Thursday, April 23, 2009

Laundry tips from a lazy homemaker.

I am probably the last person who should be giving advice on something as domestic as laundry. While some people seem genetically predisposed to keep a neat, clean, lemon-fresh home, others (like me) simply aren't. Naturally I blame this on my mother. (To this day one of her proudest parenting moments is when my kindergarten teacher sent a note home that read, "Today your daughter identified a picture of an iron as an antique. I can't wait to meet you - I think we'll get along great.")

But when I was in Reno, I couldn't help but notice my sister's home reeked of lemony-scented goodness. She even referred to something called "laundry day." I was confused. Didn't we have the same genes and upbringing? How was it possible that she had turned into some sort of domestic diva (after working all day, I might add) while I was still genuinely surprised when dinnertime rolled around every night (Didn't I just make dinner yesterday?).

But then I dug a little deeper and realized that just because I don't whistle while I work doesn't mean I don't get er done (did I really just quote Larry the Cable Guy?). At least enough of it to fool the untrained eye. If you didn't know better you might even mistake me for the domestic one in the family. Just don't look too closely or open any closed doors - that's where all the mess is.

I even have some of my own household tips! Here are just a few of the ways I keep me and my family looking sharp:
  1. If you have say, a white wool coat (one that screams I am the antithesis of mom jeans!), and your small child pours, oh I don't know, a full sippy cup of chocolate milk onto it (because mom jeans or not, you're still a mom), and you shove it in a suitcase on your husband's advice (Just get it dry cleaned once you get to Reno...) and forget about it for four days before sheepishly taking it to the dry cleaners on a cold and snowy day (Can you fix it? It's my only coat and I'm freezing my ass off!) only to return the next day to find that, big shocker, the chocolate milk has permanently stained your once lovely coat making it look even more like a homeless man's jacket than the one it was meant to replace (my sister got it for me for Christmas because she said my old coat was unacceptable), don't freak out. Just take your dry clean only coat home, throw it in the washing machine (maybe wash it a couple of times) and hang it up to dry. Sure it will smell like a wet sheep for a couple of hours but after that, it's practically as good as new. Slightly worse for the wear and wrinkly, sure (you can take it to the dry cleaners to be pressed if you like), but who are you kidding? You're only going to wear it to the grocery store or the playground anyway. I'd say that's about as fancy as you need to get.

  2. Have you ever accidentally turned something white pink? Well, I can't tell you how to turn a whole load of whites white again but I can help you salvage an otherwise normal garment that is spotted with pink (like, say, if you took a load of laundry out of the wash and put it in a laundry basket instead of immediately into the dryer because you happened to be using the drying for something else - like "ironing" a shirt - and then forgot about the hamper for just long enough that the super cute green and white striped shirt your son just got in a big box of hand-me-downs couldn't help but get all pink and splotchy because it was in a wet balled up mess with, among other things, a couple of red shirts, and what the heck did you think was going to happen?). Here's what you do: make a thick paste with white vinegar and baking soda, smear the paste all over the offensive pink spots, let the paste soak in for a day or two, wash the shirt, and voila! If no voila, try repeating the process (disclaimer - this might not work if you've already tossed your garment into the dryer). You'll feel so domestically victorious, you'll want to slap that smug look off Martha Stewart's face. As it turns out, this stuff isn't really all that hard!

  3. If you get a fairly significant amount of poop on a garment and for one reason or another don't get around to washing it out immediately (maybe you're at someone else's house so you just shove everything in a plastic bag and stick it in the trunk of your car, or you happen to have friends over and don't want to stop watching Family Guy to go outside in the rain to wrestle with the garden hose and an extra heavy pair of Thomas the Train jammie bottoms), just go ahead and throw the garment away. Seriouly. If you ask me, something that goes through the wash three times and still smells like poop, does not deserve a place in my home. (I'm sure using bleach or something like that would work too but I'm just not that kind of girl.)
So there you have it: laundry tips from a lazy homemaker. Any household tricks up your sleeve? Spill it. But keep in mind, I reserve the right to delete any comment that involves bleach or hard work. A lady must have her boundaries.


Courtney said...


ae said...

The sick truth is, I actually enjoy ironing. When I was a single gal in my own apartment, I left the ironing board up all the time, both for ironing, and as a place to eat my lean cuisine whilst watching crappy television and eating dinner in the evenings.

But now, I have neither the time, nor the space, nor the inclination to iron my stuff all the time. I find that a damp dish towel and 7-10 in the dryer on hot while I'm in the shower, and by the time I'm ready to get dressed, my togs are as wrinkle free as they're going to get.

If they're on a second wearing, add a dryer sheet or some febreze and no one will be the wiser.

Halie said...

LOVE it! I was a "domestic diva" and then I had kids!!!! I don't know how people keep their house sparkling clean with children running around in it all day! Okay- here's a tip...after bath time, when you have wet towels and water all over the place anyway...just grab the towel you just used to dry off your little cutie and swipe down the counter, toilet, and tub....viola! Not even soap involved there, but no one has to know.

CelinaQ said...

Maggie, how come you won't use bleach? :)

No Mommy Brain said...

good question, celina! hmmm...why won't i use bleach? i'm not exactly sure. i probably heard someone on oprah say it gave them cancer or something. also, i hate spending money on things i don't "need" and am kind of an awful housekeeper. :)

Katie said...

I am still laughing at "if no voila, try again!"
Heres a great secret, babywipes seem to be the worlds greatest stain removers. Kind of scary that we use them on babies, but they are great at getting babyfood carrots out of light colored carpet, kids paint out of carpets and taking mascara off my eyes and other stuff too! :)

Sarah Lindahl said...

If you have discovered a blackhead that seems as though it could be the size of a pencil eraser on someone's back and you offer to squeeze it, and when it comes out it is the size of a pencil eraser, so you decide to keep it in a ziplock baggie to show people who don't believe that blackheads could ever get that big, (here's the tip) spritz it with water every so often to keep it fresh and hydrated or else it will shrink to a size that, although still disgustingly impressive, is not as impressive as it originally was.