Saturday, May 31, 2008

Spin cycle

One of the things on my wish list for our new home is a laundry room located on the main floor or, better yet, on the same floor as the bedrooms. A couple of weeks ago we looked at a house that had the washer and dryer on the second floor and I would have bought the place on the spot, except that Dan is not as impulsive as I and it will be his house too:)

I was actually rethinking the whole laundry room location this morning when I was sorting "the wash" in my basement laundry room. It has a concrete floor, an extra high table that Dan made for me out of an old door and 2x4's, and plenty of room to sort piles on the floor. Needless to say, the room is far from decorative. The joists from the floor above get covered in cobwebs and I'm none too quick about vacuuming them. The cupboards are from a neighbor's kitchen re-do. The shelf over the washer and dryer is a piece of particle board that I've covered in blue check contact paper to match the makeshift laundry table. It holds boxes of detergent and bottles of stain remover and fabric softener, as well as the James Salt Water Taffey bank that is almost full with coins collected from the washing machine. On the unfinished wall is a calendar towel from the Jersey shore -- a souvenior that my aunt brings me every year from her vacation.

With the dryer humming away and the washing machine swooshing I enjoy the peacefulness of working in my hideaway. Between switching loads of laundry and folding clothes, warm and sweet smelling, right out of the dryer, I straighten the shelves that store all the assundry off-season and infrequently used items in our household. Nails pounded in ceiling beams hold Christmas wreaths, Easter baskets and beach bags. Another set of shelves hold bins of out-of-season clothes, punch bowl set, a box of costumes, assorted gift boxes and a stamp collection that I'm hoping someone will one day take an interest in.

I wonder what it would be like, having my haven right next to the family room or located in some other central area of the home. My laundry room is where I escape when the going gets crazy around our house. I sneak down the stairs, where noise of the machines drowns out the conversation and accompanying bedlam upstairs. I've been known to escape down there and vent my frustrations with tears or the last scoop of ice cream. The hum of the dryer and the rhythmic chugging of the washer don't give me away.

There's something comforting about the aroma of Snuggly fabric softener and freshly laundered clothing, folded neatly and organized in piles for each family member. I think back to the afternoons I would come home after school to find my mom folding a basket of clothes, still warm from the dryer. Perching on a stool in next to the dryer, I would spill all the news of my day. I've found that a tall stool, picked up from a garage sale, is one of the necessities in my laundry room. It's the perfect height to set a laundry basket, to sort clothes. And it's portable for dragging from one part of the room to the next.

Not long ago, Dan solved the dilemma of where to put the ironing board, when he took mine and fashioned it into one that folds down from the wall. As my grandpa would say, it's a real "rube" job, but it works great.

I guess there are days when hauling baskets of laundry up two flights of stairs has it's drawbacks. But my room is functional and utilitarian. I can't imagine having the laundry room in a common area where people, other than my family, are coming and going. Perhaps I'm just reluctant to air my laundry in public. It would mean I'd have to keep up with it, and that would definitely be a challenge!


annie said...

I always thought a more convenient laundry area would be better too. So when we did an add on/remodel I had ours put in a new place. It is handy, but I sure can't hide it much... I think your basement sounds better!

Bill said...

Your basement laundry room sounds like a cozy retreat. Maybe you can have two in your new home; one for show, and one just for you.

I remember being home sick from school when my mom was ironing. She ironed in the guest room, and I'd sit with her if I felt well enough. We'd watch Let's Make a Deal and The Newlywed Game. My mom only allowed herself daytime TV when she could be doing something productive like ironing.

Xandra said...

I love the thought of you holed up downstairs doing laundy! I, too, love all those neat piles of folded clothing. It gives me such a sense of satisfaction...

Great story about you and your mom. How is the house hunting coming?


Judith said...

Perhaps some conveniences aren't really worth what we give up, to have them. Great idea about the ironing board. I'll bet DH can think up ways to improve the laundry area, too.

Jen said...

Our laundry room is of the kitchen and no one goes to it unless they are following me around. They dont even know where it is. And it is big. I love it. I need to re model it but for now...other things are too important.

justabeachkat said...

I'm behind (yet again!) so it's been fun "catching up" on my blog reading tonight.

I sure enjoy your writing style.


Robin said...

Wow- now I know what I've been missing all these years! My laundry room is right in the way of traffic and there is no hiding in there.

I do escape sometimes by folding laundry - it gives me such a great sense of order in my life- I might not be able to control everything - but I can fold my laundry into neat and orderly piles!