Remember: Laundry is a Privilege

Do you hate doing laundry?  Please don’t.

I’m here to ask you to re-think your position on this.

Why?  Because, my friends, you have the privilege of doing laundry.  Yes, that’s right, the privilege.  You are able to do the following while laundry is cleaned:  Stay in the comfort of your home.  Wear pajamas.  Drink wine.  Watch really bad TV.  Multi-task.

Here, in the Land of the Endless Basement Renovation, there is no in-home laundry nirvana.  I’m clearly not alone in the world, or there would be no laundromats.  But, I’m sorry, I would rather pull out my eyelashes, one by one, than entertain my two children in a laundromat for several hours.  Call me weak — it’s just not in me.  So I’ve explored my other options.

1)  Become the Kato Kaelin of Laundry.  In this model, I turn up at the homes of friends and relatives with pounds and pounds of my family’s dirty clothes.  This requires that I stay for an extended period of time and impose upon them.

I tested this approach in my post-Irene-I-don’t-want-to-be-Amish-anymore escape to my in-laws’ place last month.  It worked out well.  So I took it up a notch.  Which meant we may or may not have shown up at my mother’s recent family BBQ with no fewer than six loads of laundry.  It was like coming home from college.  With a husband and two kids.  Except now I buy the good detergent.  {And of course I brought her an appetizer for the party, if that at all makes up for our classy arrival.}

I’ve had multiple friends in town offer to have my laundry and me come over, which is so nice.  And though I’ve politely declined, I can’t swear I will continue to turn them down much longer.  It will be a feat of strength.

Especially after my recent experience with Laundry Option #2.

2)  Use the Drop-Off Wash & Fold. I assumed I could totally do this.  After all, I did it for years when I lived in the city.  Because, even when you live in a building with laundry “facilities,” they are often housed in a makeshift boiler room that surely doubles as the NYC Serial Killer Headquarters.

So, somewhere between another basement “development,” the loss of water in the house {again} and the decision to go forth with Operation Presto Chango To Hold Up the House, I needed to get out of the belly of the beast and go clean a ton of clothes.  One dollar per pound?  I’m in.  I’ll give you two.

What relief I felt dropping off my clothes.  If memory served from my NYC wash & fold life, I would get to come back in a few hours and my 30 pounds of laundry — which took me three trips to haul inside — would miraculously come back to me folded like origami in one small sandwich-sized bag.

I picked the wrong place.

When I arrived for pick-up, all happy and looking forward to reuniting with pieces of clothing I hadn’t worn in weeks, I was instead greeted by this:

“Oooooh, it’s you.  Uh, hi.”

“Hi.  What’s wrong?  Where’s my sandwich bag?”

“Wellllll.  Your laundry accidentally got combined with someone else’s.”

{Blinking audibly}

“So, if you could just take a few minutes to go through this basket and pick out your stuff, that would be great.”

{Internal screaming}

And that’s what we did.  My two kids and me.  We picked through about 50 pounds of laundry to pull out everything that belonged to us.  Along the way, I was lucky enough to say the following things:

“Oh God, that pair of very European men’s underwear does not belong to us.  And it’s lying on top of my daughter’s pajamas.”

“Ugh, these briefs are not ours.  And you might want to use extra bleach next time.”

Remember:  I have a Purel addiction.  So you can imagine how well I took to this turn of events.  Yeah, it has all been cleaned, I know.  But.  Still.

And so ended my affair with this particular wash & fold establishment.

With no upcoming family gatherings or cocktail parties to which I can haul my laundry, where does this leave me?  Clearly things need to change so that I can minimize the mountain of dirty clothes.  I could insist my kids eat in the nude.  Or color while wearing Hazmat suits.  Or get an overnight catheter for my four year-old.  These are just ideas I’m throwing around.

In the meantime, remember:  Your laundry is a privilege.

And, yes, that’s me in your driveway with two big baskets of dirty clothes, my naked kids and a bottle of fabric softener.  Can I come in for a while?





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  1. Markus says:

    See – this is where my idea from college days comes back. You combine a laundry and a pub! You call it Suds and Buds. (Really – this my my idea – just ask P).

    Um…but what to do about the kids…perhaps I need to rethink this a bit…let me throw the next load in the dryer and I’ll get back to you…

  2. OHMYGAH! I will totally think of you the next time I’m blissfully doing laundry and forgetting about in the dryer, because it IS a luxury I don’t appreciate enough. But can I ask: Did your laundry at least get mixed up with someone who had awesome clothes and happened to wear the same size as you, because that might OK with me too.

    • fordeville says:

      If you consider awesome clothes to be those of an elderly, somewhat unkempt man, then yes. Yes, it worked out swimmingly.

  3. Luisa Megale says:

    I cried – seriously I laughed until I cried when I read this. Think University of Oxford and several mixed washing loads problem was we all got our underwear at the same place – major face off with toffy English girls and all ‘smalls’ in the bin.. nne of us could bear it.

  4. Kristin says:

    I absolutely appreciate having laundry in my home. I was just thinking about it yesterday, when I had a visit from a Brooklyn friend (who does use the wash & fold). I had a little moment of warm, lucky, elite feeling.

    My one complaint is that the w/d that we have is from the previous owner – who had a dog. And she apparently used to wash the dog in the washer. The reason I think this is because we STILL (after almost two years) get dog hair coming up in the washer – it kind of sticks to the inner wall. At least that’s what I think it is.

    I am resisting getting a new washer, but it really grosses me out. And I don’t have a Purel addiction.

    • fordeville says:

      Hm. I’m trying to think which would be worse for me: The hair of someone else’s dog in your machine, or no machines at all. Tough call.

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