Today is Sunday. Because it’s Sunday I did laundry.
Doing laundry on Sundays has less to do with having an adult-like routine, and more to do with Ontario hydro being cheaper on the weekend. Cheaper hydro is better hydro. Cheaper hydro allows me to continue living in the city. So anyway, my frugal motivations and I did laundry today.
Doing laundry is important. It keeps you from smelling like you only have two pairs of jeans and four t-shirts (let’s admit it – we all wear the same few items all the time). It maintains a certain cleanliness that allows you to keep your job (the one you need to continue living in the city). And it keeps you from the shame of having to wear your underwear inside out the odd time. Some may even say that doing laundry is a privilege. It signifies that you have enough money to buy clothes, that you have running water at your fingertips, and that you don’t have to wash your garments by hand. So doing laundry is basically amazing.
But then again, it’s not.
When I was little I noticed that my mom did laundry pretty much all the time. She would lug baskets of clothes up and down the stairs, sit in the living room, watch movies, and fold laundry – all while mumbling about how we all had too many clothes (See? Privilege.) I would hear her and other grown ups complaining about how awful doing laundry was. It would be on their to-do list like a big task coming to ruin their lives. I remember thinking,
“What’s the big deal? You put some stuff in one machine, then in another machine, and then you watch movies!”
I even remember trying it out one time. I took all the towels that had to be cleaned and piled them all in the washing machine. I added soap, turned it on, and then went to watch a movie (a veritable part of the laundry process). Some 50-odd-minutes later I paused my movie, went back to the washing machine and transferred the towels to the dryer. I added a fabric softening sheet (I had seen my mom do it), turned it on, and went back to watch my movie. Eventually, I had to pause my movie again to go and get the towels. But this was the best part!
It may have something to do with me being a cold-blooded reptile that loves to cuddle, but enveloping my 11-year old self in the warm, cuddly towels was the best thing ever. Still to this day, taking towels out of the dryer is one of the simple pleasures in my life¹. Anyway, I went back to my movie, and folded the towels. I even brought them up and put them in our linen closet. I felt super accomplished and had no idea what grown ups disliked so much about laundry.
Unfortunately, I am now a grown up. Unfortunately, it makes sense to me now. Unfortunately, doing laundry is not the same as washing towels. Unfortunately, doing laundry is every bit as awful as all my role models tried to subliminally warn me.
First of all, watching a movie in snippets because you have to keep running back to your washer and dryer is no way to watch a movie. Luckily for us current twenty-somethings, we have all become so dependent on our TVs that we have figured out how to pause, rewind, record, and stream live media. This bodes well for our laundry necessities because we never have to miss a second of our digital lives!
But now take a second and think back to our parents. They didn’t get the luxury of pausing live TV or rewinding what they missed while struggling to fit all their belongings in one load. I take this as a small solace – as shitty as laundry is for me, it was shittier for my mom.
The next problem with laundry is that it fools you every time into thinking it’s easy. You think to yourself, “Oh, what a piece of cake! I’ll just dump this basket of clothes into that machine and call it a day!” But wait! Like a bad infomercial, there’s more. You then have to figure out what can and cannot go into the dryer. I’m notorious for cutting the tags out of my clothes because they itch my cold-blooded reptilian skin. This makes it extra hard to perform this step of the laundry process. Eventually I give up and tell myself that crop shirts are in these days anyway.
After you figure out what can go into the dryer (or you give up), you have to hang the clothes that couldn’t go into the dryer. Growing up, I was apparently a lot more fortunate than I knew. My mom had two clotheslines in our laundry room. We also had a rack with hangers so we could hang sweaters so they didn’t lose their shape. Outside we had a huge clothesline that hung above the width of our backyard. What is it that they say? You never know what you have until it’s gone. Yeah, well. It’s true.
In Toronto I don’t have a laundry room. I also don’t have a backyard. In Toronto I hang clothes off of any and all vertical structures. The backs of chairs and over doors are particularly popular. As a twenty-something year old, I live with roommates. Their bedroom doors are also appropriate locales for my wet clothes – and just as frequently, my bedroom door is the temporary home of their wet clothes.
For me though, the absolute worst part of the whole process is folding and putting away the laundry. I think I may not be alone on this one. Certainly, my roommates’ clothes staying in the dryer, hanging from vertical surfaces, and/or lying crumbled on their beds for
weeks days at a time adds support to my speculation. I hate folding laundry almost as much as I hate packing (my beef with packing is detailed here).
I give folding laundry the good old college try, which for me means 312%, but somehow I always come up short. It may be because my drawers look like someone thought Voldemort’s last Horcrux was hidden there (if you haven’t read/seen Harry Potter, I don’t know…I don’t know what to say to you.) Honestly, what is the point in putting clothes away nicely when someone obviously rummages through them from time to time?
I do like to keep in mind, however, that my laundry day could be much, much worse. My washer and dryer are in my condo. This means I do not have to save up coins for a laundromat, actually take my clothes to the laundromat, and wait diligently in front of the washer/dryer until my laundry is done so that someone doesn’t steal it. So there’s that. This is probably a really good thing for me because I’d never have clean clothes if I had to do any of these things. For all of you reading this who have to go to the laundromat, I salute you.
Regardless of where you go to do your laundry, you probably still hate it. So, here is a concise list of ways to hate everything about the word laundry a little bit less.
Gabriella’s Tips for Hating Laundry Day Less
- Buy clothes that can go in the washer and dryer. Seriously, you’re a twenty-something who are you trying to impress with dry clean only things?
- Don’t own anything white or red. Sure, you may like fabrics in these shades, but they’re not worth the sorting and/or having pink clothes. Trust me.
- Use a laundry basket or hamper. Not only does it make you feel like an adult, it also removes the unnecessary step of ravaging your apartment to find all of your clothing.
- Fold the clothes directly from the dryer. I repeat: Fold your clothes directly from the dryer. If you don’t, your clothes will end up in a pile on a chair, or in a basket, or the other side of your bed, or on the floor where they will stay until your next laundry day. At this point, they will be so mixed up with your dirty clothes (unless you followed step 3!) that you will be forced to do two loads of laundry because you won’t know what’s clean and what’s dirty. Seriously, just fold your clothes directly from the dryer.
- Try to do the next step of the laundry process as soon as possible. The longer you take between each step, the worse it gets. You also run the risk of not knowing where any of your clothes are, and finding them in the dryer a week later (hey, we all get busy).
- Don’t write blog posts instead of folding your laundry directly from the dryer.
¹It’s probably a good thing I enjoyed this experience so much because I spent the next 13 years folding towels at my parents’ hair salon…