Going back to the original conversation that I had with a friend on the subject, I was having my usual moan about the size of my ironing basket and the fact that having missed a weekend, I was really behind with mine and my friend agreed, saying that all three of her ironing baskets were over flowing. Wow, I said, three ironing baskets. I just have one that is always so full the pile touches the ceiling. Yes, three. One for the children's clothes, one for the adult clothes and one for house things. This all sounded very organised to me, I don't think I could ever be that organised. Then I thought about it. Hang on a minute why would you need a basket for house things? To this question, she nonchalantly replied that it was for tea towels and bed linen, things like that.
Bed linen I can see. I don't iron bed linen I'm afraid. I'm sure it does look much lovelier having been ironed, but I have three youngish children who all love a good bounce on the bed and two children who wrap themselves up so tight in their duvets, they have had to be rescued on occasion. So even if I did spend all of that time ironing it, it would look all lovely for a few hours and then it wouldn't, so I don't bother.
Tea towels? Really? OK, I admit that my tea towels do come off the worst for a wash and they can look very creased and scrunched up, but I am not going to iron them. Not ever. Not even if the queen was coming for tea.
A discussion then ensued about what we all ironed and didn't iron and we discussed the merits of ironing bed linen or not, my friend leant in conspiratorially and said quietly that she had once not ironed a fitted sheet. I did have to give my opinion on this; that is what fitted sheets are for woman, when you put them on they stretch out and so they don't need ironing. She looked at me thoughtfully as if I had told her something life changing and eventually agreed that maybe from now on, she would leave the fitted sheets unironed.
So I asked a few people about their ironing habits. There seem to be two predominant camps when it comes to ironing. The 'iron everything's' (and I mean everything here) and the 'shake it and fold it's'. For some people, they have to iron everything; not just the regular clothes and linen but towels, underpants and socks. Socks?? Anything that gets washed has to go through the rigorous ironing process too. It always amuses me when we come back from a stay at my in laws as my mother in law is definitely an obsessive and if she has time, she irons some of our stuff and my husband quite likes having freshly ironed underpants and even the football shirts get a quick press which never happens at home as part of the reason we have so many of them is that they don't need ironing.
These ironing obsessives are in the minority I have to say and there were a lot more who seem to be in the 'shake it and fold' group of people. These people do iron the necessary stuff like shirts, uniform and anything made of cotton or linen, but they take the sensible approach to everything else.
There were one or two hardy iron haters. One of the mums that I know claims that she doesn't own an iron as she quite frankly can not see the point of having one. Another does own one, but laughed as she told me that she has to clean the dust off when she does use it as this is on a very rare occasion.
So what about me, which 'camp' do I fall into? I have become very good at folding over the years. A wise woman once told me in my early days as a housewife and a mother that once you had children, there would be no time for dusting and ironing and that I should enjoy the children and become good at folding and only clean what and when was necessary. Wise words indeed. Before children, like my mother before me, I was what can only be described as an 'extreme housewife' and I had to clean everything on a weekly basis and I ironed pretty much everything too (although never tea towels, pants or socks!). But as O got older and certainly as the family grew, I realised that those wise words were certainly true. Apart from the fact that there aren't enough hours in the day, the world didn't end just because I didn't iron all the tee-shirts or hoover behind the sofa.
I did go through a phase where I really didn't iron much at all after I had L and with a baby and a toddler in tow, there really just wasn't the time. My mother in law took exception to this though and we had more than one instance where she actually took clothes off the boys and ironed them before she would allow them out of the house.
These days I am fairly relaxed about it. My ironing basket is very rarely empty as there are always a few horrible things that I hate ironing that get left at the bottom until I realise that we don't really need them any longer and I get rid of them. I am an expert folder and all of my towels and bed linen are always folded and never ironed. If something comes off the line or out of the tumble dryer and it looks reasonable, I won't iron it. Other wise, it will go into the ironing pile and may get ironed at some point. I will however NOT EVER iron tea towels, pants, towels or socks. Not ever.
How about you, are you an underpant and tea towel ironer?
|The sorry state of my ironing basket|