Archive for the ‘Laundry Day’ Category

Laundry Day #13

August 16, 2011

Inventory:

Sheets: 6
Pillowcases: 10
Towels: 5
Socks: 8
Underwear: 19

Temperature: Hot

Cost: $6

What have we learned?

Guests came to stay and now I’m washing their laundry. Well, not their laundry precisely, but the laundry left here after they departed: three times my usual load of sheets, pillowcases and towels. Plus socks and underwear—ours, not theirs—because they required a hot-water wash and this was a big one.

If you consider laundry to be drudgery, the thought of washing things soiled by others would only add to your displeasure. I don’t see things that way. Providing overnight guests with clean sheets and towels, and a comfortable place to use them, is part of my role as a host. I wouldn’t object to preparing and serving a meal for company, nor to cleaning up afterward. Why should laundry be different?

Laundry says you’re welcome. The sheets will be clean for you anytime you want to come and stay.

Laundry Day #12

April 8, 2011

Inventory:

Shirts: 15
Pants: 4
Pajamas: 2
Socks: 36
Underwear: 6
Tablecloths: 2
Napkins: 5
Dishtowels: 8

Temperature: Warm

Cost: $4.75

What have we learned?

There is so much laundry hanging in the bathroom to dry it has created its own microclimate. Outdoors it’s cold and damp. In the living room the air is dry. In the bathroom, hot and humid.

Today’s wash was darks: jeans and T-shirts with a separate load for tablecloths, cloth napkins and dishtowels that are now tumbling around in the dryer with the socks and underwear, creating yet another microclimate.

The calendar might insist that it’s spring, but laundry tells another story entirely.

Laundry Day #11

February 26, 2011

Inventory:

Shirts: 4
Sweaters: 6

Temperature: Cold

Cost: $1.75

What have we learned?

It’s 7 a.m. on a cold, rainy day and I am the first person in the laundry room. This is notable not because I’m the first person in the laundry room (that happens often) nor because it’s a cold, rainy day (there are plenty of those); it is notable because it’s 7 a.m. I am rarely awake at 7 a.m., let alone vertical, bathed, dressed and doing laundry. Yet here I am, beginning my day by crossing one item off my to-do list. One item of many.

On a day such as this, when I’m expecting the rain to turn to snow as soon as the temperature drops a degree or two, I would love to be laundering sheets and towels. A nice, long, hot water wash would be just the thing. But it’s the hand wash that needs doing. The sweaters are bulky and they take up too much room in the hamper.

So on this cold, gray day, I’m washing in cold water.

Sometimes we do what we need to do instead of what we want to do.

Laundry Day #10

February 2, 2011

Inventory:

Shirts: 12
Pants: 7
Pajamas: 2
Shorts: 2
Socks: 18
Underwear: 6

Temperature: Warm

Cost: $3.25

What have we learned?

It’s February. The weather forecast calls for “icy conditions with periods of freezing rain.” So why am I washing shorts?

You might think it has something to do with going to a gym or exercising, but then you don’t know me very well. These were shorts for relaxing in the sun. I just returned from a long weekend away where the weather was balmy, my sandals came out to play and my coat stayed in the closet.

Then, you might well ask, why the pants and socks? And indeed, why the long-sleeved pajamas? I confess they were laundry leftovers from before I went away. My plans to empty the laundry hamper completely before my trip were waylaid. Still, I left myself enough room for the vacation duds, shorts and all. Now they’re back where they belong waiting for spring, and so am I.

Laundry Day #9

June 2, 2010

Inventory:

Rags: 15
Bath mat: 1

Temperature: Warm

Cost: $3.25

What have we learned?

We had a flood. A pipe burst two floors above us and sent water gushing down into the apartment.

It was a mess, but it could have been worse. No one was injured. No valuables were destroyed. And fortunately my big bag of rags was close at hand to mop up some of the yuck. Industrial dehumidifiers and fans are working on the rest.

I thought the bath mat was a goner, but the washing machine sorted it out. The sopping rags have also been washed and dried and are ready for the next job, which I hope won’t be anytime soon. Now I’m washing the dirty, damp clothes—there are a lot of those.

Life has been uncomfortable and discouraging for the past two days. Laundry has provided a sense of normalcy.

Laundry Day #8

May 27, 2010

Inventory:

Shirts: 12
Pants: 7
Pajamas: 2
Shorts: 2
Skirts: 1

Temperature: Warm

Cost: $1.75

What have we learned?

Laundry should be the ideal multitasking task. You put it in; you walk away; you do something else while it’s washing or drying. What better way to accomplish two things at once? Except…

While you’re engaged in two or three other tasks (and it has to be at least that many or it wouldn’t be multitasking, now would it?) you can forget about the laundry. For hours. It happens. Even to me. And I’m pretty attentive to laundry-related things.

So today, I’m embarrassed to confess, those twelve shirts, seven pairs of pants, two pairs of shorts, two pairs of pajamas and one skirt (yes, a skirt!) were left to languish in the washer for hours while I worked on the computer, washed the dishes, made iced tea and did assorted other things. Now they’re hanging up to dry, more wrinkled than they should be because I didn’t rescue them promptly when the washer finished its cycle.

Once people had become enamored of multitasking, proudly announcing the vast number of things they could do all at once (applying mascara while driving is one that never ceases to horrify me), cognitive psychologists started examining this phenomenon and recently came to the conclusion that it is possible to do a number of things all at once—if you’re willing to accept that you’ll do them all quite incompetently.

So…

No, it’s not possible to comprehend what you read if you’re carrying on a conversation at the same time. (And the person who’s reading the paper while you’re talking is not listening to you, no matter what he tries to tell you.)

No, no no… it’s not possible to send and read text messages and operate a motor vehicle at the same time. (Did someone really need to tell you this?)

And no, sometimes, it’s not possible to do laundry and read email at the same time. Or maybe that’s just me.

Laundry Day #7

April 19, 2010

Inventory:

Pants: 1
Shirts: 10
Shorts: 1

Temperature: Cold

Cost: $1.75

What have we learned?

Today is National Hanging Out Day. To celebrate I washed a Cold Delicate load and hung it “out” to dry on the drying rack in my bathtub. Living in an apartment, I don’t actually have an “out” in which to hang my laundry. I do what I can.

“For many people, hanging out clothes is therapeutic work. It is the only time during the week that some folks can slow down to feel the wind and listen to the birds,” says Project Laundry List on its website.

For me, every aspect of the laundry process is therapeutic in some way (in case you haven’t noticed), but I appreciate PLL’s perspective on this as well as its advocacy for the use of clotheslines as a way to reduce energy consumption.

Laundry makes a statement.

Laundry Day #6

April 10, 2010

Inventory:

Sheets: 2
Pillowcases: 4
Towels: 5
Pants: 7
Shirts: 12
Undershirts: 3
Underwear: 23
Socks: 32

Temperature: Hot/Warm

Cost: $6.25

What have we learned?

It’s been a while since I did the wash.

I will confess that I don’t document every Laundry Day here. (How much laundry could one reader stand? I think I’m already testing that limit.) I also don’t write about every Laundry Day on the day it occurs, although I do present them chronologically. Nevertheless, it has been more than two weeks since my last Laundry Day post, and the lag has been about the same in real time.

Laundry reminds you when you’re slacking. The hamper overflows; your favorite items of clothing are unavailable (unless you’re willing to wear them wrinkled or less-than-fresh); you’re down to the few pairs of underwear and socks that you’d prefer not to share with others.

At first, you might approach these conditions with a sense of abandon. “Who cares about the laundry?” you think. “I’ll get to it when I get to it. I’m too busy/tired/stressed out/inert to give this my attention.”

That attitude might serve you for a while, but eventually it will be superseded by a sense that you’re not meeting your obligations.

The dirty laundry seems to tsk-tsk at you each time you walk past. “What? More?” it sniffs as you toss another soiled shirt on the pile. “There’s thermal underwear at the bottom here, you know, and we’re well into spring. Are you ever going to take care of this?”

The answer, you realize, must be “Yes, I am.” For the sooner you attend to the laundry, the sooner you regain authority over your life.

When it’s washed and dried you can toss it on the sofa beside you and attend to it while you watch television or listen to music or talk on the phone. Laundry doesn’t mind. All it wants is a little notice and care, and it will repay you with a sense of well-being; it will wrap you in warmth and softness and you’ll feel better for having given it your attention.

Laundry appreciates your attention.

Laundry Day #5

March 23, 2010

Inventory:

Sheets: 2
Pillowcases: 4
Towels: 5
Dishtowels: 4
Bathroom rug: 1
Shirts: 5
Sweaters: 9
Underwear: 15

Temperature: Hot/Cold

Cost: $8.00

What have we learned?

It’s the first day of spring—or at least it was when this laundry day occurred. (There’s a bit of a time lag on this blog sometimes.) While I don’t always suck it up for bona fide spring cleaning in March, I do take the opportunity to do a little extra laundry. So, on this day, it was three loads and it included the dishtowels and the bathroom rug.

I don’t wash the bathroom rug nearly as often as I should, and I save the dishtowels until I collect a few of them to make up a load. On this day, to celebrate the new season, I popped them all into a cold wash together.

The sweaters, which went into a cold delicate cycle, might be making their last appearance on the laundry list for a while. I’m hopeful that the winter weather is behind us and that the days will become progressively brighter and warmer.

The first laundry day of spring is symbolic that way. It signals an impending change for the better. Washing away the dust of the past lets us approach the future feeling clean and organized, eager and uplifted.

Laundry gives us the chance for a fresh start.

Laundry Day #4

March 18, 2010

Inventory:

Shirts: 12
Pants: 5
Pajamas: 1

Temperature: Warm

Cost: $1.75

What have we learned?

Laundry lets us make our own choices.

This is the least costly load of wash I’ve done since beginning this blog. That’s because I washed the clothes ($1.75) but I didn’t tumble-dry them; thus saving $1.50 and a small amount of electricity and gas. It’s possible to figure out how much electricity and gas, I suppose, but I simply don’t feel like doing the math this time. (Sue me.)

I live in an apartment building with no outdoor access so my clothesline is actually a laundry rack set up in my bathtub. I don’t have the space to line-dry everything every time, but I do what I can. All shirts, pants and pjs are hung up to dry. Besides saving me money and saving a little bit of energy, line-drying keeps my clothes from shrinking.

On the other hand, in my building’s laundry room I regularly encounter neighbors who choose to use more than one dryer for their laundry. So, even though I didn’t use my “share” of the dryers today, they used twice their share. We’ve canceled each other out.

I’ve made my choice and they’ve made theirs.