Unexpected Pleasures: Finding Joy in Daily Routines

Finding joy in daily routinesLine drying clothes always seemed like a lot of work. Rather than just throwing laundry from the washer to the dryer, I would have to haul a heap of damp clothing outside, individually clip each item to the clothesline, and then remember to come back later to take everything in again.

In the meantime anything could happen—rain, wind, or even nosey neighbors laughing at my dainties. Despite my misgivings, however, when we rented a small house with a gorgeous backyard, I knew I had to give it a try.

On the first sunny day after I had installed our clothesline (and by “I,” I mean “my husband, under great duress”), I grudgingly hauled a basket of wet laundry into the backyard and began hanging our clothes.

I was approaching this whole thing as a Great Sacrifice. There was Madeleine, nobly doing “what was right” at great personal inconvenience, spurning the convenience of indoor laundry facilities “for the greater good.” I was the perfect martyr!

BUT… I found it so meditative… it was insane. 

Pick up a shirt, pin, pin, slide the line over. 

Pick up a tea towel, pin, pin, slide the line over. 

Item after item, bamboo clothespin after bamboo clothespin. I continued this little repetition until my laundry basket was empty, and then I stood back to survey my work.

I had a full line of clean clothing gently flapping in the breeze. My face was warm from the sun; my arms felt a pleasant sort of ache. It was so…wholesome.

All in all, it had taken only about ten minutes longer than hurriedly throwing everything into the dryer and pressing, “Start,” and I’d been able to get outside and enjoy some sun and fresh air too.

I was hooked. Laundry, usually one of my most hated chores, suddenly became enjoyable. During the winter our laundry hampers sit stagnant and brimming until I finally run out of clean underwear, but during the warmer months the first thing I think of when I wake up to a sunny day is how much laundry I can get done.


by Madeleine Somerville | Photography by Sarah Joy

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