If you had told me at the age of 23 that I would one day engage in an in-depth conversation about laundry and find it so fascinating I would obsess about it for days, I would have told you to just go ahead and shoot me if that ever happened.
But a few weeks ago, that’s exactly what went down.
Prepare your rifles, readers.
It all started when we jokingly asked one of my girlfriends’ husbands if he ever wore the t-shirt she bought him when we went on a girls’ trip to Asheville. He answered that he would like to wear it, but whenever he pulled it out to put it on, she would assume, because it was laying on the bed, that it was dirty and so scoop it up for the laundry pile.
He said that this happened a lot. That girlfriend, who shall remain nameless, just shrugged and admitted, “I do two loads of laundry. Every day.”
This alone was enough to blow my mind.
“Wait,” I asked, not quite getting it. “How often do you do your towels?”
“I use them once and then wash them.”
Ka-pow. Right? Ka-pow.
To explain, I am a once-a-week laundry girl and, frankly, assumed most people are too. Sunday is Laundry Day in this house and if you want your shit washed, you’d best have that hamper by the washer by high noon.
To be clear, while I only launder once a week, I do have standards, especially when it comes to folding. To me, there is procedure, for example, when folding a T-shirt. The sleeves should meet neatly. It should look like a small packet when it’s done. And if you’re trying to help me and it doesn’t meet my expectations, then, honey, I’m redoing it.
But daily laundry, perpetual laundry, that’s something different.
A week later, while enjoying a warm summer evening with friends, I reintroduced the subject. The girlfriend reconfirmed her dedication to the daily wash. And then several others chimed in that they, too, launder every day. One told me that she goes through a bottle of Tide — the big jug, with the built-in spigot — every two weeks.
As for towels, I was in the dirty minority once again. Most washed after every use as well.
“Sometimes I can make it three days,” one lady said. “But never more than that.”
“Sheets?” I squeaked. “How often do you wash those?”
Interestingly, that’s where the conversation turned on its head.
“Once a week,” one girl said.
“I mean, let’s not get ridiculous.”
“I hate making the bed.”
“But I do iron my sheets,” one woman said.
Once again, my eyeballs felt like they were inflating.
“There’s nothing better that climbing into bed with ironed sheets.”
“I agree. I iron my jeans too.”
At this point, I think the ladies had had enough of my Roger Rabbit-style reactions, and it was time for me to reconsider my own practices. Granted, I don’t have small children, like many of my friends do, so there is less laundry to be done.
But maybe it was time to consider what doing just a little bit each day would feel like. Certainly, it would mean Laundry Day wouldn’t need to be run with such an iron fist.
Also, was I being remiss in washing my towels only once a week? Or having “the chair” in the bedroom where clothes that aren’t clean enough to be put away, but aren’t so dirty that they go in the hamper, live?
It was then I was faced with how engrained these little household practices are. You have got to be absolutely mentally prepared to make a major household shift like this. I mean, you have got to want that change. And after a good sniff into the towels and a good look at the chair, I realized I wasn’t and I didn’t. Also, wouldn’t that make me an environmentalist if I saved all that water and all of that soap?
So I put on a semi-dirty shirt, pulled on a pair of dog hairy yoga pants and let the beat go on.