Laundry Day Makes my Week January 2011
I have officially declared this a good week! A good week is directly determined by how quickly I finish the laundry. I don’t have space to pile laundry as I, quite literally, only have a “laundry hall.” It is a hallway between the kitchen and the master bath. There is even a back door in this hall which doesn’t open all the way because it hits the washing machine. Believe me, as I lie awake some nights worrying about possible disasters, I contemplate this door’s less than complete opening. It’s a perfectly passable door, but you must go past it before you can open it. I figure all disasters will happen in the kitchen, so I’ll have to face whatever danger there is before I can escape through the door.
Anyway, years ago I read “The Messies Manual – The Procrastinator’s Guide to Good Housekeeping” by Sandra Felton. No one who really knows me would call me a good housekeeper. It’s not my favorite thing and definitely something I try never to do alone. Somewhere in this manual she talked about laundry. She said not to leave unfolded, clean laundry; it should be folded immediately out of the dryer and put away. She also said laundry should be done in one day. If I didn’t get anything else out of this manual, I have clung to her advice about laundry. For years my personal mantra to my family has been: “I do laundry once a week, if you want clean clothes, they better be in the hamper.”
And I do get laundry done once a week. The problem in my household is tall children. Because they are tall, putting jeans and shirts in the dryer tends to shrink their length (the clothes, not the kids). There is nothing worse than high-water pants and a belly shirt not meant to be a belly shirt. So I hang all their shirts and jeans. Plus, I have to hang my husband’s t-shirts because the dryer ruins the car show logo on the front, which is his “uniform” of choice. Logistically, because our house is small, hanging all these clothes has been a challenge, but over the years I have figured out some unorthodox methods which have worked for me.
When the kids were small, I used to have drying racks I set up near the heat ducts in the house. But when we acquired cats, the cats used them as their personal jungle gyms and the clothes as their swinging vines. The racks would topple over creating an additional mess. So I had my husband install closet rods above the washer and dryer over the width of the “laundry hall.” I have about five rods and I use hangers to hang the shirts to allow them to dry. When you hang shirts between main thoroughfares, they tend to get in the way. It’s not too annoying for me because I’m six inches shorter than my husband. But when he passes through, especially in the wee hours of the morning when he heads to work, he must tangle with the web of clothes. It’s tricky business, but it works.
My kids’ blue jeans are another issue. Not only do I not have space to hang blue jeans in my “laundry hall,” they don’t dry well in the tight quarters. So I had my husband install a clothes line in front of our pellet stove in the computer/craft/hobby room.
So what makes one laundry week better than the next? It’s how quickly I take the shirts and jeans down and fold them after they are dry. When I get to it the day after I’ve washed the laundry, it’s a good week. On the weeks I don’t get to it until the next laundry day rolls around, the week feels off.
My favorite laundry time of year is summer: pants and shorts can be thrown in the dryer because they are already short and our shirts are less bulky. But my favorite summer laundry days are when it’s hot outside. I can hang all our clothes on the line and at the end of the day everything is finished all at once. Then I sit on my bed behind the mountain of clean, fresh-smelling, dry clothes and begin to fold.
When the laundry is clean, folded and put away, I have a sense of accomplishment other household chores don’t give me; that makes it a good week. What can I say? As a stay-at-home mom, I have to take what I can get.