The laundry stigma

I do not hate doing laundry.

I’m going to put that out there right away. I really don’t hate it. In fact, I’d do laundry a lot more if I had a washer/dryer in my apartment, but I live in New York City and I’m not a millionaire so that’s not likely to happen unless I go suburban.

But that’s really not the point here. The point is that the act of doing laundry has a stigma attached to it. It’s seen as a chore, an annoying task that interrupts your day (or night, depending on work schedule and laundry room size). In college, you were warned never to leave your clothes alone lest they be taken. So you and your other laundry-inept freshman buddies would gather in the laundry room and sit around on dryers and wait for your whites to be done. Then you wised up and learned to leave your laundry alone–but never for longer than what the cycle would require because inevitably clothes get emptied out of washers or dryers if they’ve been in for more than 3 minutes past the buzzer and there is nothing worse than finding your sparkly-clean skivvies sitting in pile of detergent goo and dust.

I’m not sure what the issue is. People become weirdly possessed when they do laundry. It’s as though their souls have been taken over by that snuggly little bear and all they can think about is staking their claim on the washer/dryer/laundry cart nearest them.

And that’s if you can even drag yourself to the laundry room. That is the hardest part of doing laundry. You can be down to your last pair of underoos and a wool sweater–in JULY–and still it’s like pulling teeth to admit to yourself that you need to do laundry.* (Which, btw, is I’m pretty sure why you end up seeing things like this.)

But why? Why the issue? I mean, remove the hassle of separating whites and darks, pouring the detergent into the machine and pressing “start” and what do you have left? NOTHING. This is the only time in your life when you can get stuff clean and you don’t really have to do anything. Unless you’re crapping money and have maids to do every last thing for you, you’re probably subjected to chores every so often. So why hate on the ONE chore that does itself? This is like hating your dishwasher. Yes you have to load/unload it and add detergent, but really people–you don’t get better than that.

Clad in my fresh-as-a-daisy dukes, I’m taking a stand right now and saying that I am over my laundry stigma. I’m breaking the pattern and I’m going to start enjoying laundry day. Unless of course I get one of the dryers that doesn’t work. Or I lose a sock. Or I shrink my favorite shirt. Or….

*NOTE: As of this moment, I have been doing laundry for the past week, not daily, mind you, but the process has legitimately stretched that long.

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6 thoughts on “The laundry stigma

  1. What I hate about doing my laundry is trying to find quarters.

    Usually to get quarters I have to go to the bar across the street (because the apartment laundry room is too cheap to buy a machine) and I end up drinking…

    and drunken laundry is not fun.

    It’s tiring.

  2. I drop mine off.

    Yeah, they’ve bleached a shirt here and there over the years, but there’s nothing like getting your shirts folded neatly by a middle-aged Asian man.

  3. Matt: yeah, I could see drunk laundry being rough. We have a weird credit card machine laundry room but that’s equally annoying b/c to load the card if you don’t have a bill fresh from the mint it will be rejected for the slightly wrinkle.

    Apollo: I thought about that but I have too much stuff that can’t go in the dryer. I guess I like the torture.

  4. You make some very good points about laundry which I will consider in the days to come as mine piles up and I try not to look at it.

    Also, I like to vacuum. Do you like that too? Because if not, perhaps we could trade. I’ll do your vacuuming and you do my laundry.

  5. You’re a bigger woman than I am. The very idea that I have to throw all my crap into a bin and lug it to the grimy basement is enough. Then, the fighting for an overly expensive machine, and scheduling your time around the buzzer…

    I just did it today. Clearly, I’m still traumatized.

    Maybe you could provide laundry aversion therapy…

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