Our washing machine broke over 2 weeks ago. After learning that our machine needed a new electronic component that would cost more than we paid for the appliance a few years back, we decided to take a chance on a smaller model that might give us more space in our itty bitty washroom. This wasn’t a typical model we could have delivered and installed from a local store. After several delays, it finally arrived today and I made the FedEx driver chuckle as I gleefully clapped my hands and hugged the box he placed in front of me. This new addition makes me feel like I’m playing house in my own house, because it doesn’t even feel like a washer due to its reduced load capacity. It sings a song to me when it finishes a wash cycle and I, of course, sing back to it. Isn’t that how everyone engages with their appliances? I’m on my third load since it joined our family and I’ve yet to be disappointed. Our old and disgruntled dryer is handling the small loads well and I haven’t needed to run anything through the dryer twice. I’m hoping that the smaller loads will help with the stress of housekeeping. I actually love washing laundry. It’s my favorite household chore. Washing laundry is one of the few tasks that has nearly instant gratification (run water, put soap in, put clothes in, wait and oooooh, clean and pretty!) and can be done simultaneously with other jobs. I’m washing laundry as I write this. Detergent is one of my happy places. I’m like the customers in the Gain commercials, just blissfully sniffing like there is no one else staring at them in the cleaner aisle. I make my own detergent, and I buy detergent too. I despise grocery shopping. I’ll take ten minutes to speed through everything else and twenty minutes smelling random detergents. Since my homemade detergent is a powder which can be hard to measure for young, less coordinated hands and some liquid detergent from the store is too heavy for those same hands, I often splurge on laundry pods, despite the price. It’s worth it to me for my kids to confidently take their basket of clothes into the laundry room. My youngest loves the smells too, regularly taking at least five minutes to get a load of clothes into the washer because every detergent on our shelf must be smelled and only the most perfect smell in that moment will do. Both kids were very, very proud of the detergent they helped design and name for the Etsy store their dad and I share. I loved seeing them smile when they saw their name on our site. I even love washing machines. My favorite place in the big box hardware stores is the appliance section. I inspect the washers and look at the new features and get irrationally excited about appliances that will never fit in our itty bitty washroom. But, I only like washing laundry, not any of the other parts of laundry. When I see a basket of clean clothes ready to be folded, other more pressing matters arise. Whether they’re actually more pressing is up for debate, but they’re still pressing, so I do them and leave the clothes. More clothes get left and more, until we’re pulling more clean clothes out of the baskets than from our closets and drawers. Since those baskets are full, dirty clothes just get tossed to the floor, usually in whichever room we take those clothes off in. And as more clothes pile up, I feel more guilt and more anxiety, sometimes struggling not to bash myself internally for failing at what some see as a simple task. It isn’t simple to me though. It feels like a monumental obligation that there is no point in even trying to complete, because how can I ever keep up in the first place? When the stress and worries are really high, clean clothes fall to the floor, sometimes get peed on by the dog, and then I just crumple, because even the part I love with the happy smells and soft fabrics is tainted by the struggles to get basic daily stuff necessary to life done. Maybe this new washer (let’s call her Itty Bitty since she lives in the itty bitty washroom), which only washes six pairs of shorts at a time, will help. Folding six pairs of shorts and putting those away is vastly different than folding 15 pairs of shorts and finding homes for them. I’ll be washing the same amount of laundry, because we’re the same family making the same mess, but the task will be broken up into smaller, more manageable pieces. Not only will Itty Bitty sing songs to me multiple times a day, she might just help me tackle Mt. McHastoomanyclothestowash.
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