesting that people outsourced their laundry so long ago, like you I wouldn't have expected that in the average household, only for the wealthy. What a hard way to earn a living it would have been. 

I did a lot of our family washing by hand when we first moved to the farm as the laundromat was a 2hr return trip. Huling water, scrubbing, rinsing and wringing out. Admittedly we didn't have a winger which may have made things harder, it certainly made things heavier. It was not entirely unenjoyable though. I didn't mind it on a hot day! I confess I was pleased when we got our washing machine set up after a couple of months. I found sheets the hardest to wring and hang when wet as they would get heavy and awkward. Congratulations on getting your forum up and running, I wish you all the success with it! xx 

F
10 posts
Wed Dec 28, 22 9:50 PM CST

I remember seeing pictures when I was a child of my grandmother standing in the yard of her home by the big black pot on an open fire.  She was washing clothes in the pot of hot water and using a tub and rub board for extra dirty things.  My mother would describe draping some items such as sheets over the tall shrubs in the yard to dry.  My mother had a wringer washer when she and my father were first married.   I agree that we have too many clothes nowadays and wash them too often.  I try to hang clothes to air out and then wear them a second time before washing.  I plan to be more diligent about doing this for this study.  I already hang as msuch as I can to air dry.  I have to use clothes horses for that as I can't have a clotheline.  I miss towels and sheets that have been air dried---from my childhood.

B
33 posts
Wed Dec 28, 22 10:43 PM CST

I enjoyed the link to the vintage capsule wardrobe. I have way more undergarments then women did back then, but I only have one winter nightgown and one summer nightgown. Some things that they owned I don't own any of that item and some things I own more of. My house is from the 1940s and my bedroom closet is very small so I am limited in what I can get. I still think it is time though to go through my clothes and see what I can get rid of. I think after I pare down I might buy a few pieces that I really love. I have a vintage sweater that is my absolute favorite. I hope to find more vintage sweaters and dresses. 

What I found interesting is that in 2022 I spend way less on clothes than a wealthy woman did in 1935. It said she spent about $350 a year on clothes and I probably spend half of that all these years later. I buy almost everything at thrift stores though. 

I was also surprised that even the average people would send their laundry out to be washed. I would have thought that this would only have been an option for rich people.

I think Sarah's diary will be very interesting.

G
256 posts (admin)
Wed Dec 28, 22 10:59 PM CST

Oh no Stephanie, that is a serious expense you have there.  This cold snap has caused so many problems.  Yes, you will be on quite a journey to get your budget adjusted for this.  Washing dishes in two dishpans sounds like being at our Myrtle. What has happened at your house can happen to anyone, thank you for sharing because it is helpful for everyone to know why we need to live a prepared life.  Unfortunately the best way to learn is by having to do it.  

Tea S, thank you for asking this question, I am sorry for the confusion, it is an old habit.  It is a full five cents.  

Emma C, thank you and I am glad you are here in the forum with all of us.  Wet laundry is heavy, I struggled with sheets too, finally I had enough of that and I bought a clamp and clamped the sheets to anything that would hold and then took the other end to wring (twist) them.  I am glad you finally got the washer, had to be helpful. 

Frances M, my first washer was a wringer and I really enjoyed having that washer.  Good memories. Thank you for sharing.  

S
92 posts
Wed Dec 28, 22 11:17 PM CST

Grandma Donna, I knew how to wash my dishes because of seeing how in your blog. :) I had been feeling so smug about being prepared for the excess heat we've been having in the summer, and then the excessive cold came along to put me in my place! I am now on the fast track to learn. I didn't even know where my water shut-off valve was until I asked one of the plumbers to show me. 

G
256 posts (admin)
Wed Dec 28, 22 11:52 PM CST

Becky Sue K, thank you for sharing your thoughts about your house and wardrobe and for letting me know about the Diary.

Edited Thu Dec 29, 22 6:18 AM by Grandma Donna
H
4 posts
Thu Dec 29, 22 4:15 AM CST

I learn so much from your site. I am really surprised to read about the number of households sending out their washing!

I'd love to read excepts from Sarah's diary.

K
40 posts
Thu Dec 29, 22 5:24 AM CST

I love the idea of a 30s capsule wardrobe as well. My closet is overfilled with many things I never wear, "but may wear one day". This study is the push I need to pare that down and today is the day! Laundry is a concern in our house right now as my washing machine isn't spinning the water out of the clothes. We considered buying a new machine but in the spirit of the study, plan to make do. I expect my hand strength will increase will all the wringing that will be needed! 

I'm excited about Sarah's diary and would love to try baking/cooking along with her schedule. Thank you for offering this option!

G
256 posts (admin)
Thu Dec 29, 22 6:28 AM CST

Helen, thank you for you for letting me know your interest about the diary.

Kathryn P, I found a clamp is helpful for wringing/twisting if Charles is not home to help me wring laundry.  This will keep from straining your arms.  A bath towel that is not so bulky can be used to get water out of socks and small garments by laying out the towel and placing them over the towel and then tightly roll the towel over them and then wring the towel.  They will all have much less water in them and then hang dry the towel with the rest of the laundry. I do this because we live in a humid area and laundry often takes longer to dry. 

Edited Thu Dec 29, 22 7:14 AM by Grandma Donna
T
25 posts
Thu Dec 29, 22 8:26 AM CST

Stephanie G - $10,000 seems outrageously high for any burst water pipe in a residential setting.  Could it be that you ran into price gouging because they were getting so many calls during the freeze?  I wonder whether waiting a few weeks until all the local plumbing companies are "caught up" and then shopping around some, could get a much lower estimate from some other company.  Plumbing is one of those areas where rates between different plumbers can be all over the place even during times of normal demand, much less during a widespread emergency. 

Kathryn P - It sounds like your washing machine probably has a loose belt.  Tightening it is a very simple job on most models - basically a few bolts to loosen, tap the motor mounting clamp over until the belt is tight enough, then re-tighten the bolts.  You can probably find instructions and diagrams on the internet that are specific to whatever brand you have.  Oh, and obviously unplug it first for safety.  

Grandma Donna - Thanks for clarifying about the prices.

S
92 posts
Thu Dec 29, 22 10:45 AM CST

Tea S Thank you for reminding us to be careful when we hire services! Very important advice to check high costs. In our case, the pipe cracked about a year ago and we've been nursing it along since then. Our house is only a few years old and the pipe may have cracked due to settling since the underneath crawl spaces were dug out for all the houses when they were built, creating a lot of ground disruption. The break is under the driveway and deep in the ground. Most of the cost is for building a braced, secure hole for the men to go down into to work on the pipe. It's just unfortunate luck. :( But it certainly makes my Depression study more meaningful! :)

K
40 posts
Thu Dec 29, 22 11:38 AM CST

The towel and clamp are great ideas - I'll try both! You're right - wringing laundry quickly exhausts my upper body. I feel rather wimpy saying so...the women before us were clearly much more fit. It's quite eye opening to see how far we've come (and not in the right direction)!

D
21 posts
Thu Dec 29, 22 12:54 PM CST

A couple of random questions regarding laundry:

Pet hair:  We have a little chihuahua mix who is quite the shedder for a small dog.  Unless I run at least the "dress" clothes and the sofa cover through the dryer, it's next to impossible to get rid of all the fur!  I don't bother with towels and sheets...just hang them up.  I hang up my casual tops and jeans as well, but I notice a lot more lint on them then the clothes run thru the dryer.  Suggestions?

I am going to give homemade laundry soap a try.  Mostly because I have the amount of plastic generated otherwise.  Fels-Naptha seems to be really challenging to find around here.  What other types of bar soaps do folks use for grating?

L
40 posts
Thu Dec 29, 22 3:17 PM CST

I think someone's been watching me ;-)  For the past few days I've been going through my clothes.  I only have a small dresser and an antique wardrobe but evidently had it pretty well packed.  I've been adding to the donation box.  

So interesting the concept of weighing our laundry.  I knew it was commonly sent out but had no idea as to how it was billed.  I will try to weigh mine next week as I've already done a fair amount this week due to some other circumstances that resulted in extra.  

Also, I'm working on nailing down the finances and getting them to work with this challenge - just received our power bill for this cold blast  - ouch!  Also, Social Security began 1935, Medicare 1965, and retirement a different issue so am going to work off of net knowing those deductions weren't applicable to the time.  (If this is incorrect, feel free to set the record straight - I'm trying.) 

N
3 posts
Thu Dec 29, 22 6:17 PM CST

I am very excited to participate along with everyone else. I am 41, a wife, mom, and a professor. My husband and I have steady tenured “recession proof” jobs as professors but according to websites approximating salaries in the 1930s we made enough money to live comfortably but we had to remain frugal to live in our area (a town in the Northeast). We live in our 2 bedroom 2 bath condo and we have one grade school aged child that attends a public school one block from home. We have 1 car that is parked in garage under our building but we are fortunate enough to be able to walk to work so we rarely use it. We drive to the grocery market once a week but otherwise we are able to walk to library, post office, bank, ice cream shop and pizza place. We cook mostly at home and pack lunches. In terms of clothing and laundry, we are pretty smart about washing large loads in cold water and hanging to dry most items on an indoor drying rack. I made a list of my wardrobe items (see attached). I noticed I have a lot of gear like 3 carhartt warm legging pants, rain jackets, and winter items, comfy shoes that are important for me to walk to work in all types of weather (2.5 miles round trip walk). Also, I run/stretch most everyday so I need workout clothes. One of my main goals this year is to take care of and feel content with what I have. Most of my clothes and accessories are at least 5-8 years old but in excellent condition, simple/classic style, and I know it’ll help us save lots of money. 

Attached Photos

R
1 posts
Thu Dec 29, 22 8:20 PM CST

When doing laundry at home, did they buy premade detergent or did they make their own?  Sorry if this has already been asked or covered in another post.  Such an interesting study!!

G
256 posts (admin)
Thu Dec 29, 22 8:51 PM CST

Hello Everyone,  Debbie in PA, since we have pets too, this can be quite a problem.  I did a little research for the 20s and 30s and the only think I am finding is ads for pet soap and saying to brush the pet frequently. Like everything else it requires labor. Lol maybe sneak a small pet hair tool into the study?  Speaking from someone that has just done this because I have the same issue.  I don't want to bring products into the forum but look for a triangle shaped tool with a handle  for pet hair that works very good, I just used it today.  

Lady L, you are doing good, keep up the good work and thank you for sharing how what you are doing this far.

Nadya H, thank you for signing up for the forum, your participation, and posting our first pictures. :)  It sounds like you live a very sensible and simple life with many ways to save money by living in an area that you are able to walk to work and other places that would normally require a car or bus. It will be interesting how this study can help save money or make unexpected changes. :) 

G
256 posts (admin)
Thu Dec 29, 22 9:19 PM CST

Rhonda D, they mostly used bar soap. The price was ten bars for $0.37 cents but they sold 100 bars at a time as well.  There was chipped soap, most of the laundry soap was either rubbed on the garments or very hot water was used to dissolve the soap.  Gradually there was a grated type of soap but in the early thirties it seems that the laundry bar soap was used most often.  We are still researching this.  Thank you for your question. 

This reply was deleted.
K
40 posts
Fri Dec 30, 22 5:19 AM CST

Tea S, thank you for the suggestion about the washing machine belt. I'll have my husband look into this today!

K
67 posts
Fri Dec 30, 22 11:33 AM CST
Debbie (in PA) wrote:

A couple of random questions regarding laundry:

Pet hair:  We have a little chihuahua mix who is quite the shedder for a small dog.  Unless I run at least the "dress" clothes and the sofa cover through the dryer, it's next to impossible to get rid of all the fur!  I don't bother with towels and sheets...just hang them up.  I hang up my casual tops and jeans as well, but I notice a lot more lint on them then the clothes run thru the dryer.  Suggestions?

I am going to give homemade laundry soap a try.  Mostly because I have the amount of plastic generated otherwise.  Fels-Naptha seems to be really challenging to find around here.  What other types of bar soaps do folks use for grating?

Debbie in PA, I don't know if you have WalMart or shop at WalMart (I rarely do), but around me WalMart is the only store to stock Fels Naphtha, and it's one of those items they don't sell online -- on the WalMart website only the overpriced third party sellers sell it online.  I used to be able to get it at the grocery stores but one by one they all stopped carrying it.  I do see that the brand was sold in September 2022, so it's possible there are some manufacturing or transport changes.  Despite some social media rumors, the company itself doesn't seem to be discontinuing it; indeed, on their webpage they changed the "Purex" part of the packaging to "Zout", now calling it Zout Fels Naphtha.

That said, the soaps I've used for laundry in the past are Kirk's Castile, Kiss My Face olive oil soap, Dr. Bronner's, and Trader Joe's, however my personal experience with homemade laundry soap with these soap brands was an utter failure -- one that took me years to realize.  Eventually all of the laundry was dingy, and worse, it all had a terrible odor if it was stored at all.  I've since read that this is from the oils in the soaps, which are usually intended to be moisturizing rather than for serious cleaning.  You need a strong soap that isn't intended to leave a film on the skin.

Because Fels Naphtha has added fragrance, I don't use it regularly for my laundry.  I do use for stains (Shout + Fels Naphtha is a miracle worker:  spray with Shout, then rub the Fels Naphtha into the Shout), for very dirty loads (grated), and occasionally on the towels to strip out any embedded dirt.

Edited Fri Dec 30, 22 11:39 AM by Kimberly F
M
2 posts
Fri Dec 30, 22 6:08 PM CST

Hello!  I'm just wondering if someone can explain to me what it means to 'boil washing'?  I've read this mentioned lots of times in historic stories and documents, but don't understand how or why it was done.  Was this just the standard way to wash clothes, or was it a technique specifically used for extra dirty washing, or for getting whites whiter?  Does anyone know how long the washing was boiled for and what was done with it after that?

I'm planning to live vicariously through everyone else's 1930s lives this year, as I won't be able to change my life completely to adopt a 1930s lifestyle (even though I'd love to!).  I've always loved the way people lived in the 30s and 40s, so little by little over the years I have adopted a few simpler ways of doing things.  Most recently, my husband and I started washing our dishes with grated soap, rather than dish detergent and we're loving the results.  My husband and kids wouldn't want to change our lives completely to the 1930s, but personally, I'm aiming to use the computer and tv less and do a lot more sewing.  I can sew garments and have all the resources to do so, but just find myself constantly distracted by modern life to ever get much sewing done!  This year, I hope to sew any new garments I need, rather than buy them.  Plus I plan to alter old existing garments into new ones, rather than get rid of them.

I'm loving this new forum Donna and always look forward to your new blog posts!

K
67 posts
Fri Dec 30, 22 7:35 PM CST

Hi Melanie d!  I also won't be doing the full 1930s lifestyle with my family.  My goal is for a 1930s mindset, along with some challenges sprinkled in.  For example, I also want to sew more often, but I won't be trying to get a period appropriate sewing machine.  I'll continue to bake our bread, but I'm not going to start kneading by hand instead of using my mixer.  I'm going to use what I have when it is useful, but I don't mind hanging laundry versus using the dryer.  That said, I'll use the dryer if the weather isn't amenable to drying and switching it around doesn't work, and for the loads that I prefer the dryer because of how it sanitizes.  I really like your plan to sew your own garments and to remake existing garments into new ones -- that is well beyond my skill level at present.  Like I said, I'm mainly going for a mindset lifestyle versus buying things to live in the period.  Since I already cook almost everything from scratch, I feel like that fits in really well.

My family would have zero interest in living like the 1930s -- my young adult children wouldn't even want to live like the 1980s, lol!  But there are some things we already do in a slowed-down manner, like listening to the radio (we have several vintage radios) or to vinyl records on a vintage stereo console, playing games and card games, making music at home with guitars and a piano, etc.  We don't have a TV on all day and try to be mindful of our watching, usually only watching an hour or so per day (so maybe one TV show or a movie), with there being many days it stays off completely.

G
256 posts (admin)
Fri Dec 30, 22 9:15 PM CST

Melanie d, Laundry can be very complicated today if we wash our laundry according to stories of boiling laundry.  Boiling was done only if the fabric could handle boiling and if there was a disinfection need or some very dirty clothes. Water was boiled to dissolve soap.  In the 1930s they were coming out with no boil powdered soap called Rinso and Oxydol.

 Today much of our fabrics are made out of materials we do not understand and they could melt.  100% cotton was suggested for boiling in the past.  If further disinfection or stain removal was necessary they used some gosh strong stuff. It was advised to never boil wool socks or they would shrink.  Also our delicate items today would most likely be damaged by boiling. 

I just typed out a long answer to this question here but it was too long for a forum so I cut it out and will paste that into a blog post to save for future use.  Main thing to remember is Mimic your washing machine for hand washing. Whatever temperature you would have in your machine with your items then hand wash the same.  Boiling water helped to dissolve soap.  I hope this helps.

 

F
10 posts
Fri Dec 30, 22 9:52 PM CST

To Debbie (in PA)  re:  soap for homemade laundry detergent---- I have been making my own laundry detergent for about ten years.  I use Ivory soap and have not ever had any problems with it.  The key is to use a pure soap that does not have dyes, perfumes, or moisturizer ingredients in it.  Although mnay recipes call for using a laundry soap such as Fels Naptha, it really isn't necessary.

G
256 posts (admin)
Fri Dec 30, 22 10:35 PM CST

Debbie, I agree with Frances M. and I also agree with you Debbie and have experienced the storing away and the smell before I figured it out and one problem was I was using too much soap. 

L
4 posts
Sat Dec 31, 22 3:49 AM CST

Hello from Oregon! GDonna, I’ve been enjoying your blog for years :) I love all the pictures especially. 

I wanted to reply to Debbie regarding pet hair; I have 2 large, long-haired dogs and two long-haired cats and I also appreciate the dryer’s help in removing it. However, I also try to air dry as that uses less electricity and is better for the environment so here is what I do:

1. Brush pets frequently. I have found over the years that a brush that suits one pet doesn’t grab the hair the same for a different pet so unfortunately sometimes you have to try multiple brushes to get one that really helps. For a short haired dog you might try a bristled brush, a rubber brush, or a horse brush ( also the Equi-groomer for “equines”). 
2. Remove some hair before washing. A damp sponge, rubber brush, or dishwashing glove rubbed over the fabric all work as well/better than the rolling tapey things. I even just use my hand slightly wet and it gets so much up. Also shaking out laundry before and after washing will remove a little hair. 
3. Wash the hairiest things together and your dress clothes separately. I’ve found some fabrics shed hair easily, like my jeans, so I don’t mind washing them with socks (my hairiest items) but I have some shirts that just grab and hold hair like it’s their job and I try to wash them with delicates that are generally hair free. 
4. On that note, if possible, buy clothing/upholstery fabrics that shed dog hair :)                  

Thank you, everyone, for your posts too as I enjoy gleaning from all your experiences!
                       


M
2 posts
Sat Dec 31, 22 4:05 AM CST

Thanks Grandma Donna, that makes a lot of sense about boiling the washing. I am happy that that is NOT something that I will need to do to try and live more like the 1930s!


Kimberley F you sound like you’re doing a lot of things similar to me! I have an old record player from the 60s, plus my Nanna’s old radio that I’m going to use more often. I’m going to have to pull out the musical instruments more often too for entertainment. There really are so many ways to fill in our leisure time without needing the tv or computer.

A great source of entertainment that I love is www.1940sukradio.co.uk It’s a community radio station that plays music and news and ads from the 1940. I know it’s not quite relevant to this study, but it’s probably more relevant than listening to a modern radio station.



K
65 posts
Sun Jan 01, 23 3:10 PM CST

A small step and showing how thinking can change.

Today I handwashed my tea towels and dishcloths by hand Instead of using the washing machine.  It felt good to do so.

Then I thought hmmmmm. All small items I'll wash by hand now. 

I also noticed people often changed their top clothes only once a week (women wore aprons so maybe even less often than that)

We are so brainwashed these days by advertisements telling untruths and exaggerations so we buy their products. 


Edited Sun Jan 01, 23 6:07 PM by Karen S
K
67 posts
Sun Jan 01, 23 5:38 PM CST

Melanie d, thanks for the information about www.1940sukradio.co.uk !  When I was a young adult one of the news stations in our area played old radio programs late at night, and my husband and I would listen to the old shows commuting home from work or driving home from visiting family.  Our own children grew up listening to the same programs (and more) because of satellite radio.

We're sitting in our living room today (our California Bungalow doesn't have a parlor -- these houses were some of the first to use the term "living room"), enjoying a fire in the fireplace which has warmed the room nicely, and listening to records on the record console.  We don't keep a TV in our living room, which makes it that much easier for the study.  I imagine a family in 1932 might have spent their New Year's Day in 1932 in much the same way.

I've been tempted to get to work cleaning and organizing in my craft room, but today is Sunday, and I think many homemakers would have been glad to have their day of rest.  Of course, rest is a relative term -- by the 1930s I don't think most people were cooking their meal the night before.  I've already made sourdough waffles for breakfast, put a ham in to cook slowly, and baked cookies, and cleaned up all of the dishes from those endeavors.  In a bit I'll do more cooking for supper.  Luckily we reheated leftover fried tacos (our traditional NYE meal) for the midday meal.

B
33 posts
Mon Jan 02, 23 1:02 PM CST
Melanie d wrote:

Thanks Grandma Donna, that makes a lot of sense about boiling the washing. I am happy that that is NOT something that I will need to do to try and live more like the 1930s!


Kimberley F you sound like you’re doing a lot of things similar to me! I have an old record player from the 60s, plus my Nanna’s old radio that I’m going to use more often. I’m going to have to pull out the musical instruments more often too for entertainment. There really are so many ways to fill in our leisure time without needing the tv or computer.

A great source of entertainment that I love is www.1940sukradio.co.uk It’s a community radio station that plays music and news and ads from the 1940. I know it’s not quite relevant to this study, but it’s probably more relevant than listening to a modern radio station.



Thanks for the link to the 1940s UK radio station! I just checked it out and the music is so peppy. It will be perfect to listen to as I'm cleaning.

K
65 posts
Mon Jan 02, 23 3:13 PM CST

I've often thought about tea towels and dishcloths  and how good it is to put them into boiling water even as a rinse as most people here put them through the washing machine on a cold cycle rather than the hottest they have on their machine.

Edited Mon Jan 02, 23 3:13 PM by Karen S
K
67 posts
Mon Jan 02, 23 3:21 PM CST
Karen S wrote:

I've often thought about tea towels and dishcloths  and how good it is to put them into boiling water even as a rinse as most people here put them through the washing machine on a cold cycle rather than the hottest they have on their machine.

Karen S, I think boiling would be especially helpful when hanging towel and dish cloths to dry, as they won't have gone through the high heat of a clothes dryer.  While UV rays from the sun do have some disinfecting properties (as does the heat from the sun and the fact that bacteria don't survive as well when dried out), line drying isn't enough to truly disinfect, whereas boiling does a great job.

L
7 posts
Tue Jan 03, 23 1:15 PM CST

my favorite author, Maud Hart Lovelace wrote the well known Betsy-Tacy-Tib books which were set in turn of the century MN.  Quite a few beautiful and interesting books in the series. In the final book, Betsy gets married. She is famous for knowing nothing about the domestic arts. A mention is made about their budget; so much “for the wet wash, she would do the ironing herself”   This makes so much more sense now 

B
33 posts
Sat Jan 07, 23 11:36 PM CST
Nadya H wrote:

I am very excited to participate along with everyone else. I am 41, a wife, mom, and a professor. My husband and I have steady tenured “recession proof” jobs as professors but according to websites approximating salaries in the 1930s we made enough money to live comfortably but we had to remain frugal to live in our area (a town in the Northeast). We live in our 2 bedroom 2 bath condo and we have one grade school aged child that attends a public school one block from home. We have 1 car that is parked in garage under our building but we are fortunate enough to be able to walk to work so we rarely use it. We drive to the grocery market once a week but otherwise we are able to walk to library, post office, bank, ice cream shop and pizza place. We cook mostly at home and pack lunches. In terms of clothing and laundry, we are pretty smart about washing large loads in cold water and hanging to dry most items on an indoor drying rack. I made a list of my wardrobe items (see attached). I noticed I have a lot of gear like 3 carhartt warm legging pants, rain jackets, and winter items, comfy shoes that are important for me to walk to work in all types of weather (2.5 miles round trip walk). Also, I run/stretch most everyday so I need workout clothes. One of my main goals this year is to take care of and feel content with what I have. Most of my clothes and accessories are at least 5-8 years old but in excellent condition, simple/classic style, and I know it’ll help us save lots of money. 

Nadya,

           I appreciate your goal of taking care of the things you have and feeling content with what you have. I plan to try to do more of this myself. Like most people I have way more than I actually need but I still keep buying more things. I want to be more content with what I have instead of looking to buy more. I will have to be doing the Great Depression lifestyle more in real life because I had to get my car repaired yesterday and the whole thing for the car was almost $700! This is a huge expense for me. Now my Dad, who is 90, is in the hospital in Minnesota, over 700 miles away so that will be another expense to go up there. It will be good to see my family though.

G
256 posts (admin)
Sun Jan 08, 23 10:27 AM CST

Grandma Donna wrote, Nadya, I feel many of us will find the feeling of being content as we go through this study. I will pray for your safe travels to see your Father and your return home. I hope he will be able to go home soon.  

K
11 posts
Sat Jan 28, 23 7:07 AM CST
Frances M wrote:

I remember seeing pictures when I was a child of my grandmother standing in the yard of her home by the big black pot on an open fire.  She was washing clothes in the pot of hot water and using a tub and rub board for extra dirty things.  My mother would describe draping some items such as sheets over the tall shrubs in the yard to dry.  My mother had a wringer washer when she and my father were first married.   I agree that we have too many clothes nowadays and wash them too often.  I try to hang clothes to air out and then wear them a second time before washing.  I plan to be more diligent about doing this for this study.  I already hang as msuch as I can to air dry.  I have to use clothes horses for that as I can't have a clotheline.  I miss towels and sheets that have been air dried---from my childhood.

My mom talked about washing clothes in the big tub outside when she was a young girl.  One of her jobs was to do the ironing with an heavy cast iron with a metal handle. To hold it, you had to have some kind of cloth to protect you hand from the heat. One time, the cloth slipped and Mom’s hand was burnt pretty badly. Someone else quickly cut a potato in half and rubbed it on Mom’s hand. It must have helped with the healing because I don’t recall ever seeing any scarring or other damage to Mom’s hand. 

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