Thursday, July 21, 2011

How to enjoy Ironing

1. Buy the best iron you can afford. Over the years I have owned an assortment of irons that have caused me no end of grief. Steam irons that leaked and ruined clothes, dry irons that scorched fabrics. Heavy irons that could have been used for weight training sessions and caused aching wrists and arms. Lightweight irons that were useless at removing creases. I'm sure you have experienced similar problems with irons and have sent more than a few to the 'iron graveyard' or resold one in a garage or yard sale. I'm learning that irons that are in working order at garage sales unless they were duplicate wedding gifts are probably there for a reason - they didn't do their job!

After my last garage sale iron stopped working my husband brought me home a brand new iron and paid about $20 more than my suggested budget. We did wait until the appliance store was having a sale and saved about twenty per cent. I also checked prices and read the online reviews before opting for the one you can see in the above photo. It was worth it and at last I have an iron that works like a dream - that doesn't leak, gives continuous steam and actually removes creases effortlessly as it glides across the fabric. So far the sole plate has stayed clean and smooth. It is also lightweight, easy to refill and it just happens to be pink. It has made the task of tackling that ironing pile so much easier and faster too. I now regret being such a cheapskate when it came to purchasing an iron.

2. Use accessories that make ironing easier. A board that is easy to fold out and pack away that can be easily adjusted for your height. Choose a good thick ironing board cover in a design that you like that stays firmly on your board. I opted for a lilac and pink cover to coordinate with my iron. You also pay for what you get with covers. Again, buy the best you can afford or if you are skilled at sewing (not me!) make your own cover. I'm sure there are numerous patterns and directions out there on the net.

3. Consider where you will hang your freshly pressed items. Along with a new iron and board cover, I also recently invested in a tripod style hanging rack. It was probably the best $20 I have ever spent at Aldi. No more clothes hung over the back of the sofa causing more wrinkles or shirts hanging from the curtain rail! You will also need a good supply of hangers. I have been adding to my collection of wooden hangers which offer better protection for your clothes than the wire and plastic ones.

4. Have something beautiful to look upon as you iron - so be prepared to bring your ironing board out of the laundry room and set up your ironing station near a window if you have a lovely view as I do. If not, why not set up near a table where you have your favourite collections and family photos out on display. Those super-duper pricey fold out ironing boards in laundries may be fine for ironing the occasional shirt but if you have to do a big catch up on your ironing do you want to be in the laundry room for an hour or two, isolated from the family staring at the washing machine?

5. If you have a marathon session of ironing ahead why not watch a good movie? During my most recent ironing session I watched two DVDs from my Homestead Blessings Collection (my children bought me the complete set for Christmas last year!) that I had been intending to watch for sometime. We watched 'Sense and Sensibility' over the weekend too - that for me would make ironing so much more of a pleasure!

6.Play your favourite music as you iron or have worship music playing softly in the background and allow the Lord to minister to you as you serve your family by ironing their clothes. I enjoy listening to classical singers such as Hayley Westenra or Katharine Jenkins when I iron as I love listening to a beautiful voice and find this music to be so uplifting.

7. Make this a sweet smelling task by using a fragrant linen spray. Lavender is a popular choice - make your own spray with distilled water, witch hazel and a few drops of your favourite essential oil. My friend Carrie at Farming on Faith has a recipe for a linen spray which uses these ingredients - pop over to her blog where you will find all sorts of recipes for homemade cleaners using natural ingredients that will save you money.

8. Choose to see this task in a different light, not as one of drudgery but an act of service. Neatly pressed shirts for your husband may be vital if he is a businessman but even my husband who is a 'tradie' appreciates having crease free work shirts. You can call me old fashioned but I don't expect my husband to iron his own shirts. It makes for a smooth and stress free start to the day if my husband can easily locate matching work socks and pressed shirts.

These sweet little dresses have been outgrown but it just seems like yesterday they sat on top of the ironing basket waiting to be ironed.

9. Make your ironing session a time for thanksgiving, meditation and prayer. This is a wonderful way to find time to pray for your husband and children. When you iron those tiny little baby blue jeans thank God that you still have little boys with jeans that need ironing. Don't moan about those pretty little girl dresses that need an extra pressing to keep their pleats and tucks neat - a day is coming when you will long to have little dresses in your ironing basket again. As you iron your own items bring before Him your own personal prayer requests. I simply pray for help to be a better wife and mother. When I iron tablecloths I pray that our time as a family around our table will be one of joy and many blessings.

10. When you have finished a marathon or catch up ironing session step back from the board and take the time to admire those neat piles of freshly pressed linens and items before you return them to their appropriate drawers and closets. Give yourself a little reward - a cup of coffee or tea, a few moments on the sofa with a lovely magazine. A walk in the garden for some fresh air perhaps.

If ironing has become a drudgery and you dread the sight of wrinkled clothes piled up in baskets take steps to tackle it. If it is really a mountain you may need to prioritize piles and allow yourself several sessions to get through it all. Schedule it into your week and take a break from your blog or whatever it is that pulls you away from home management tasks. If ironing piles cause you distress you may want to set aside a specific day or evening for ironing. I have vowed on many a occasion to iron daily as the washing comes in off the line but more often than not we get busy with other things and the ironing basket begins to refill. I always feel better when I have tackled the pile though and the steps I have outlined above are making this task much more of a pleasure these days. It is no longer the 'necessary evil' I used to deem it!

How do you make household tasks such as ironing more pleasant? Do share! Onto my next task on my 'to do' list - filing the tax return. I wonder how that could be made more pleasant!


Finding Joy said...

I am going to make a confession - I only iron when I need the outfit. I buy a lot of clothes that don't require ironing and I love these outfits as they save me so much time!! And my husband irons his own clothes. We have had this arrangement for over 20 years and it works.

Katy said...

Wonderful ideas Ann!
Thank you, so much, for sharing them!!! :)

I hope you are having a wonderful week!

Saminda said...

Another confession Ann - I gave up ironing (completely) after Elijah was born. But do you know what? I miss those pressed shirts and dresses. Our new home has one of those swanky fold down ironing boards in the laundry, and I'm thinking I may just invest in a good quality iron and start ironing again. I now find myself with quite a bit of time, as the children are with Stuart 3 nights a week. I like the idea of freshly washing and ironing their clothes while they're away. Already I'm doing the housework, gardening and cleaning during that time, and aiming to spend every minute with the children while they are in my care. It's working so far. :) xx

Farmgirl Cyn said...

I, to, only iron when I have to. Ugly room to iron in. Ugly ironing board. Mediocre iron. But I do LOVE to see those wrinkles get all smoothed out! I confess to a bit of spray starch...I want those wrinkles to stay out!

Anonymous said...

I found your blog through homestead revivals blog. Your post makes me want to iron:). I usually iron only when it's needed...there's always room for improvement though! Hello from Idaho USA!

Fruitful Harvest said...

Hi Ann,

Great post!

Like one of the other comments....I only iron if I have too. Most of our clothes are wash and wear. I can never seem to get all the wrinkles out....especially on shirts. :(

Peace and Love,

Pam said...

I love the post Ann. It makes me feel cozy and homey. I am not a regular ironer.. I try to hang things up as quickly as possible out of the dryer, that way they don't seem to get wrinkled... we wear a lot of cloths that don't require ironing. But I do get an ironing pile gradually built up, and then I like to do as you do. I especially like to put on a nice old movie while I iron or sew. Something that makes me feel cozy, and then I am good to go for several hours. I do iron the occasional shirt out of the routine if we need it for a special occasion or I need one for Church and I haven't begun my ironing pile yet. It sure is nice to have some clean crisp shirts, skirts and even jeans that have been ironed and are hanging in the closet waiting to be worn
Much love and many blessings,

Suzanne said...

Hi Ann,
Thanks for the visit and I do indeed wish we were neighbors! We'd love visiting so much we'd never get anything done...LOL! I like to iron, I guess I am a rarity;-) All good tips to make it more pleasant.

Homeschool on the Croft said...

I love ironing! I have cut down on my ironing because of lack of time, but I love seeing all the ironed clothes on the airer, and then in piles ready to go to whichever room they're heading to :)
Normally, I put a sermon on SermonAudio while I'm ironing, and the time whittles away quickly.
Anne x

Renata said...

I'm much like you Ann - I take think of it as a special time to stop & watch a movie or something on youtube. I try & iron when the children are occupied outside so I don't feel like I'm neglecting them. I also love listening to focus on the family podcasts!
What a wonderful, practical post - makes me think I need to invest in a new iron. Did you say that you've tried the steam irons?

Have fun


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