Where am I supposed to put my dirty washing?

Claire
3 min readAug 29, 2023

Thoughts when you don’t have a home.

Photo by Ekaterina Belinskaya: https://www.pexels.com/photo/front-load-washing-machines-in-coin-laundry-4700611/

When you haven’t got a place to call home, how do you manage your belongings?

If you’re lucky enough to stay in the same room for a week I suppose a pile in the corner will suffice.

If you’re still living your regular life whilst ‘between homes’ seeing friends in different cities staying in different rooms and having to cart all your stuff with you until you’re somewhere long enough to use a washing machine — is it just a bin bag in the boot of your car?

No brainer

It’s certainly a thing I know the average person doesn’t need nor want to think about. As part of gratitude practices that are more widespread these days I imagine more people than used to will have a moment to give thanks for their home. But in a simple, big picture kind of way.

It’s something I would think about when I saw street homeless people or read a ‘rags to riches’ article. I consider myself to be more empathic than most and so I would think a little more about the circumstances that can land someone homeless. I’ve read enough about ill-health, relationship breakdown or redundancy as a cause to know it can literally happen to anyone which, when it came to mind, would lead me to thinking about the fear, worry, stress and powerlessness a person must experience. Then I go about my day safe in the knowledge that that day was not a day I wouldn’t have anywhere to go at the end of it.

Then it happened to me

Though I didn’t experience any of the traditional routes into homelessness, I did spend four weeks without a permanent address after my then living situation became untenable and I needed to leave for the sake of my emotional health.

I was sofa-surfing, staying with friends, house-sitting. My belongings stored in a friend’s garage, my wardrobe a case in my car.

I had sort of chosen this episode and I realised I was lucky, nee privileged to have the option to leave my old place before having a new place ready for me to move into.

It didn’t change the fact that there wasn’t anywhere I belonged, I couldn’t relax properly into familiar surroundings and, it turns out, I didn’t…

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Claire

Adventurer, word-lover, nature-enthusiast, psychotherapist, creative.