Month: July 2014


by D.J. 

I think Slow Laundry is all about awareness. To really understand and appreciate your laundry, you have to be fully aware of it – you have to be present in the moment, with all your senses attuned to the various stains and smears.

That’s why I’m really frustrated that lately, Cate has started drinking wine while she washes our clothes.

It started off as just a “nightcap” when she started the nightly 10 pm wash. I usually go to bed and just let Kate handle this wash, because I like to get a good night’s sleep, so at first I didn’t mind.

We could use a little more of this in our house.

We could use a little more of this in our house.

But then she also started having a glass of wine during our 6 pm wash, which is the only wash we get to share together as a couple. So now she’s drinking during almost half of each day’s shared laundry sessions.

I’m not sure why she’s doing this. So far I haven’t asked her about it, other than raising my eyebrows and/or rolling my eyes and letting out a little “hmph” every time she takes a sip. But it’s getting to the point where I feel like I’m the only one truly doing laundry in our house.

I’d appreciate any advice on how I can help her understand that by dulling her senses, she’s missing out on a lot of the joy of doing laundry.


Well, well, well. (Part 2)

Part 1

By D.J.

Success! I’ve proven the haters wrong (Cate, our neighbor Noah, etc.) who thought I shouldn’t try to dig a well in our backyard.

When I was 8 feet down into the hole I’ve been digging, my pickaxe broke through some sort of long, cylindrical tan rock into an aquifer. Water started gushing out immediately – I barely had time to climb back up before the entire well filled up!

When I was originally planning this well, I thought I would need to build a bucket-lowering contraption. I was looking forward to this because I’m a pretty DIY guy and I probably have a natural aptitude for carpentry. But as it turns out, my well is so bountiful that the water actually overflows into our yard. So there’s no need to lower a bucket – I can just scoop water out of our yard, which is also filling up with water.DC water logo

And it’s lucky my well is so bountiful, because coincidentally the water pressure in our house has suddenly dropped to a trickle. Good thing I no longer need to count on the DC Water and Sewer Authority for my water!

Laundry Swap!. (Part 3)

Part 1, Part 2

By D.J.

This will be my last post about Laundry Swap!.

The dream of Laundry Swap! was simple and beautiful: use the postal system as a magical highway for boxes of dirty clothes, building a global community through mutual exchanges of laundry. Strangers would get to see what kind of clothes I wear and how I’d gotten them dirty, and I’d get to do the same. By washing someone else’s laundry, it would almost be as if I’d traveled to their homeland and worn their socks for a day (but better, because I don’t actually have to travel anywhere and instead get to stay at home doing laundry).

But Cate has insisted that we stop participating in Laundry Swap!. Here’s what happened.

Our first Laundry Swap! partner failed to wash our son’s cloth diapers often enough (daily), so we requested a new partner. Fair enough (on our part).

Our second partner was a little unusual. The first box of laundry she sent us was just white bedding and towels – no clothing. Then the next day, we got another box of just white bedding and towels…before we’d even sent back the first box!

Every day another big box of white sheets, pillowcases, and towels arrived. I can’t even imagine how many bedrooms and bathrooms this woman has! All the towels were monogrammed with her name (Garden Hilton), and I wonder if she isn’t a member of the Hilton family.

White sheets

Our backyard pretty much looks like this all the time.

I thought it was really exciting to be doing a celebrity’s laundry, but after two weeks Cate demanded that we drop out of Laundry Swap!. She said she was spending 18 hours a day doing laundry and was sick of it.

Honestly, I can’t even believe she’s complaining. I have to be at work all day earning a paycheck and would much rather be at home hand-washing sheets and towels. In fact, I wish there were some way I could just spend all day washing linens, every day, forever, like I was getting to live inside Downton Abbey (but downstairs).

Don’t Press Me!: The Debate About Ironing

by Cate

Antique charcoal iron

Do you know why they call this is a “sadiron”? It’s because it was invented by Henry G. Sad.

Within the Slow Laundry movement, there is a lot of disagreement on the subject of ironing. Some people, like my husband D.J., think that ironing is an integral part of the seventeen-stage laundry process and should be done using traditional tools like “sadirons” or a well-trained musk-ox.

Other, smarter people believe that ironing is frivolous and that your time could be better spent…well actually, any way you spend time is better than ironing with a sadiron. Except maybe ironing with two sadirons.

This is actually a minor point of contention within our household. I mean, it’s not like D.J. and I are going to get divorced over it (ha ha!). But we have been attending weekly marriage-counseling sessions to help resolve the issue. (Incidentally, it is surprisingly difficult to find a marriage counselor who doesn’t say “just iron your clothes with a regular iron to avoid this fight altogether.” So the guy we’re seeing isn’t technically a marriage counselor so much as he is a butcher. Well, “charcutier,” actually. Sorry, Jerry.)

Personally, I believe that the only way to allow your clothing to fulfill its destiny is to let it be itself. If that means being wrinkled, then you should let it be wrinkled! And as it turns out, pretty much all clothing wants to be wrinkled.

Just to be clear, my position on ironing has nothing to do with the fact that this chore takes me fourteen hours a week and causes over 90% of our kitchen fires. I just want my clothing to achieve self-actualization.

Pressed shirt

You can tell this shirt hates itself.

D.J., on other hand, thinks my anti-ironing position is extremist—like those Slow Laundry Fundamentalists who don’t believe in doing laundry at all, and instead just wear their clothing out in the rain once in a while. He works in an office where people are expected to wear clothing that has been forced into an unnaturally crisp and flat state (although this doesn’t explain why he insists that I also iron his underwear, or why he will only wear socks that are made out of silk.

How has your household handled the age-old ironing debate? D.J. and I have managed to reach a compromise, in which I don’t iron his clothes, and he tries to stay in constant motion when people are looking at him.