Tag Archives: laundry


28 Nov

Lately I’ve been seeing a commercial in which an ever-expanding snowball of laundry rolls down a suburban street, gaining speed and threatening to overtake a poor, defenseless woman. I do not recall what the ad is for (detergent? new washer?), but the commercial sticks in my mind because of its familiarity. I am that woman, admittedly in a constant state of launduress.

For years, I have been bad about laundry. I was bad about it as a teenager, when I had three feet of clothing scattered on the floor in my bedroom. I was bad as a young adult, when I extended the life of various garments by dumping baby powder on them for re-wearability. (Yes, I know that this is gross. I have since reformed my ways.) I was bad as a newly married, when my husband informed me that he would do his own laundry, thank you very much, since I was clearly incapable. No matter that his folding skills are beneath me. Who else folds everything–shirts, underwear, pants–in half and then in half again?

My laundrophobia has gotten worse since I became a mother, for obvious reasons having to do with sheer volume. Other mothers understand that Sheer Volume is a proper noun when referring to the laundry that can be generated by children, of any age. Piles grow exponentially. This is a state of affairs that sounds exaggerated but is no laughing matter when morning comes and there are no clean underwear to be found. Being without clean underwear is a crisis of epic proportion, easily comparable with being on a sinking ship without a life preserver. There is no situation more distressing than having to face the day without clean underwear. There is no–ABSOLUTELY no–manner acceptable for rejuvenating a dirty pair of underwear. Forget it. Everyone knows that you’d might as well just give up and go back to bed. There’s just no reason to bother leaving the house.

Sheer Volume becomes a shell game when a person, such as me, is fairly good about folding laundry but not so good about putting it through the washer/dryer, or putting it away. Folding is infinitely more fulfilling than either getting laundry starting or putting it away, as evidenced by my neatly folded piles. Laundry by its very nature must be managed as an assembly line, input/output process. Getting backed up on the input or output side doesn’t help anybody. I currently have five baskets of folded laundry in my bedroom, and lots of empty drawers where that laundry should be happily sorted and put away. I also have two or three baskets of dirty laundry that need taken to the basement and put through the machines. The problem is that when it’s time to actually go places, finding the right garment to wear in a particular setting can be a challenge. I thumb through the piles of folded laundry in the clean baskets, but inevitably whatever I need is at the bottom of the stack. After a few days of this, the clean laundry looks a bit wrinkled and dog-eared, like a well-thumbed book. Not good when it needs worn to work, for a new client presentation. What would my mother say?

My mother would say that she’s ashamed of me, which is why I keep all traces of my laundry disorganization under wraps. All laundry baskets are either in the basement laundry room or in my bedroom upstairs. At my brother’s house, where the laundry situation has reached SHEER VOLUME, the laundry is stacked in the living room. I KNOW what my mother says about this, so I am careful to keep my laundrophobia in the closet.

Something is seriously wrong with my abilities to both initiate and finalize the laundry process. I can follow through with other tasks, for example blogging. Last night my husband asked me to kindly put aside the blog for one night and get more laundry done. At this point in my life, I know that it is not going to get any better. With any luck, as my kids learn to do their own laundry, I can put some distance between the giant snowball of laundry and me. I am starting to gain on it already.