Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Vintage Fun in the Laundry Room

It's Wednesday so it must be Tina. Yes, I am a Wednesday's Child, and although I am not full of woe, I usually have far to go... Laundry-wise that is. How can two people get so many clothes so dirty so fast?

I don't have a regular laundry day, do you? Years ago it took all day to get the wash done, so I guess setting aside an entire day made sense. I almost wish it was just one day, seems like I am always putting a load in the washer!
This lovely lady likes to do her scrubba-dub in the bright spring sunshine. We modern girls hopefully have a special place set aside in our homes, known as the "Laundry Room". I don't really have a room, it is more of a "Laundry Hall". But I still manage to decorate it a bit and make it my own space. I try to use vintage fun items that are colorful to brighten my life while I am spot cleaning or folding. If I can't be out in the sunshine, then I will try to bring a little into my little space.
The background of this photo is a vintage laundry bag which is both embroidered and also colored with a Tri-Chem type paint product. The lovely Bluebird seems to be saying "let's get that clothesline ready for our freshly bleached sheets and towels, get out there and enjoy the day!" This little laundry bag is not very big, only about 12 inches by 18 inches, it wouldn't hold our usual modern-day laundry load. In front are a few of my fun finds which I will show you closer up later in this post.
Like Heidi, I want a nice laundry line in my yard. I have found two vintage metal roller-pullie thingies (don't you just love this technical stuff?) which are meant to hang on a pole or tree with a quarter-inch rope strung in-between, and then you can place your clothes on the rope and send the clothes out over the yard to get that fresh-air scent that can't be duplicated by any spray. I just haven't figured out what to hang them from yet. It's only been eleven years, so I will figure it out eventually. Until then, it's the dryer with fabric softener sheets. (They do smell pretty good!
After those clothes dry, by whatever method you chose, sometimes you have to iron them. Horrors! But now we have steam irons, steamers, even magical dryers that steam our clothes and send them out the door minus wrinkles. (Well, I don't have one of those, but I can dream.)
I myself have always been an ironer. Wait, I don't think that is a word, but it should be, and I am. When I was working it was part of my morning ritual to iron what I was going to wear that day. Give me a nice solid heavy steam iron and I am happy. I have tried the little light-weight ones and they don't do it for me. Something in the weight of the iron makes me feel I am getting the job well done.
The Gold Country Girls' Mom used to "take in ironing". We grew used to the sight of dampened clothing in plastic bags in our refrigerator. But if our Mom hadn't used that method, she might have used sprinkler bottles such as the three above to moisten the clothes as she worked her way through the stack.
So now, getting back to the "decor" of my laundry room, I keep my eyes open for these lovely plastic colorful bottles with their cute cork tops to brighten the shelves in my hallway. The bottle on the left is the first I ever found, and I have had it for over 25 years. I am always on the lookout for more. These sprinklers are made by Gothamware in the USA. In the front is a sprinkler top of aluminum. Often they would be placed on top of soda bottles or another similar shaped glass bottle to use as a moistener.
These lovely little ladies, about 7 inches tall, are "Merry Maids" by Reliance. Just looking at them makes me smile. I am on the lookout for other colors. I know there is a light blue but I haven't found her in good condition yet. Someday she will be joining her friends to make merry and help me get my work done.
Here is a closeup of the original label which is still on the light pink Maid.
These egg shaped beauties are my favorites because they are so colorful. I am on the lookout for more color combinations. I would love to find some with green on them. I have always been drawn to vintage plastic items because of the lovely bright clear colors.
Well, speaking of ironing, here are two little doll house ironing boards along with a miniature iron, ready for the miniature housewife to press her clothes. At the foot of the boards is a red plastic vintage iron refrigerator magnet.
Here on the left is a sugar/salt/pepper washing machine. The salt and pepper shakers are the rollers. This sits on the shelf above the washer and dryer and inside the sugar container we place the spare change which always seems to find its way into the washer. On the right is another refrigerator magnet, which is not vintage, it is from 1992. But it is cute, with a box of detergent and measuring cup on top. It is a front-loader like my washing machine so fits right in.
I don't have the luxury of a laundry sink in my area, so I have to use this dollhouse sink instead. In front is another little magnet just 'cuz.
These cute little vintage plastic salt and pepper shakers are shaped like Westinghouse appliances. They are about 2 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches.
This is a little jumble of a few very small items I have picked up here and there just because I like them. Two bakelite clothespin buttons, a plastic coat hanger, a little plastic clothespin, and a tiny step-on type dollhouse wastebasket.
Here are two vintage plastic clothespins that are very large, 7 inches long. I have several of these, and I am not sure what they were supposed to be used for. Maybe just to hang very heavy items such as rugs. In the center is another item I have had for years. It is a Lustro Ware Soap Saver. You can open up a little space on the side and slip in the slivers of soap left over from your shower or washing your hands, and then you can swish this soap saver in the warm water and get more use out of the soap.
A closeup of the handle of the Soap Saver. What a neat idea! Patent pending.
Here is a vintage clothespin bag with lovely violets. It is full of those regular wooden clothespins that are really the best for hanging clothes. On the left is a packet of Mastro plastic clothespins: "Always new, always clean". The price is 12 for 25 cents. What a deal!
These little guys are just over an inch long. They are not vintage, but you can find the little pink and blue opaque plastic vintage clothespins once in a while which are a bit smaller. I have a few somewhere but couldn't come up with them for my photo shoot. These were from a baby shower I went to last fall. They are still really cute.
A closeup of two Mastro clothespins. They are both green, but one is darker than the other. I would like to find some other colors, perhaps they made yellow ones.
Here is a cute vintage-style picture of little girls washing their dolly clothes, and two of my dollhouse washing machines. The little green one has no markings, the pink roller washer is "A Renwal Product" made in the USA and has a partial label on the front.
Well, you can see that I try to bring a little color and playfulness into my Laundry Room, and I suggest you do the same. Brighten up laundry day, hang your clothes out on the clothesline, soak up some sunshine, stick your nose into the sheets and take a deep breath and smell that scent that is like no other. Spring is here!


Heidi Ann said...

All of your collections really do brighten up your laundry hall - and I absolutely loved this post!!

yosemite faith said...

my gram had a wringer washer by the time i came around - she would roll it into the center of the kitchen and do the laundry - no dryer for her - she had a clothes line. i remember my mom having to mix up the starch (before the spray kind) and keeping it in the fridge - once my brother john took a big swig - he thought it was pear juice! lots of neat items you have there - loved seeing them all.

Twyla and Lindsey said...

Tina, I loved seeing your laundry collections! Laundry is my favorite household chore and there's just something so heartwarming about these little vintage toys. Thanks for sharing. Twyla

Lorlore said...

Great post Tina and great vintage laundry items!!! I only do about one load a week because I don't generate much on my own!!! So I don't mind it too much.

Mary Q Contrarie said...

What cute little things. You could add a vintage clothes drying rack to your collection and save yourself money by not running your dryer. On sunny days you could even take it out side and get some of that elusive sunshine.

Heidi Ann said...

Thanks for the link, Mary Q! I love the design of that clothes drying rack. I DO dry things outside in the sun whenever I can!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I read that you are a fan of these sprinklers, and I have some for sale if you are interested. Either stop by my site or email me. or

Your website is amazing by the way.


vettiliveinnorthcote said...

Thank you so much for this post! I was given a Merry Maid recently, and knew nothing about her til I found your blog.

Ann O'Dyne said...

... and I got here from Vetti's blog and my Mom's Merry Maid was green.
Reading your post and the comments just confirms why pollution is a modern development.
Who ever would have thought that the sweet scent of line-dried laundry could seem like a luxury.

Dorothy said...

I have a Westinghouse wood folding cloths rack. It stands about two foot tall at total expansion. If you know anything about these I would appreciate the information. Dorothy Gall 541-619-1255. We live in OR.