Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Laundry Empress Shares Her Wisdom...

I didn't mean to turn into the Laundry Empress.  I grew up in a home where my experience with the laundry room was that it was a place to dump backpacks, shoes and jackets on my way to the kitchen for an after-school snack.  There were some large square machines in that laundry room and they apparently were part of the magical process of clean underwear and socks showing back up in my drawers, but their actual function was a little murky.  My mother would dump baskets of dirty clothes over the banister from the upstairs into a motley pile and small congregations of garments would be organized according to some commonality amongst the fabrics...and then, within the day, it would all be back upstairs, folded and in the appropriate drawers.

Until college.

I attended a university many miles and state lines away from the Magical Laundry Vortex and the wardrobe I took with me seemed to require some kind of dedicated and consistent maintenance schedule. Shocking, I know.  There was some kind of generally agreed upon system that whites, lights and darks should be washed in separate machines on separate settings, but it seemed all a little OCD to me.  And who said that 'dry-clean only' was a law and not just a good idea?

I actually did know how to iron a little.  My dad had subsidized a mini-sweat shop known as 'I'll pay you a dime a dress shirt' back when I was trying to pad my junior high bank account, so I had learned some rudimentary skills.  But all this wardrobe work seemed a hassle, an overrated domestic chore that surely could be outsourced...

Fast forward twenty-some-odd years and I am now the Laundry Empress, responsible for the care and cleaning of necessary clothing and linens for ten people.  Ten.  As in, I must do at least THREE loads a day, just to keep us from being swallowed whole by the Dirty Laundry Monster, who lurks terrifyingly around every bend.  Vigilance in Laundry is as much a part of involuntary reflex around here as breathing...gotta do it to keep on going.

I've earned my stripes on the battlefield.  I have climbed the Soiled Clothing Mountain Pile and I have watched the sunrise.  I have experienced the struggle of Set-In Stains.  I have had to deliver the bad news when a favorite item has moldered in a dark corner.  I have discovered that dried pasta hidden in a jean pocket will actually cook to a nice al dente in the hot cycle.  And I have even washed hearing aids and lived to tell about.  So you should listen to me when I give you some advice:

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You must.  SHOUT ADVANCED GEL.  It will save you many tears and heartache.  It will get out spaghetti sauce.  It will get out grass stains and grease and crayon and pen and mystery black speckles. It will remove the ultimate Bad Diaper Blowout Debris Field.  It will. 
My mom is the one who actually turned me on to this little laundry miracle.  Leave all that other watery spray stuff behind.  Forget organic and homemade potions. You can actually put this on stains you only found after going through the dryer.  You can leave it on the stain for up to five days.  Then you can launder it again.  And then you can come back here and thank me.  
And no, Shout is not advertising with me or anything (though they should)--
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