On Laundry

laundry day

Laundry used to be my least favorite chore – a weekly burden. As with unwashed dishes, unwashed clothes multiply if not managed. Unless you have your own washer/dryer, laundry tends to be something put off until the last possible minute, like homework. On the weekly to-do list, laundry is homework for adults.

But as we’re ending the first week of our New Year’s Resolutions, I’m beginning to look at this weekly chore differently.

My small studio affords me a nice space in a nice neighborhood. Though the building is low on amenities, it has a laundry room one floor up. Three loads washed and dried in under two hours? That’s an advantage laundry rooms will always have over in-unit double stacks.

(Note to Santa: rolls of quarters are welcome in my stocking…)

Last year, my New Year’s Resolution was to lift weights and run again. One year later, in a warm heap upon my bed, I see dry-tech running socks (hopefully an even number–where on earth do those single socks go?) and running shorts and a favorite shirt that’s a bit tight in the shoulders and khakis that fit. Though I haven’t logged terribly many miles in those socks, they’ve taken me farther than I was the last time I wore them.

This year, I know where I’m going because I see where I’ve been. All to be sorted and folded and put back and then taken out again.

After last January 1st, I began timing my gym visits to the washer cycle. I found I could clock in a solid workout just as the spin cycle ends, then make breakfast and cool down as my clothes dry upstairs. I'd return an empty hamper to my closet and breathe in a spring-fresh hallway lined with khakis and flannels drying on hangers. From the pile upon my bed, I’d snap flat and fold my T-shirts, double-over my socks, and button up my button-downs. Each Saturday, my apartment would smell candle-crisp as I delete Do Laundry! from my calendar. 

And fitness has brought a related reward: how I feel when I put on, and take off, the clothes I wear and wash every week.

But far more important, laundry reminds me that I have clothes. If I notice a shirt fraying beyond mending, it’s not out of my budget to buy a new one. That’s a privilege. Though I dream of owning a double stack, I give thanks for what I have: a bed to put sheets on, inside an apartment where I feel safe and warm, long after the flannel sheets have cooled to room temperature.

The core of my resolution last year was simply appreciating what I have – an aging but healthy body clothed in a wardrobe for every season. A year later, I realize that doing laundry is no longer a burden. It’s a blessing.


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