Death to the ironing pile!

Death to the ironing pile

Growing up, my mum was Master of the Laundry.

No sooner had you discarded your dirty clothes than they were in the washing machine, hung, dried, ironed and back on the bed. I grew up using this as one of many measures of competency at home.

My hat is forever tipped to such Laundry Masters, but I now accept the fact that I am not one of them. And that’s OK.

In fact, I am very, very, very bad at keeping up with my ironing. Like, bad enough that there are clothes at the bottom of the basket that may or may not have been there since…May. That kind of bad.

I generally manage to take care of the top 75% every week, but rarely seem to find time or motivation to finish it completely.

And while I’m slowly finding my groove and establishing the rhythms that work in our home, my lack of ironing prowess has always bothered me.

Over time though, I’ve worked out a few hacks to help cut down on the amount of ironing I need to do. Which leaves me time to do more pleasurable things, like scrape paint off windows or clean the toilet.

3 Home Hacks for Ironing Pile Death

1. Shake, shake, shake! 
As I’m hanging up the wet laundry, I give everything (except handwashing or delicates) three really good, firm shakes before I peg them up. This plus line-drying generally takes care of most wrinkles.

2. Sort and fold straight away.
Not always practical, I know, but when I can I like to fold and sort the clothes as soon as they come inside or out of the dryer. It means they don’t get all creased up sitting in the basket for who knows how long.

3. Drop your standards a little. 
I can’t be sure, but I don’t think people talk about us behind our backs due to this non-ironing thing. “Oh, would you look at that rumply family? How embarrassing. Can you believe they walk around like that?”

Now I no longer iron tshirts, kids clothes, pyjamas, gardening gear, exercise clothes, jeans or shorts. I do iron Sparky’s work shirts, anything really creasy like cotton and linen, and a handful of my delicates. I will admit that I love ironing pillowcases and teatowels though. Weird, I know.

How about you? Do you iron? Do you avoid the ironing? Do you outsource it? Are you the Mayor of Wrinkle Town?

42 Responses to Death to the ironing pile!

  1. Ironing? Seriously, I didn’t know people still did that. I think I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve used an iron in my entire life (and I’m nearly 50). Let it go, I say! :-)

  2. Are we sisters, having the same mom? :O No…serious, my mother was like that too. She LOVES ironing. I hate it. Big time. I gave up my dryer. Works perfect to hang the wet clothes outside or somewhere in the house to get them dry…no ironing needed anymore! And what helps the best is: reduce the amount of laundry. Less clothes = less loads of laundry. The last time I picked up my iron, was to give it to my daughter when she moved out. Silly girl loves ironing…:O

  3. I iron cotton bedsheets and anything else that is 100% cotton that comes out of the dryer wrinkled. This also includes tablecloths, but I do not always iron napkins (we use too many to iron them all). Laundry and ironing are probably my favorite household chores. I do them while listening to a musical.

    Oh, and I always always always iron fabric before cutting it for a sewing project. It’s a rule my grandmother found in the Bible, though I’ve never actually seen it myself. :)

  4. As a new mum and stay at home wife I ironed everything – baby’s bibs, tea towels, pillowcases, and my husbands (a diesel fitter) work clothes. Finally hubby told me he was the only tradie in the workshop with ironed clothes and it was a bit embarrassing for him. He suggested I ease up. Slowly I did and I found, like you that with a flick at the clothes line and prompt folding, some things could escape the iron. I still like to iron many things – my argument is that they stack more neatly in the cupboards and drawers when ironed and there is something pleasurable about catching up on my favourite cooking shows while I iron. (You might as well find joy in the little things and I do feel a case of ‘a job well done’ when the ironing is (temporarily) up to date)

  5. I LOVE ironing. As a single mom, I didn’t do it nearly often enough and made sure to teach my kids how to do their own as soon as I knew they wouldn’t turn themselves into burn victims. But now, with my kids grown, I make the time to iron even though I work and keep up the house on my own. I get such a feeling of satisfaction knowing that every piece of clothing I own is available to be worn on almost any given day. And that my blouses are all crisply lined up in the closet. For me the key is to always have an ironing board set up, a spray bottle of distilled water at the ready and a television within sight. As for pillowcases, table cloths and cotton napkins: don’t get me started. Ironing them is pure bliss.

  6. I use my iron when I’m sewing. And maybe once every other month when one of us pulls something out of the closet and it’s so wrinkled I have to admit those aren’t going to fall out while we were it. (Though, my husband’s work clothes go to the laundry and they press his shirts. So, there’s that.)

  7. I remember my mom ironing even my dad’s cotton hankies. I might iron 3 or 4 things in a year. I’ve had the same ironing board for 43 years of marriage and am on my 2nd iron only because I dropped the first one and broke it. I try to never buy 100% cotton clothing as ironing it is an exercise in frustration. The wet snap and fabric softener seem to remove most wrinkles. Leaving clean and dry clothes in a hamper without folding or hanging them seems a waste of effort. Each to their own, I guess.

  8. I try to avoid buying clothes that will need ironing. I use Downy Wrinkle Releaser in the blue spray bottle- I’m a big fan! I do send a few things to the dry cleaners and really iron very rarely. I feel guilty when I’m slacking in the meal prep department, but never about ironing!

  9. I hang all clothes that require ironing on clothes hangers and then hang these on airers to dry. This means I don’t double handle clothes and they are taken inside all at once and can stay hanging there until ironing day. Brooke, just a thought, but perhaps you don’t need those clothes that remains in the bottom of your ironing basket :P

    • It seems to be easier to iron, or may not even need ironing, if I dry a shirt, for example, in the dryer for just a few minutes and hang it while very damp. We downsized to a condo and don’t have outdoor space to hang laundry, but I absolutely do not miss a yard to keep up with!
      (I agree with Luna regarding the clothes in the bottom of the basket…)

  10. So I got my ironing board out the other day (I use it when decluttering my linen cupboard because I don’t like bending to fold stuff) and my 3 and 4 year old looked up and went “mummy, what’s that?”
    I guess it has been a while since I cleaned the linen cupboard?

    Oh… and the iron? Only used for labelling the kids clothes at the start of the year… who Irons???

  11. I’m all with Ecocatlady. I don’t think I’ve
    ironed anything in at least 20 years. I can’t
    see I will in the next 20 years. I can’t even
    remember my mother ever ironing – I guess we
    just grew up in wrinkled clothes!

  12. I’m a snapper. I do the 3 snap thing before hanging up my laundry and that generally takes care of anything shocking. If it’s still kind of wrinkly after drying I have no problem draping it over my family and letting them work the wrinkles out. :)

  13. I never iron! Im a shaker before hanging and fold asap. Much simpler and one less thing to do that I hate… Let it go, the pillow cases, tea towels.. Spend the time in the garden instead.. Wrinkle free shirts from TMLewin are a time saver too.. Life is too short to spend it chained to the ironing board xx

  14. Yeeah, we moved house 4 years ago and the kiddo wanted to know what the ironing board was for. He was 10. I did iron his school shirts until this year, and my hankerchiefs while the iron was going (because it’s nice when they’re smooth and crisp) but he’s 15 now and I’ve handed his washing partly over, so they don’t get ironed at all.
    To be fair, he wears a blazer over the top all day, so he has a point, but we did do the ironing lesson so at least he knows how.

  15. I remember my mom ironing for what seemed like hours, and while I kind of liked the smell of freshly ironed sheets & shirts, I vowed never to waste hours ironing like she did. Seemed so tedious. I did take my iron out recently to try and press some curtains, and I ended up burning a big hole in them, so ironing is definitely not for me!

  16. I can’t give up ironing, although a problem with my hand might make me. I love to iron and I’ll do it till the bitter end. :-) I promise to read through the suggestions when and if I have to stop.

  17. I don’t have a problem with ironing, but that’s probably because I don’t own an iron! I try and choose clothes that will stay wrinkle-free and I also do the big shake out before I hang them on the line! I also don’t use a dryer, so I think that helps!

  18. I have had to let go of ironing my clothes as well! It just takes too much time. Have learnt to find clothes that needs less ironing. Have also been diligent about folding clothes properly. When I really need to get rid of wrinkles, there’s the clothes steamer. So glad to know I’m not the only one.

  19. The only time I iron is if I have a job interview. Prompt hanging according to me) and lowered standards (according to my mother) take care of the rest.

  20. No ironing here luckily. If I don’t have time to hang clothes after drying, I drape over the laundry basket & they seem to be fine for wrinkles. My husband dries his work shirts then does some fluffing thing with a wet washcloth? I don’t know what he does but he hasn’t ironed in 5+ years & wears button downs.

    Oh wait, I do iron sewing fabric but if I could figure out a way to get out of that I would too. :)

  21. Maybe it’s an American thing – but it would never have occurred to me to EVER iron the things that you’ve finally given up on (t-shirts, jeans, exercise clothes, pjs, etc.) Like you, though, I love to iron the pillow cases and tea towels after they come in from a day in the sun on the clothes line. It makes for a lovely linen closet and makes the freshly-changed bed look crisp and tidy. (Please don’t ask me to iron the sheets…drawing the line there.) Besides, tea towels are typically actually linen – ironing linen makes such a big difference in its appearance and when it’s crisp it looks like we’re ready for company. :)

  22. I have been know to have stuff in my ironing basket that was washed 18 months previously! I LOATHE it. I have a sister in law who irons the sheets she has on her bed every morning!!!!! And she irons her knickers. I have to force myself to empty the ironing basket every couple of weeks, I like doing p/cases, tea towels and hankies, but try and get away with as little as I can.

  23. Wow I must be queen of the wrinkle town. I have barely ironed anything in my life. My husband will iron his dress shirt before an interview but, usually that is all that gets ironed.

    • You just described my home situation too! The ironing board has been used twice by my fiance in the last 2 years – for an interview, and to impress his dad. I haven’t used it for my clothes ever.

  24. We iron, one or two items *maybe* once a year. Maybe. Like, if we are going to a wedding. We don’t even own a real ironing, board, just one of those short table top boards. and our iron is stored under the bathroom sink, with my hot rollers, which i also use about once a year.

    We shake and hang hubby’s dress shirts up on hangers while wet and it makes them ‘good enough’ for day to day (he’s a graphic designer, his office is pretty chill) and i just don’t buy things that need ironing for myself as a rule.

    I can still remember as an 80s teenager my all cotton-and/or-rayon wardrobe really did need ironing, and i would only iron the parts that would show – like i would iron sleeves if i was wearing a vest or something over it. My mother didn’t care – i was wearing it, it was up to me. My best friend’s mother would have a HEART ATTACK if i did it at their house and would make me take everything off and iron it all. ha.

  25. We don’t iron anything. I line dry in the summer and hang everything indoors in the winter and nothing seems to need ironing. I live in Alberta Canada.
    Funny eh? I wonder how many hours my mum spent ironing in her lifetime?

  26. I’m confused about your sister-in-law, does she change her sheets daily or actually put the iron on the bed and iron the sheets in situ?

  27. I love ironing now I have time to enjoy it. I have a supersize ironing board and a fancy steam generating iron. I iron tshirts, sheets, pillowslips, teatowels, anything i can. However, when my children were smalll they would outgrow clothes in the ironing pile! I would also take care of the top 75% including school uniforms and the rest would get left behind. Eventually it was too small for anyone and would be handed on. Clearly the girls didn’t need as many clothes as they had! Now I enjoy ironing as a luxury as I have time to stand and enjoy the scent of fresh laundry and delight in the piles of immaculate linen and clothing ready to be put away.

  28. When I lived at home, ironed clothes and bedding were always my little Christmas because my mum just made it all like new and it was amaizing. With years the magic sort of dissolved as I learned how much she actually hates doing it. She would always put it off until the very last moment, she’d be annoyed and she didn’t seem to have any joy in giving us our ironed things so it got me wondering, maybe there could be another way (but some that is not including me doing it because I hated just as much and I was so bad at it :D)

    Now that I live with my boyfriend, I actually quite enjoy ironing. Maybe because we are minimalists and we don’t wash that often. Maybe because we don’t drag a new t-shirt out every day or two. Maybe because I don’t have to iron any underwear, not even his boxers. Maybe because I work for a lady who is absolutely insane about washing everything all the time and she has an incredible amount of stuff so there is no day in a week when I’m not doing at least half a basket of ironing. And that makes me appreciate when I can do my own stuff once a week or two, because it’s a nice change and we only have few bits :)

    I sometimes try to avoid doing some bits like pillow cases, but I often find myself doing them anyway because just like you, for some reason I love doing that! They are very simple to do, no weird shapes or materials, just plain rectangle of cotton or silk. And I love how flat they are then! And I love having all my t-shirts nicely flat and folded. Dunno, it’s maybe because I know that it’s not useless. That we will totally appreciate it. We both love ironed and nicely smelling laundry and we can just have a good evening sniffing our freshly changed bed and pyjamas. Whist my bosses children? They don’t even notice and nobody ever thanks in this house, no matter how much time you spent doing their superkingsize beds with six and more pillows for everybody! :)

  29. Wrinkle town all the way! I buy clothes that don’t need ironing or hand-washing. Life is to short :P My SO has shirts that need ironing but that’s his responsibility. I think I’m following my mum’s philosophy, she bought clothes that didn’t require ironing, discouraged me from buying clothes in my teens requiring ironing by insinuating that I would be taking care of it. She offered to pay me $20 extra pocket money to handle the family ironing but that wasn’t enough incentive for me either.

    • This is great, Kurt! Thank you! I just read on FB yesterday that they are so widely populated now that if they were a country they would be the fifth largest in the woldn…ard growing. That is incredible to think. I’m challenged by your post.

    • LOVE, LOVE the Christmas CD. The problem is that I keep loaning it out to friends and so I have only listened to it once or twice. What does that say about me? Generous friend or goofy girl who should tell them to get their own copies!! Leah

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  31. I have to say I’m a bit surprised that you iron anything at all? I have never owned an iron, and I don’t think people give me weird looks for that reason. Cotton clothes normally look fine as long as you take care to dry them righ (shake, hang straight, with enough room on the drying line). Perhaps it’s a cultural thing, I don’ think Norwegians (very informal when it comes to clothing here) iron anything other than men’s shirts… ;)

  32. I don’t iron very often but I do like crisp ironed bed linen, not the fitted sheets of course, these stretch out. A long time ago when my children were little I read somewhere that when your children grow up they won’t remember having ironed pyjamas but they will always remember the bed time stories it’s true, my girls often talk about those story times. So I iron my cotton clothing which I love and when I sew and embroider but we still have the bedtime stories only now it’s to grandchildren. I say each to their own, there is no right and wrong way.

  33. I hate ironing! I’ve outsourced it to my husband who takes care of the washing and ironing in our household! if it weren’t for him very little would ever be ironed…