Wash, Dry, Fold

Laundry, as I came to see it, is a form of ritual. A ceremony of sorts, very much like the rain, gathering clouds, darkening from its weight, and at appointed time, falls down and washes  the Earth from all the accumulated dirt and filth.

And stains.

Never forget the stains.

For there are stains that are easy enough to clear. And some that stay, clinging to the fabric of a favorite shirt. The blights we made as humans on the face of the land. The scabs and scars of life marking the passing of time on our bodies.

So I wash my clothes, hang them up to dry, and by the end of the day, takes them down and, for some, performs another ritual of folding, smoothing the creases, lining the seams, and ironing them flat and almost new, filling the space on the closet or the drawers. I myself, have not found it practical to iron my clothes. My manner of folding is pertinent only to the way I store my clothes, just good enough to fit the space to be occupied. Most of the time, my drawers are filled with stuff going hither and thither. Ironing? What’s the point? I’d crumple it all up a few minutes after I’ve donned the garment. Continue reading

Dirty Laundry

I’m back to washing my own clothes again. I don’t know why I got the idea that paying someone to do my laundry is going to give me more time to do other things. Sure, some people think it’s more convenient to just go to a laundry shop and bring that bulk of dirty clothes and weigh ’em up and pay for the services. Sounds convenient, I know. But along the lines, I realized I won’t include my underwear in that lot. No sir, I will not let other people see the skid marks and stains that may or may not be present , but you can never tell. There are times I am such a slob I may have worn the same pair of briefs a couple of times. You aware of the Side A and Side B mythos? Ask a college student from Recto and you’ll get an idea.

So yesterday I woke up and just  looked at the pile of tees, denim shorts, jeans and socks on my one laundry basket and asked myself, how did I let this molehill get so big, the clothes are spilling and the basket is bulging. After much thought, and two mugs off coffee, and after checking if the water will be available for the rest of the day (I am renting a matchbox of an apartment on the third floor, no water pumps, you get the idea, and yes it is Quezon City)  I began with the whites.

Always start your washing with the whites.

The entire procedure is a combination of science and tradition, handed down from generation to generation. My mother, bless her soul, nearly fainted the first time she saw me attempting to wash my own clothes back in high school. Not of shock, but out of sheer, ecstatic laughter at what I was doing wrong then. You must understand, my mother was a gentle soul, but when it comes to household chores, no one comes close to being a stickler for details. And so I learned the intimacies, the methods, soaking really dirty clothes overnight, using your hands instead of a brush, arranging some on a flat surface for the sun to do its work on tough stains. Continue reading