Coming clean on laundry

Published 6:38 pm Saturday, March 3, 2012

By Gillian Pollock

I have a serious problem: I hate to do laundry. I have a great washer and dryer that make the job easier for me. They are so efficient that they cut the time in half. I don’t have to go out back to the creek to wash our clothes, or gather rainwater and use it with a washboard to get the job done. So, what is my hang up?

I’ve tried every gimmick and organizational tool out there in hopes of doing my laundry more efficiently or to entice me into doing it in the first place. “NEW and improved” used to get my attention on a bottle of detergent or fabric softener. I thought maybe something “new” would get me into it. Doesn’t work. Two loads in and I’m over “new” and onto something else.

I bought baskets and bags and bins all in hopes of organizing and making the trips to the machine easier on me. Unfortunately, the baskets don’t walk themselves over to the machine on their own. I now get my children to bring their laundry down to the machine, but my machine just doesn’t know how to load itself. Someone needs to invent that, and when you do I will be looking for a kickback for the idea.

I do feel bad for my washer and dryer as they are being suffocated. There is this ever-growing mound that sits in front of them, threatening to swallow them up at any moment. I would like to say that from whence it all comes I do not know, but that would be a lie.

I can think of four times in my life when I have been caught up on my laundry: when I worked in Manhattan and dropped my laundry off at the laundromat, when my children were first born because my mother-in-law came to stay with me and did all my laundry and finally, a few months ago when my washing machine broke. I had not one piece of clothing sitting there waiting to be done; again, mother-in-law to the rescue. She said “drop it all off. I would love to do it for you” and she wasn’t kidding. Every few days, I headed over to her house, dropped off a new load and pickup up the old, all clean and folded. It was a glorious time for me.

My mother-in-law amazes me. She is the only person I know who truly likes to do laundry and even looks forward to it. She can sense when the machine is about to end its cycle and times her arrival in front of the machine just as it shuts off. She doesn’t even really think about it, it is instinctual for her. Nothing distracts her on Monday’s, her laundry day. Why can’t I be more like that? What stops me?

I don’t send my family off in dirty clothes, well at least most days and I eventually get some of my laundry done. But, truth be told, if you walked into my house right now and headed to the machines, I would be mortified and fall over dead by what you might see.

I am hoping that by admitting my problem it will be the first step to my recovery. I thought if I wrote an article about it, it might be cathartic. However, I didn’t get anything out of it and I haven’t come to some epiphany. In truth while sitting here writing I could have thrown in a load and gotten some of that laundry done but I didn’t.

So, I guess I will be grateful for all the other things I can get done ‘cause laundry just isn’t one of them.

A Yankee with a Southern soul, Gillian Pollock is a wife, mother of two ever-challenging children and director of Christian Formation at Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church in Washington.