Happy Easter, Leonie’s Ladies!
This being a joyful season, we’ve decided to kick off with a light-hearted post, along the lines of the “Ten Things Only 90s Children Will Understand” lists that you see on Buzzfeed. Except that this is a list of Life Hacks that Only Someone Who Has Been in the Convent Will Understand – and please feel free to add your own! (It would be great to be able to post a list of them on forums for people who are discerning religious life.) Here are a few to kick off with…
Problem: you’ve been given a shirt or t-shirt from the community’s storeroom that is (at least) one size too big, creating an unsightly bulge of cloth under your postulant vest/habit.
Solution: you will need one ribbon, long enough to fit around your waist several times, and two safety pins. Put on the out-sized shirt, then lay one end of the ribbon over your stomach and wrap the longer part once around your body. Overlap the ribbon and pin in place. Then wrap several more times above and below the original level, not too tightly, and pin. This will keep the shirt from bulking up. Use your postulant vest or sweater to conceal this arrangement.
Problem: your hair is in need of a good clean, but you won’t be able to wash it until the time allocated for showers that night.
Solution: dust some talcum powder into your hands, and pat lightly onto the hair on your scalp. Massage in until the powder disappears. This isn’t as effective as washing, but it softens and brightens the hair enough to get you by! (NB: my hair is light brown. I don’t know whether this would work on red or black hair.)
Problem: there’s a crease in your shirt/skirt/habit, and ironing day is days away! Argh!
Solution: get some water in a cup (assuming you’re doing this in your cell), and pour a small amount onto the crease. Gently massage it with your fingers until the crease flattens out, and then allow the damp patch to dry. Best to leave it overnight if you can, but it can be done with something you’re wearing at the time.
Dawn and water gets out any stains! Even blueberry jam spills ?
The same comment at the same time! Amazing ? Thanks for sharing!
Great blog! I learned this in the convent: Dawn (dish soap) mixed with water gets out almost any stain. And it’s cheap! Just add a little “elbow grease” by rubbing it in and you’ll probably remove that pesky stain ?
We had this awesome stuff called “pink soap” – it was a liquid, creme soap. As a postulant, wearing a white blouse and dark polyester, I found this soap AMAZING for getting out all sorts of stains. Unfortunately I cannot offer it as an additional “life hack” because I never saw the packaging it came in so I don’t know the name of the product. Seriously… the stuff must have been radioactive or something.
We used a cleaning product called “Awesome” for just about everything, especially laundry, which we washed by hand. It smelled horrible, especially if you were using a lot of it, but it worked!!
We also had pink soap!
Layers are your best friend in the winter. It comes in real handy when you know you are doing things outside where a coat would make things difficult. Seriously. Underarmor, basketball shorts, long sleeve undershirt, dance tights, socks, turtle neck, button down, jumper, ans then a sweater. Its actually super comfortable too.
So true, Katie! Your post just brought back a vivid memory: as a postulant, I accompanied some of the Sisters to a dawn service at the local military base on a winter morning, and dressed for the occasion in two layers of socks, two layers of thermals, my postulant uniform plus thick knitted vest, and polar fleece jacket with matching scarf and beanie. I don’t know whether people stared more at the four habited nuns or the black-and-white Tellytubby tailing them, but at least I was warm!
oh gosh this is great! i can’t think of any off the top of my head but i know i must have some poverty hacks. i saw so many funny improvisations “because…poverty”
like filling a single serve yogurt container with lotion to keep in your cell.