Recently I saw a meme of this quote from Helena Bonham Carter:
“I think everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone, and how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in, and all your dreams. The way you drink your tea. How you decorate your home. Or party. Your grocery list. The food you make. How your writing looks. And the way you feel. Life is art.”
It blew my mind. Where were these words when I was… 5 or 6 years old? My whole life would have been different!
Now, one of the most interesting things about social media is that it allows us to compare social groups to each other. I have seen different people get completely different group responses to the same link. That’s what happened with this particular meme. One of my friends shared it, and one of her friends responded:
LAUNDRY IS NOT ART.
Well, all righty then! Tell us how you really feel.
To be fair, folding laundry is my least favorite household task. I did a time study and it turns out that putting away a load of laundry takes twice as long as any of my other tasks. I really want to wander away and pretend that basket isn’t there for a while. Unfortunately, my dog’s answer to What is Best in Life is to snag socks or underwear and run around the yard waving them over his head, only to leave them tangled in a bush. (Actually, that was my husband). (J/K)
Compared to all the other scutwork involved in running a household, laundry is perhaps the least gross.
Scrubbing the tub or toilet: kneeling, unspeakableness, soapy drain hairball so gross you can rob a bank with it, that strip of tile where even the Roomba refuses to go
Taking out trash: occasional ripped bag, hissing possum near trash cans
Washing dishes: because really
Cleaning the bird cage: yeah, that’s exactly why you don’t have a parrot
Laundry can be art. It can if I say so! I try to think of it as “reverse shopping,” where I fill up my closet again and it doesn’t cost anything. I’m one of those people who hangs clothes by color, function, and sleeve length, which is a lot easier than it sounds if you get rid of half of them first. Clean laundry smells fresh. It can be moderately interesting to match up the seams. Looking for your favorite shirt, finding it right away, AND discovering it is ready to wear is way more awesome than finding it at the bottom of the laundry hamper, smelling like it just traveled cross-country via bus. I don’t know about your dirty laundry, but on distance days, I run faster toward the end because I’m trying desperately to escape my own shirt. One night it was so bad I had to get out of bed and drag the laundry hamper out of the bedroom closet and down the hall so I could get some sleep. After that, I started stomping my running kit in the bottom of the shower as a sort of pre-wash. I was afraid it would inadvertently summon a demon. THAT laundry was definitely not art, or if it was, it belonged in an installation by Damien Hirst.
Attitude is a choice. Choosing resentment is a choice. The result of that choice is that every day, you get the same things. 1. A pile of laundry. 2. Resentment. 3. The inconvenience of not being able to wear stuff when you want it. 4. (Optional) Defensiveness. 5. (Optional) Occasional interference by pets.
Choosing acceptance is another choice. (Nudism would be yet another one, but hey, clothes are cheaper than sunblock in the long run). The result of choosing acceptance is that 90% of the time, the thing you want to wear is ready to wear. Also, you occasionally have days when everything is clean at the same time.
Everyone who wears clothes eventually runs into the problem of where to get more clean stuff. It’s just a part of being a human. We tend to forget how lucky we are that we don’t have to go down to the river and beat them on a rock. We don’t appreciate our appliances enough, and we won’t appreciate our laundry-folding robots when they come, either.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.