Posts Tagged ‘my life in laundry’

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.

Washing and Reading

July 27, 2011

I’ve been thinking about the time we save by washing our clothes in washing machines versus hand-washing, scrubbing on a washboard or beating them against a rock (I guess).

Hans Rosling says that when his mother bought her first washing machine she used the time she would have spent washing clothes by hand to read to him, and to read books for her own pleasure as well. Imagine! Time to savor a novel or to learn something new.

One neighbor of mine, whom I’ll call Poppy, studied for her law school exams in the laundry room. The washers and dryers created a pleasing hum that drowned out distractions and allowed her to concentrate on her reading. Down in the basement she would be left alone, and the bright lights of the laundry room kept her awake and focused.

How many people wash and read these days?

Cover Spy occasionally catches people in the act of washing and reading, like the 20-something guy reading Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot in a Brooklyn laundromat a week or so ago.

It’s a gift, isn’t it? All that free time. We should use it wisely.

First Things First

April 14, 2011

I usually try to make laundry the first task of the day. That way, even if I can’t manage to motivate myself to tackle anything else on my to-do list, at least I’ve washed the clothes.

Then, the other day, I wound up in the laundry room in the afternoon and it made me think…

I’ve never been a morning person. The afternoon always was my time—the best time—especially when I was a kid. Back then, morning meant waking up early for school (and nothing good could ever come of that). Afternoon was a time of release—full of promise and freedom. In the afternoon my time was my own, and I could choose whether I went outdoors to play or plopped myself in front of the TV.

When did doing tasks in the morning trick me into feeling virtuous? When did the arrival of afternoon bring reproach, reminding me of all the tasks I have yet to complete before the day ends? When did I begin to see things from the opposite side?

Sometimes I need to remind myself that I can choose what I do in the morning and in the afternoon. This afternoon, I choose to do laundry.

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.

The Prodigal Sock

March 28, 2011

It has returned!

The lost sock is back in its rightful place, rolled up with its mate, tucked in the second drawer from the top in my dresser.

I discovered it lurking in the hamper, tangled in a pair of jeans, evading detection. How it managed to escape me for so long, I cannot say. All I know is that it’s back where it belongs now.

I’ll admit that I was disappointed when the sock disappeared, but a part of me never lost hope that one day it would find its way home. Tossing away its mate would have indicated a finality that I wasn’t prepared to accept. So the remaining sock sat on top of my dresser—a small sign of faith—and together we waited.

Staying positive is not something I do naturally or well. Seeing those socks in my drawer each morning reminds me to adjust my outlook.

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.

Safe Haven

February 24, 2011

The laundry room should be a safe haven. It’s where we go to get clean. Nothing stays dirty there long; and the pleasant hum of the washers and dryers cleanses your mind as it cleans your clothes.

So I can only imagine what an intrusion like this one would have done to the minds and bodies of the unsuspecting launderers in this New Hampshire laundromat.

The driver of the car lost control when she answered her cell phone. Another reason that cell phone should be banned from cars, and from laundry rooms.

Washing Smalls

February 14, 2011

I met Peanut’s grandpa in the laundry room today. He entered toting a giant collapsible hamper full of dirty wash and fed it all into the triple-loader.

“One little baby makes a lot of laundry,” I said.

He just smiled.

The smallest people in the house tend to be responsible for the most dirty clothes—and no one seems to mind.

Faded Glory

February 8, 2011

I own three towels—two bath towels and one hand towel—all soft turquoise blue, all bought at the same time.

They travel together from the linen closet to the hooks on the back of the bathroom door to the washer and dryer and back again. They’re all washed hot, lately with Seventh Generation laundry detergent because I like the Blue Eucalyptus and Lavender scent.

Yet recently I’ve noticed that the three towels no longer match. One has faded to a greenish version of its original self, one is dusted with aqua blue, and the third is going gray.

I still treat them as contemporaries and I always will, but clearly they are aging at different rates.

Then again, don’t we all?

Unhampered

January 31, 2011

I wonder how many people clean the house before they go away for a few days. I always do—vacuum the rugs, wash the dishes, take out the trash, tidy up—and not merely because burglars, should they choose this time to visit, would be scandalized by my usual level of untidiness.

I do it so that I come home to a place that’s ready to welcome me when I return. I don’t want to come home to my everyday disarray; I want to come back to the home I envision, where all the pieces are in place except for one. The last missing piece is me.

Naturally, before I go away I do the laundry as well. Then, when I return, I have clean clothes in the closet and an empty hamper waiting to be filled with my traveling clothes when I unpack my suitcase.