When I was young, I always thought the laundromat would be fun. It was. The first time. Then it became a chore I detested. When I bought my first house there was no dryer, so all the clothes were dried inside in the wintertime and softened with an iron or body heat. I didn’t complain though, it wasn’t my chore any more.
Growing up, my mother always did these tiny little loads of laundry and I couldn’t understand what part of “super duty” she didn’t understand. I mean if the thing was made to be stuffed, then stuff it. So when I finally got my first complete in-house laundry facility, I did just that. Stuffed the thing full of whatever was in the hamper, dosed it with detergent and then dried, re-dried and re-dried again.
As married couples do, we divided up the chores and the laundry became mine, at which point my ex stated that the laundry pretty much did itself. He quickly learned that steps 4-6 could take up to two weeks to complete given my adversity to folding, sorting and stuffing clothes back into swelling dresser drawers. He conceeded and we began sharing the laundry chore. I still remember the cute little way he would fold my underwear and hook my socks together. Not a reason to stay married, but it had merit.
When the kids came along, things got worse; we were overcome with laundry. Fortunately, we had lots of help from his Mom, who also did tiny little loads of laundry. It was just as annoying as when my mother did it.
Once I was on my own, some good intentioned souls counseled me to do a load of laundry every night to keep on top of it. But then I was just doing laundry every night and throwing it in a hamper to be folded and sorted two weeks later.
I decided the answer was to buy bigger, taller hampers so I didn’t have to do it so often. The problem then became the hallway dressers that held our mash of clothes for weeks (sometimes folded, sometimes not).
Every morning I would mine for the right socks and underwear and gym day or regular day attire. It was a constant curse fest.
Over the holidays I had an enlightened moment where I discovered the solution to my seemingly insurmountable battle with the three extra large clothes hampers used to contain the majority (and often times all) of our clothes.
I bought three of the smallest, shallowest rectangle hampers I could find and labelled them, Korey, Justin and Mom. Now, we each put our clothes into separate hampers and on wash day (or night) I do three tiny little loads of laundry, with minimum water, less detergent (as I learned), on a shorter “light soil” cycle and dry them separately with one push of the dryer button. Then, I take each tiny little, pre-sorted load, quickly fold it, put it back in the hamper and put it away. Laundry now takes less time, uses less detergent, water and electricity and there are always underwear, socks and pants available on our rushed mornings.
I guess our mothers were right. But, who knew I had so many bras.
January 15th, 2009 at 5:36 pm
Age does bring wisdom a lot of the time, but most of us only come to wisdom the hard way , through personal experience. Little loads are easier in all things in life and have a betterchance of being accomplished. You know that now. as Buddha wisdom states, you are perfect the way you are, but there always room for improvement. Although this is a paradox, it is true wisdom. Improvements will only come one slow step at a time and we do not turn into saints overnight, it is alot of little loads.
January 18th, 2009 at 7:50 pm
Walter, that was lovely. You are so right. Thanks for finding the deeper meaning to this. Happy New Year!