Laundry is a 4-step process: wash, dry, fold, put away.

So if you cram a bunch of whites… and darks… and towels… and possibly the family cat… into the washing machine and turn it on, you have not “done” the laundry. You have arguably done ¼ of the laundry (badly). And, even if it eventually makes its way to the dryer, clothing that has been left in the washing machine for days on end will smell like mouldy salsa. Just sayin’.

Besides the cat, there are several other items that I prefer not to find in the washing machine including, but certainly not limited to: banking cards, credit cards, gift cards, money (both bills and change), receipts for items I had been hoping to return, unopened mail, unread school notices, unfilled prescriptions, house keys, lip balms, those tiny containers of dental floss given out by the dentist, rolls of mints, Halloween-sized chocolate bars, ear pods, phone chargers, phone charger cords, jewellery, hair accessories, golf tees, and Visine eye drops (which, as an aside, cost nearly $20 a bottle).

As a general rule, it is best to wash only clothing, and only in quantities that allow the washing machine door to close easily.

The guidelines for using the dryer are similar in the sense that you should stick to placing only clothing in the machine. However (and here’s where it gets complicated!) not every item made of fabric should go into the dryer. For example, the lululemon corporation made a strategic decision back in its founding days, to deliberately create only garments that needed to “lay flat to dry”. So the 400 items in my house that come from lululemon must never see the inside of a dryer. Instead, they must be draped across chairs, sofas, and standing lamps, creating the visual illusion that a dozen naked yogis may be frolicking somewhere in my home.

Should one follow the advice of the teenaged staff at any of the local mall shops, it is also best not to machine dry jeans, bras, or anything made of cotton, hemp, or manmade fabrics.   This means that only towels, bed sheets, and Walmart underwear, are actually safe to put in the dryer.

Because we now use ‘high efficiency’ appliances, do not expect the towels, bed sheets, and Walmart underwear to actually be dry when the machine comes to a stop. That little bell that goes off when the cycle has been completed is just a reminder to click ‘start’ again. In the olden days of the 20th century, it took about half an hour to dry things. It now takes about an hour and a half.

When the little bell has chimed for the third time, there is an expectation that the clean, dry laundry will be removed from the machine and returned to where it came from. Urban legend speaks of a magical house fairy who performs this task in the wee hours of the night. This mythical creature also unloads the dishwasher, restocks the refrigerator, and changes the kitty litter.

Speaking on behalf of house fairies everywhere, I say, “It’s the 21st century so suck it up buttercup, and get your crap out of the dryer!”

Also note that the laundry basket is short and plastic and remarkably different than your dresser or your closet and is intended for transportation more so than storage. True story… at one point there were six laundry baskets in my house and every single one was in a bedroom, filled with jumbled masses of CLEAN laundry. Situations like this make house fairies drink in the afternoon… Just sayin’.

Author: Kim Scaravelli

Kim Scaravelli is an entrepreneur, marketer, content consultant, and author of “Making Words Work”. The best way to keep in touch is to subscribe to Kim’s popular newsletter. Every second Wednesday, she shares practical writing tips, timely insights, and resources to make your work easier and your content better. To learn more about Kim, visit her website.

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