some thoughts on ironing

ironing board1. Nope.

2. No thank you.

3. Yes, I know that my mother is a master and could win the World Ironing Championships in the categories of Competence and Thoroughness. Yes, I know she is a legend in her own time. Yes, she has been known to iron underwear. And, finally, yes, she has tried to enlighten me on many occasions but maybe it’s true what they say about certain traits/skills/talents skipping a generation.

4. How do you use this thing?

5. Why is rusty water seeping out of the holes?

6. Okay, vaguely I understand how to address the torso, the collar and even the back of this shirt even with those two little pleats. What’s stumping me here, despite my degrees of higher learning, my advancing age, and all the wisdom I regularly display in other areas of my life are…the sleeves. Maybe I need one of those super-slim ironing boards specifically for sleeves, like these. Or maybe that’s just another space-sucker I won’t really ever use…

7. Call me a disheveled wreck, but in my opinion, a wrinkly shirt or skirt trumps a burned down house. Because the chances of me remembering to unplug that extra-hot fire hazard before I run out the door in my even wrinkly-er and now rust-stained outfit, already 15 minutes later than I intended to leave, are, well…very low. Note that I am ALWAYS in a hurry and trying to run out to something I can’t be late to when I attempt to iron (a wedding, a Christening, an interview): this could be one reason why I tend to iron in more wrinkles, during most attempts. We’re talking deeper, more noticeable and lasting wrinkles.

8. If you stay alert on laundry day, there is no reason to Actually Iron when you can Pretend Iron. You see how I bounded over the couch as if it were a hurdle, knocked over six plants then accidentally face-butted the corner of the laundry room wall as soon as the clothes dryer stopped? That’s because it’s imperative to take the clothes out of the dryer, IMMEDIATELY, while they’re still hot so that I can quickly and frantically smooth them out with my hands on the bed.Β  Of course, this doesn’t make the clothes “nicely” or, what you would call “crisply” pressed, it makes them only barely fit to wear in public. And this outlay of panicked effort, which regularly causes my blood pressure to spike, means I don’t have to pull out that iron and ironing board. (You may be wondering, smugly, does this methodology work when it comes to linen? Hell no!)

9. See that photo of the ironing board, above? It was taken without the corresponding iron because I can’t find it. That’s how long its been since I have ironed.

10. The ONLY redeeming feature of an iron is that brilliant retractable cord. I could stretch that thing out, push that button then watch the iron swiftly suck that cord back in all day. Maybe I’ll send out the iron search party one more time. Oh! Here it is, right on the laundry room shelf, where we always keep it. Oops, I must have just blocked it out or something the first time I tried to not find it. Maybe I do have a case of Selective Seeing.


What about you? Are you an ironing master or an admitted nincompoop?

Categories: Shelter

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40 replies

    • Here I will offer an apology for not being more accomplished in this area. And I will also say thank you for those times when you have stepped in assist with these kinds of “pressing matters.”

  1. Left hanging in the closet slightly damp, men’s dress shirts will eventually flatten out. Just make sure you have enough shirts for the hubster so if you do laundry every week, he can wear the shirts you washed 2 weeks ago which are now hung out!

    • I LIKE this approach: low on effort high on genius. The only problem here is the thinking ahead…but surely with a little practice this can be mastered! Thanks for weighing in – now I will visit your site and learn how to nail jello to a tree!

  2. agreed! ironing is (a) not reallllly necessary if you pull your clothes quickly from the dryer and (b) dangerous! even before having to worry about leaving the iron plugged in, you need to worry about the correct setting so that the iron is hot enough to do its job yet not scalding enough to burn a whole through your shirt. i prefer to err on the side of caution which means that the iron is rarely hot enough to do much of anything. including burning down the house.

    • Great point: I do like clothing with interesting patterns but a big brown triangle on all of my shirts isn’t really the trademark look I’m on the market for! πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by!

  3. this cracked me up. my husband staunchly falls into your camp while i reign emphatically in the other. unlike your ma, i do not iron underwear. i do iron every outfit, everyday however (sorry, i just threw you into traction). but, i’m a haphazard, speed ironer – i iron on the bed and never take longer than 5 minutes, ha! my hubs follows your course of action, mow everything down to get to the laundry before it’s cooled. and if his timing is off, he’ll walk out the door wrinkled before getting out the iron (which only means i have 2 outfits to iron!) πŸ™‚

    • You are a good good woman. I can only aspire. But I am sure your cool vintage clothes are very thankful for your TLC. πŸ™‚ I think using the bed is a good time saver I’d like to try: if I didn’t have to wrestle with that awkward ironing board, I might have some more luck. The question is: DOES THE BED HAVE TO BE MADE IN ORDER FOR IT TO SERVE AS A GOOD IRONING BOARD? Because that could pose yet another complication for me πŸ™‚

      • while a made bed is preferred, not all is lost! simply scootch the blankest to one side and…presto! πŸ˜‰

  4. I think my childhood chore of ironing my dad’s shirts was supposed to instill in me a life-long habit. It did not, much to my mom’s dismay. Knit fabrics are a (lazy) girl’s best friend.

  5. Only The Home Tome Master of Ceremonies could have such a COOL looking ironing board that looks like a piece of modern art against the yellow/white backdrop. Sigh. If you owned my ironing board hanging/clanging around in my linen closet (there when we bought the house, probably a 1965 original)…I’m certain the blog post would have quite the different flavor. The picture of your board almost made me want to do a linen closet/iron board remodel. Clean! White! Crisp Blue Patterns! And yes, it ALMOST made me want to start ironing. But luckily for me, my sweet almost husband is the ironer in this madcap almost marriage.

    • ha ha! This ironing post has been sponsored by Target (I think that’s where we got that board.) That was an upgrade for us when we got this house – formerly (when we were city dwellers) we had one of those small ones (well, medium sized, not as small as a sleeve ironing board – but don’t you think those sleeve ones would make good ironing boards for gnomes? I digress) and it was funny trying to attempt to iron any of Rob’s clothes on there, seeing as how he is 6’4′ and wears XL..but yeah, he is the more avid iron-er in this duo. Ah, modern times.

  6. Like you, I cannot find my iron. It disappeared in the move… and I cannot say I miss it.

    I’m with you about the decent substitution of folding-immedialty-while-warm for the actual iron. But? I hate folding laundry. It’s up there with unloading the dishwasher for house-tasks I most dislike. So mostly I β€œforget” I have stuff in the dryer until Paul needs whatever’s in there…and he is forced to deal with it.

    • I know, I forget I have stuff in there sometimes too, especially if I leave the house while I’m mid-process – but I always regret it! The exception is sheets – our poor wrinkly sheets and towels – they get no respect πŸ™‚

  7. My iron has been in storage for a year, along with my other stuff. I seem to be managing perfectly well without it. There are friends of mine on Facebook who, incredibly, post status updates grumbling about the ironing pile. I can never resist commenting “You don’t *need* to iron, you know. You’re bringing this on yourself.” But, like any kind of addict, they have to *want* to change πŸ˜‰

    • I can see how, if you were good at it, there would be some satisfaction in the process of ironing and how it could be somewhat meditative. But I also get so much satisfaction from, say…napping πŸ™‚

  8. HAHAHA! I remember my mom . . with a large laundry basket overstuffed with clothes to iron. . .standing there ironing for hours while watching soap operas. Okay, maybe not hours, but needless to say, we had NO wrinkles in our clothes. I don’t iron, I think about it, but I’m home all day, so I’m right there when the dryer buzzer sounds and I Hang Those Clothes! My iron serves as decor on my laundry room shelf.

    • I remember my mom doing the same thing! That iron got moved around to all different rooms in the house: the bedroom, the living room in front of the TV and the laundry room. That particular sound and smell of the steam reminds me of that time….and The Days of Our Lives (or was it The Young and Restless?)

      • Yes. . . I remember that smell and the steam! I remember watching The Young & The Restless. She loved that soap opera so much, I was named after Rachel off that show.

  9. If God had intended man to iron, he would not have placed a drycleaner / laundromat within driving distance of every American.

  10. I’m ashamed! Totally ashamed! After seeing your beautiful ironing board… all clean and perfect… colorful and sleek…. it puts mine to shame. I’m not saying I LIKE to iron… but I do it almost every morning. My ironing board looks like someone set it on fire… it’s black/brown with iron “stamps” and it’s so stiff it will probably crumble the next time I use it!

    Luckily my husband loves vintage shirts so they’re all POLYESTER! Yeah baby! He throws them into a hot dryer in the AM and pulls them out quick.
    I am not so lucky. Everything I love is cotton! DAMN you cotton… always wrinkled. So yes, I iron (against my will) because I’m too much of a FREAK and can’t leave the house with wrinkles. But what I think I really need to do is head over to Tar-jay and get a new cover. My ironing board would be so embarrassed if I tried to take her picture!!!! Thanks for the HOME TOME inspiration. NEW COVER HERE I COME!!

    • Yes, Tar-jay will surely allow you to reach new ironing horizons!

      See, the fact that your board/cover is so damaged proves that you are a put-together person Stacey. The flip side of my pristine board are disheveled garments. So there is absolutely no need for shame – they are just two opposite sides of the same coin. And guess what – no one has ever seen my beautiful ironing board (until now) so I wouldn’t exactly say that it’s contributing positively to the overall impression I’m giving to “my public.” πŸ™‚

      Yes, polyester, what a wonderful, unwrinkly invention.

  11. I hate to iron, but find it a necessary evil. I do the absolute minimum to be socially acceptable. I wait until I have a pile of wrinkled clothes the size of a small mountain, watch a movie or put on a show from my DVR and go to town.

    My sister-in-law irons her sheets. Clearly, that is a woman with too much time on her hands. Why would anyone do that?

  12. Two words..Wrinkle-Free…I remember way back in my childhood the joyous dance my mother did when she discovered this wonderful breakthrough in technology. My father never wore another shirt that required ironing again. Hence, my disdain for ironing, maybe it’s genetic. Honestly, I don’t think we even own an iron and ironing board. I just wear my wrinkles with pride.

  13. Haha! I can so relate. Over the last 10-ish years I have slowly but surely weeded (alllllmost) every piece of clothing that requires ironing from my life. No matter how much I fall in love with *that* shirt, I may NOT buy it if it needs ironing. Boundaries are a beautiful thing!

    Great post! As always πŸ™‚

    • Yes, boundaries, good. I try to have the same good sense. And same with “dry clean only” – always a turn off for me – but I I do cave in occasionally…

      Thanks Suzanne πŸ™‚

  14. I may have ironed some ribbon with my flatiron the other day. Some would call it lazy, I like to think it was resourceful.

    • Definitely resourceful and straight-up brilliant. I wonder if a flatiron could be helpful for shirt sleeves…? (Note: I have wavy-ish, straight-ish, frizzy-ish hair that could also benefit from a good “ironing” but guess what? I don’t own a flatiron and have no idea how to effectively use one of those either – oh so much to learn…so little time πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing!

      • I might be able to verify that flatirons do in fact work on sleeves and tweaky collars. And using a flatiron on your hair is actually WAY more fun then ironing clothing, I promise. πŸ™‚

  15. Agreed on all 10 counts! But lucky for me I don’t have to iron anymore. No ma’m. Because I usually have so much cat hair clingy to me (despite having lint rolled) that the wrinkles are hardly noticeable!

    • Interesting tactic, D&D…interesting indeed. It’s kind of like hitting your hand with a hammer to distract you from a headache…

      I don’t have a cat, but surely I can rig up some other forms of wrinkle distraction: stains? ripped clothes? wearing them backwards? Inside out? Wait, this is going in a direction that would make my mother even more disappointed… πŸ™‚ (Actually, I think she is in awe of my iron-free existence…)

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