Thursday, May 22, 2014


Do you know what a rag bag is?

I used the term recently to describe my mind, which seems to accumulate ideas, images, and questions as easily as a rag bag accumulates its fabric contents.

My house gets to this point before I clean.
And one of the ideas that came to me was this--how many of the things we did in our younger years have become obsolete? Run an eye over this list and see if you can remember when you last did one or more of these:

My favorite - Man Ironing
  • Ironed a garment or household item
  • Cooked a meal from scratch
  • Washed the car @ home; cleaned it out
  • Shoveled snow; mowed grass
  • Cleaned the house
  • Canned garden produce
I confess that only three of these are normal in my household. I press clothing, cloth napkins, tablecloths, and placemats--cook most meals from scratch, mainly because I like to cook--and I clean my own house (though I'd much rather hire someone else to do it!).

Looks fun, right?

Every fall I help my daughter home can produce from her garden. She grows it, picks it, and has it all ready for us to work on when I arrive at her house. All the work takes place in her kitchen, using her hot water canner or pressure canner. I'm there mainly for company--her husband hates to work in the food preservation department, and I'm an expert on washing jars, sterilizing lids, and tightening the metal rings. At the end of the day I go home, hot, tired, and talked out, but with a few jars of something yummy for my pantry (more will come my way at Christmas time). The joy of it all is,we've done a lot of work, put up all kinds of delicious things for winter consumption, and I didn't have to grow one iota of it! No back-breaking weeding, no swatting mosquitoes while I pick cucumbers in the early morning, no yelling at the dogs to quit eating the tomatoes.

Sometimes, this aging thing works in our favor--we get all the perks and don't have to do so much of the grunt work. I like that equation. A lot.

Back to the rag bag--it was a collection of clothing or household items like towels and old sheets, all of which has become too ragged, stained, or otherwise unsuitable for use as clothing or in the house.

I recall my mother and mother-in-law cut off buttons to be used later in mending and removed zippers that might find their way into some other garment.

The rag bag provided cloths for cleaning floors and furniture; washing the car, or the dog, or windows; wiping up oil spills, wiping hands that had grease on them from outdoor work with engines. In short, anything you needed to wipe up or clean up.

Does anybody have one now? (I do.) I couldn't find an illustration for a rag bag--they're all cutesy fashion totes to carry around--made out of rags, of course! My rag bag is a simple plastic shopping bag, hanging in a utility closet, stuffed with old towels, etc. Mostly etc. But they work as mentioned earlier. That's the main thing.

As for the other activities on my list, I confess: I pay somebody else to shovel snow, mow the grass, fertilize the lawn, and clean the car. I like to think I'm providing jobs for folks. As good an excuse as any, eh?
I NEVER have a smile on my face while cleaning the car.


  1. My mom had a rag bag--we have a garage. I have a stack of cleaning rags in the laundry room, but the rest of them go outside. Duane uses them and then we throw them away. The other things...

    I sew, so I press, and if we're going to a wedding or funeral, the white shirt gets ironed. He mows all three acres and blows the snow if we're here then and can't wait for it to melt. I cook because--like you--I like to. I don't can, though I sometimes miss it. My son and daughter-in-law do, but they're like a well-oiled machine so I just stay out of the way.

    I go through the carwash and use their vacuum, too, and keep a Swiffer in the car to dust the inside while I'm waiting for things. Duane washes them at home sometimes and cleans his out here.

    I clean house when I can no longer get through the mire. I, too, would like to hire someone but I'm too cheap. :-)

    1. I just realized my comment's as long as your post--not good.

    2. OK if it's long--I love to hear from other folks. And it's comforting that I'm not the only one who remembers rag bags, and home canning, and ironing, etc. etc. etc. Thanks for affirming all things good, Liz!

  2. Liz, I love your idea of keeping a Swifter in the car! At least the dash will be less dusty in my car from now on.

    Judith, I know one neatly-pressed guy who keeps an ironing board set up and irons his clothes. He says he got the habit when he was in the Marines!

  3. 'Way to go, Marines! They ought to make good house husbands, after they retire from active duty.