Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My laundry journey

I sometimes wish we could wear disposable clothes. Then we can wear new clothes, new fashion everyday and not worry about washing, drying, folding, dry cleaning and ironing. And if you stain your party dress with the red wine you were sharing with your hunk while watching the stars, just chuck it into the dustbin. No worries about stain removers or crying over the hundreds you spent on that dress.

I remember long ago during the days when I was a student and then a single working girl, renting, taking public transport and could not afford a bed let alone a washing machine, I simply hated hand-washing and ironing my clothes. Nevertheless, I still had to do it as there was no one else but me and me alone to get things done.

Then, when I got a step higher on the ladder, I decided to send my clothes to the laundromat. Here in Malaysia, laundromats are not self-service. No self-operating coin-using washers or dryers. We simply leave the dirty clothes with them and collect them a day or two later. We can choose to be charged per item or by weight (cheaper) and ironing is charged separately. So while my clothes got washed and neatly folded, the pile sometimes returned minus a few pieces. They were either lost among other customers' laundry or probably stolen. Then there were some which returned looking like they'd been tie-dyed...

Later when I moved into my own place, I finally got a washing machine, AND dryer. The dryer was necessary as apartment-living proved a challenge for sun-drying (what a waste of natural resource and un-earth friendly). Then came the extra cost in terms of water, electricity, detergent for front-loader, fabric softener, and ten years later (i.e. a few weeks ago), replacement of parts.

While the clothes got washed and dried by 'themselves', there is still no escape from sun-drying certain dryer-restricted clothes, the ironing and occasional visit to the dry cleaners. So at present, I still have to fold and do some ironing. I say 'some' because I pay someone for ironing help on alternate weeks. I iron Caitlin's and my clothes myself while the helper does Eugene's work clothes.

The vain husband is very particular about the quality of ironing of his shirts especially. Since ironing is not my favourite hobby, and pleats and French cuffs are not my forte, I'd rather leave it to the helper. If he complains, I won't take it personally then!

So where am I now in my laundry journey? The crooked and thorny path has somewhat straightened but I'm still far from the end of the road. I foresee a few steps backwards when I move to a house later this year. To conserve electricity consumption and be earth-friendly, I shall revert to sun-drying my laundry. And I should be having a love-hate relationship with Malaysian weather then. The folding and ironing will remain, unless I get a live-in maid (which I doubt we will) or unless disposable clothes become the norm!

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