Sonja’s Guide to Life: Laundry

I thought, perhaps, it was time for a new series on this blog. Traditionally, I have regaled you with the wisdom of such series as “Helpful Stuff,” “The Weekly Fatass,” and “Unsolicited Advice.” (They’re all absolute gems, I promise.) However, it has come to my attention that some of you require help with the most basic of tasks, and who better to advise you on those most basic of tasks than me, highly functional being that I am? So, I bring you a new series that I hope will become a staple on the blog: Sonja’s Guide to Life. The first installment? Laundry.

Ah, laundry. One of the most basic household tasks, and yet, one that has enough steps that most of the world’s population can figure out a way to screw up at least a few parts of it. I, personally, have managed to screw up almost every step along the way. So, here it is: my guide to laundry.

Step 1. Sort. I usually accomplish this by first kicking, shoving, and otherwise bulldozing the mounds of laundry that have been piling up in the bathroom and on the bedroom floor for weeks into one central location. You may find that a few shoes, and maybe a bar of soap, or a small dog have also been shoved into the pile. Don’t worry. Just make a separate “Not Laundry” pile as you sort. Other piles should include: darks, lights, and your husband’s stuff. (Trust me, he doesn’t give a crap what you do with his laundry as long as he has clean socks.)

Step 2. Wash. Pick a pile. Use the same rule that you would use if you were telling a joke in mixed company: lowest common denominator. Tell the joke that will appeal to the dumbest person. Wash on the cycle that won’t hurt the most delicate thing.

Step 3. Dry. Everything in the dryer but the bras, lacy things, sweaters, and fancy gym clothes that cost more than your business casual wear. The things in the dryer are lowest common denominator again. Dumbest garment gets the punchline. Everything else goes on a hanger or a drying rack. If you don’t have a drying rack, the nearest piece of exercise equipment will do. (What? You’re not using it anyway.) If you leave the wet stuff in a crumpled pile next to the laundry machine, it will still dry, but you might have to Febreeze your pants before you wear them. You could do worse. At least you’re wearing pants.

Step 4. Fold.

Wait, stop the presses. I thought of another thing that doesn’t go in the dryer: fleece. You would think fleece would be made of some natural material, since the name is reminiscent of sheep and wool and other soft cuddly fibers. You would be wrong. It’s plastic. It melts and then it gets crusty and then the blanket that was so soft you could swear it was made out of kitten belly fur is now not even fit for the dog, who really prefers your piles of clean, unfolded laundry to crusty blankets anyway.

Ahem. Step 4. Fold. When you remove your dry clothes from the dryer or drying rack, move it all to a central location. I prefer the bed, but you might choose your dining room table, your couch, or some other functional piece of furniture that you’re not planning to use for the next 3-10 days. Because that’s how long it will probably take you to get around to folding it. The dog doesn’t mind (she needed someplace new to nap), and really, your husband appreciates not having to open a drawer to find his socks anyway.

When you finally do get around to folding, be sure to throw out the stuff that got ruined in Step 2 when you had a “duh” moment and put a spaghetti strap top in the same load as 8 pairs of button-fly jeans. It happens to the best of us. And by “the best of us” I mean, of course, me.

Fitted sheets are the red-headed bastard children of laundry-folding. You can try to make them fit in your little mould, but eventually, they will rebel. Better to let them go wild in the safety of your own home when they are slightly underaged, than to let them go off to college and raise hell immediately upon moving out from under your oppressive thumb. That is to say, crumple them up and hide them. No one will know.

Step 5. Iron. Separate all the stuff that needs to be ironed and hang it somewhere for the next time you iron. For me, that will probably be mid-2012 or so. If you find that you need a piece of clothing that has not been ironed yet, try it on to see how bad it is. Sometimes the wrinkles hang out. (No, really!) If it’s too bad to wear, spray it with some wrinkle releaser. No need to take it off first. I’m sure that wrinkle releaser is made of all-natural organic material that would never cause an allergic reaction or cancer. Well, pretty sure. If it’s not dry before you walk out the door, zap it for a few minutes with your hair dryer. It’s like magic.

And there you have it: Sonja’s complete guide to the part of life that is laundry. And you get to do it all over again next week. Aren’t you lucky.