Ironing and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

vintage-care-instructions-from-a-vintage-bookIt’s terrible how things from your youth manage to creep up on you as you are older.  Ironing, for instance.  After all the mountains of ironing I did as a kid, I swore when I got grown I’d never iron.  Then the miracle of permanent press and dryers came along.  Voila!  For forty years, I wore clothes hung up straight from the dryer.  Those items that required a bit of pressing were hung in the closet and passed over time after time till I just had to wear them, like to a funeral, wedding, or special event.  A dress or blouse might spend five years in the dark only to be discarded when I tired of reaching over it.  I had no problem wearing polyester or blends if they spared me ironing.  Of course, as a nurse, I wore non-descript scrubs, so work clothes weren’t an issue.

Then when I hit my mid-fifties, something terrible happened.  I became obsessed with cotton.  I only wanted cotton shirts and jeans.  Worse yet, I craved the crisp, starched creases of my youth.  It was awful.  I found myself starching and ironing jeans and cotton shirts.  I even got a few cotton dresses, and yes, I put in time ironing every week.  I couldn’t stand to see them sitting in the laundry basket.  I went to work as I took them out of the dryer.  Worse yet, I felt compelled to iron Bud’s jeans and shirts.  Jeans that have never before seen an iron.  I even bought him cotton button-up shirts.

As time went on, my disease progressed further.  Now, I feel compelled to iron in repetitions of five, or until I complete the pile.  As soon as I take items out of the dryer, I fold a stack of five and hang the rest up.  Though my back aches before I finish the third piece, I know I have to do five, so I alternate easy and demanding items.  Example, a long sleeved shirt with collar and pocket flaps is about as much work as a pair of jeans, so I can’t do them in succession.  I start with jeans and follow with a simple sleeveless, pocketless shirt.  The problem comes in if the items don’t line up right.  If the laundry wasn’t organized properly, I could have three pair of jeans and two complicated shirts that have to be done.  This is brutal, since the rule requires five pieces completed.  Another dilemma to face if eleven pieces are in the ironing pile.  I HAVE to do cycles of five, but I am not supposed to leave ironing for another day.  That means I have to iron five pieces the first go round, but knowing I will have one left over complicates things.  This means I have to come up with a plan.  I can substitute to simple pieces for one difficult piece and it only counts as six.  For example.  I could do two jeans, two long-sleeved shirts with pocket-flaps and two simple shirts or a simple shirt and pair of shorts.  Those six would round off to about five, however, the adjustment must be made with first session or I won’t have room to correct a possible miscalculation.

Ironing Exchanges:

Long-sleeved shirt with cuffs and pocket flaps                                                       1

Long-sleeved shirt with cuffs, pocket flaps, and air vent in back                         1.5

Jeans                                                                                                                                1

Pants with cuffs, thigh pockets with or without flaps and back pocket flaps     1.5

Simple short sleeve or sleeveless shirts with no pocket flaps                                0.5

Shorts with pocket flaps or cuffs                                                                                 1

Simple shorts                                                                                                                  0.5

Dress                                                                                                                                2  +/-  0.5 

As you see, it takes some managing to make each ironing session equal five.  I try to do difficult calculations first.  Should it be entirely too much ironing for one day, I have to leave my ironing board up as a pledge to come back the next morning.  It upsets me to not have pieces amount to five points per session.  If it looks like that might happen, I have to throw in another wash.  I hate it when that happens.

Then there is the mending, a story for another day.

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51 thoughts on “Ironing and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

  1. Poor lady! You do have ironing OCD! I look at something that has a little bit of wrinkles in it and I’ll spray with some water and throw it back into the dryer. The dryer does my ironing! LOL!

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  2. Good grief! Are you mad? I hate ironing. I remember my mother using a cork sprinkler head on a soda bottle. I actually remember using the iron on the stove rotation. Does that make me old? I also remember a burned wrist or forearm or two. Why? I don’t recall. I hate the earlier perma press items, but the new stuff, most you can shake out or hang slightly damp and have them come out nicely. Then, I only press the cuffs if needed. Plus, an iron for sewing is a must, but it doesn’t come out often anymore and at other times regularly but not fanatically. LOL

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  3. Gahahahaha! Bless your OCD soul Linda! I have a few issues – hand washing and inability to tolerate crooked picture frames… plus I always shop in twos. But I have t yet developed such an elaborate matrix to ensure I’m making the proper calculations. I admire your methods! 😉😉

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  4. Ha! How funny that you should suffer from this affliction now.
    I used to do the ironing when I was about 11 for the family, and I have done it ever since! I cannot bear it if something is all creased, and I have never mastered the knack of hanging things up so that the wrinkles fall out!
    The one good thin is that Mr Grump will get stuck into the ironing on his day off (We probably rack up at least 3 hours’ worth per week so it has to be done pretty regularly! 🙂

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  5. Are you SERIOUS?! My iron and ironing board get an outing maybe once a year – if they’re lucky. I’m trying to think if there’s anything equivalent in my chores…. nope, nothing. I collect dust bunnies 🙂

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  6. You have a very specific disorder…there must be a support group out there for you ?? Love your calculations to 5, nice math. I use my ironing board to hang up my bath robe. When I use the iron, I usually have to dust it first. Ever since Casual Friday turned to Business Casual everyday !

    I have so many memories of moist cotton pieces in a plastic bag in the frig. It was always our first chore. ☺

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  7. I had to laugh, this makes my rule of not having any ironing in the basket on New Year’s Day seem totally benign! I’ve never liked synthetics though so I’ve always been an ironer. Never jeans though, I think that would make old Levi Strauss turn in his grave. 🙂

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  8. You lost me when you started counting up points! My son has 2 long sleeve button up shirts he loves that absolutely have to be ironed before he will wear them. The collars creased up and the front band creased up when just dried. Rather than ironing them himself, he made sure to at least bring these two shirts home from college to be washed and ironed every time he made a visit. Then he would take them back to school and sometimes get two wearing’s out of them each if he remembered to hang them up between wearing. Everything else he owns can be washed and hung up without ironing. Now he’s gone off to grad school seven and a half hours away so coming home once a month or so isn’t an option. I told him to be sure to pack his ironing board and iron when he packed up his apartment. With roommates, he has no idea where that iron and ironing board got off too. Hmmm? Who loses an iron and ironing board? ~Elle
    PS Can I count this as my blogging post for the day? 😉 LOL!

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  9. I don’t like confessions, especially true ones. I don’t iron. I hate synthetics and have ironed one or two items in the past 30 or 40 years. I love cotton too but am not going to crossover. Haven’t the time nor the inclination. o_O Sigh.
    Great post, Linda. This should make for fascinating conversation. 😛 ❤

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  10. Lawdy! I recall my friend’s mom, with the board set up in the living room (which was already filled to capacity with furniture) and she would iron while watching her soaps. Cigarette hanging out of her mouth, coffee on the table next to her and a spray bottle of water right along side if a can of NIagara. She’d take the DRY clothes, lay them out, spray them with water and then roll them into bundles. Stacking those bundles back in the basket, she’d take them out and iron them DRY, Grab a hanger off the couch and hang them on the coat rack. It was fascinating to watch from the hallway, that ONE DAY. I asked my friend if she was ever pressed into service to do that and she said, nope because her mother didn’t like the way she rolled.

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    • My mother sprinkled her dry starched clothes, rolled them n a ball, stuffed them in a pillow case and put them in the big chest deep freezer. She’d get out a piece at a ime, iron it, and hang it on a hanger on the door facing to season. At the end of the day, she’d proclaim how many she’d ironed. It seems like it was always fort to fifty. All the girls had to ale off our dresses and hang them up the minute we walked in from school. We had to get at last two wearing out of a dress. My brther’s clothes were always too dirty for a second day, but he had to put on play clothes for far he’d tear his school clothes. It was a tragedy to ruin school clothes.

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  11. way to much ironing!!! tees and jeans for me…in prison for that just pressed look…move the mattress and lay the dampen item on the metal bunk, smooth out the item, and replace the mattress…pressed while you sleep…and I didn’t even do that…

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