Like all men I am genetically impaired and cannot do laundry correctly. I offer into evidence Exhibit A: My Y Chromosome, and Exhibit B: My Charming Bride, Di [insert image of enraged spouse flogging me with ruined panties]. Case closed, slam dunk, thanks to the jurors, and bailiff, drag this jackwagon off for laundry instruction. This entry isn’t about my inability to correctly execute laundry operations, because to my mind I do them just fine. In fact I do all my own laundry and a lot of the can’t-go-wrong items like rags, rugs, blankets, bedding, towels, and Di’s socks. No my freinds, this entry is about my personal laundry hangups, both inherited and ingrained. [cue dramatic music]
My personal –isms can be broadly categorized into washing and folding categories, sort of, ‘folding’ being pretty loose and including storage of the clean items. The ‘washing’ category is largely self-explanatory. Keep in mind here I am fully able to operate our washer and dryer. Di is more than happy to let me have at my weekly reeking pile of cotton too, and I like to imagine that with my frequent travel schedule and all, I’m saving her a lot of “honey, I need this clean by tomorrow” moments. Do unto others, or some shit like that. On to the explanations:
Washing: Softener. I don’t use fabric softener. Ever. I put up with that crap for 18 years in silence while walking around smelling like Downy in ironed blue jeans. I think softener is a scam, because all you’re really doing is putting a light coat of scented soap on the clothes right at the end of the cycle. Obviously The Man wants us to blow our hard-won money on this, and so Marketing generated a need. I also prefer to smell like one of two things: Dial antibacterial soap, or sweat (when required).
Washing: Wash Cycle. We have one of the front-loaders with 6,392 possible combinations of settings, excluding the self-clean one. I choose the 2-1/2 hour rollercoaster for my clothes, with the cyclotron-level spin, and tap-cold water. Why waste gas on this, really? That’s what the ‘adventure’ setting is for. That also keeps my shit from shrinking and fading.
Washing: Separating. I don’t do it as a matter of policy because I see that as a waste of time. The only exception is new stuff that might ruin my uniforms, and only as long as it takes to unscrew it. Otherwise, it all goes in one load. The few non-cotton items I wear regularly are workout clothes.
Washing: How to Dry. I didn’t make a third ‘drying’ category because there’s one rule here: socks and underwear go in the dryer, all else is hung. I like my tee-shirts to feel ‘crispy’ and hang drying does this. It also reduces wear on them. The dryer setting for the socks and underwear is on low to preserve the elastic elements.
Folding: Folding. Tee-shirts are folded lengthwise, front in, sleeves tucked, and then in thirds, no exceptions. Underwear is stacked flat. Socks get paired by color and wear, one elastic top folded down to pair them. This system ensures I can pull stuff out and dress in the dark without a TGIF mess.
Folding: Storage. All items are put back into drawers in reverse-geology format. This means the stuff just cleaned goes to the bottom. This evens out wear. Things needing a hangar are organized by function (pants, shirts, sweaters), then type (long vs. short sleeve), then by color (black, gray, Army).
At this point in the rant, you’re probably relieved to know that I can clean clothes but are wondering in a disturbed way how knowing this about Rants’ underwear is going to make your life better. To be honest I can’t answer that for you. It will have to be one of those little mysteries you pick at like a scab. What I can explain is the why behind my OCD/anal approach to such a simple task.
Simply put, I was brought up to be neat. In addition, I half of my genetic material comes from my Father, who ran his closet and drawers much the same way. Last, I can thank the Army for making me this way beginning nearly 24 years ago in school, causing me to get twitchy when the process isn’t strictly adhered to.
I’m guessing you’re feeling those tax dollars were well-spent, yes?