My Other Home: The Laundry Room

“Do you ever stop?” asked my dad with a hint of, bewilderment in his voice. “No Dad, I don’t. This is the first place I shuffle to when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I see before I go to bed at night.”

I wish I could tell you we were standing in front of a plate full of powder sugar sprinkled brownies, my children’s sleeping faces or even something as noble as a crucifix in my private home chapel, but no.   It was an endless stack of dirty clothes in the laundry room.

Why, every Bus Stop Mommy™ knows that a day without laundry is like a day without sunshine, right? It’s also the day your son needs clean gym clothes, your husband runs out of boxers and your daughter’s life will be ruined if she can’t wear her American Girl khaki shorts with the blue Limited Too top.

I’m one of those women that has to do at least one load of laundry every day or I get overwhelmed with the accumulation. Some women save it all for one marathon day. This would not only make me insane, but force me to go out and buy 82 more pairs of socks and underwear for every member of my household.

In my old house, the one car garage became my laundry room. Though it shared its austere title with those of Workshop, Storage Shed, Bike Depot, and Roach Motel, I didn’t mind. What used to be the indoor laundry space became a large closet for me me me. I would have done laundry in a barrel in the back yard in exchange for my very own closet.

Keep in mind, fifty year old cinder block house garages in Florida are not exactly the dry walled double car modern versions we currently have here in North Carolina. I have permanent scars on my heels from scraping my feet on the cinder block steps leading down to the garage. One fun weekend, my husband and I installed indoor – outdoor carpet (yes, we’re still married); so the space felt more like an appendage of the house rather than an abandoned swimming pool with appliances.

As far as laundry rooms go, the garage version was rather deluxe. I had a utility sink; whose presence I mourn to this day, floor space for laundry baskets, counter space for folding, swanky fluorescent light fixtures and ample hanging space on the old metal garage door.

During the winter, and yes, we had them in North Florida, I rolled out the space heater to make being out there bearable.   In the dog days of summer, I’d leave the kitchen and upright freezer doors open, stick an oscillating fan in front of them and sort away.

Speaking of sorting, this was probably the best thing about having such a large space. Once the carpet was down, I could haul all the dirties out to the garage and sort them into piles all over the floor. I’d entertain myself by awarding points for, ‘Closest to The Heap’ and ‘Dead on’ Shots.

Wait. Maybe I shouldn’t admit that….anyhow….

The garage space was also quite handy for enacting the quick and lifesaving, Toss It, Slam the Door and Worry About It Later trick. (Think: The in laws are at the door and you’re holding the remnants of potty training accidents and under the bed discoveries.)

My current laundry room, and I use that term loosely, is a sliver smaller than a Volkswagen bug. No hanging space, no folding space, nada. It has a window so small I don’t bother to lock it. No burglar could fit through it unless he brought his toddler as an accomplice.

You know those spiffy plastic drawer units designed to fit in between the washer and dryer for added storage space? No room for that either.

I did find what appears to have been a table in a former life at Goodwill and crammed it in the remaining 6 by 18 inches of space. It holds my paraffin hand dipper (which I always forget to use so my hands remain as smooth as 120 grit sandpaper) and all the Pocket Treasures I discover while laundering. I’m saving them all. The folks at the Smithsonian have already contacted me about an exhibit.

This “room”, for lack of a better word, sits right off the back entry into my kitchen.   If you come over, expect to step over and through piles of dirty clothes, as the kitchen floor is my new sorting kingdom. As inconvenient as it seems, it scores high on the list of, How To Look Like You’ve Been Working Hard All Day Even Though It Never Shows, strategies. Ranks right up there with the Pine Sol. (Remember that column?)

So get this–my friend Deneen has the Taj Mahal of laundry rooms. First, it’s upstairs, so she doesn’t have to haul dirties all over the house. Second, the whole room is the size of my first house. Not only does she have counter space for folding clothes and making coffee, she has room underneath for a mini frig, ice maker, trash compactor, wine cooler and snack storage. On the opposite wall, she has more hanging space than our neighborhood Dry Cleaners.

If she wasn’t my friend, I’d hate her. Maybe she’ll let me bring my laundry over to her house for a small fee….like an armful of spray starch and Chardonnay.



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