Thursday, November 08, 2007

Laundry and the Joy of Folding

I really enjoy folding laundry. Sometimes Fred will threaten to do it and I say, "No...please let me do it." I just like to do it right, especially the towels. I've even gone so far as to re-fold them when I saw that he'd done them. He said, "You think you fold better than me?" I said, Well...yeah."

When I was in the third grade, our teacher had the bright idea to suggest that we give one of our parents a gift certificate for Christmas. Most of my classmates committed to doing the dishes twice or weeding the garden once. I promised to fold towels for two months. Two months of folding towels for a family of five. And my mother held me to it. I had no concept of time. I didn't realize that it was going to be late February before I was paid up. But now I can fold towels like a pro.

In New York, I used to drag my huge bag of laundry across the street to the laundromat regularly and spend a couple of hours washing, drying and folding. I tried dropping it off a couple of times, but I didn't like how they folded. And they dried everything until it was crispy dry. I hate that.

In our house here in Amsterdam, we hang everything to dry. There's none of that realizing at noon that you'll need clean jeans at three o'clock and throwing them through the washer and dryer. It's the washer and then hang it to dry, which in the winter can take a long time - into the next day. (But you can hang things on the radiator and it will speed things up.)

I will even try to get to the washer before Fred so that I can hang the laundry. I have the way I like it done. Makes for easier folding. Plus, I'm very organized. It's bath towels, then T-shirts, then tea towels, then underwear and then socks are hung in the empty spaces. Fred just takes what's next and hangs it. How crazy is that?

I was a live-in housekeeper for two queens in Brooklyn for about nine months in the early Nineties. That was a ton of laundry every week. Piles of clothing and towels used once and thrown in the bin. They finally caught on that I was enjoying it and they didn't like that one bit. It was such a mess when I arrived. Piles of laundry all over the house. Masses of clothes in various states of being washed or dried. That's a story and a half. I used to race the clock to see how fast I could iron a shirt. I got up to an average of seven minutes per shirt. There I was making indentured servitude fun. Love that.

When I was in my apartment in Manhattan, I loved to spend an evening ironing and watching television. Not so much any more. I mean, I'm a great ironer. But now, I like to knit while I watch television. Time ironing is time spent not knitting and who wants their knitting time cut into?


Mama Mojo said...

Wow. That's fun. I spent the entire day yesterday washing and folding. We have a drier. Dutch driers are great. They steam clothes dry, instead of blasting hot air. You can take them out slightly damp, and use low heat. Then you dump out the hot distilled water in between drying. I've had people over from the States who were fascinated by our drier. I'd go nuts if I had to hang up clothes for four people. I try minimizing what I wear, re-wearing things, but it still amounts to about five-six loads a week, or more. My father also loves laundering. He does all of our laundry with pleasure when we get together. You're right about the Korean launderers over drying things in NY, but they folded everything in such neat squares. I learned to fold fitted sheets from them. Happy folding!

Elemmaciltur said...

Hehe, we certainly share a weirdness. I'm not sure whether I like doing laundry or not, but I LOVE taking out freshly washed stuff out of the dryer when it's still warm and fluffly, fold them together and breath in that freshly laundered scent.

I usually put off the ironing until I have a huge pile of clothes to be ironed. Then I take a whole afternoon to iron all of them. It's kinda meditative: Ironing and either watching TV or listening to podcasts at the same time.

Kyle William said...

Ironing I just don't do (I send anything that needs ironing out to the cleaners) but I'm with you when it comes to towels - there's something that I love about it... and the folding of towels makes me happy... that and organizing and folding socks.. - sheets, on the other hand, make me nuts (I still can't figure out the best way to fold them) -