Lessons from laundering and laundry baskets

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Josh, as I would recall, unacquainted, random guest, New Yorker and hiker, is eloquent. Equally funny. He knows things. It was the February 20, 2014.  I walked in and out Khaosan, a sort of solo traveler island in Thailand, located to the north of Central Bangkok. Packed. A lot of backpackers. Taxis. Bookstores. Souvenir shops. Cloth vendors. Restaurants. Bars. Pubs. Technically everything. I crawled into the Green House Hostel after paying a few bucks for a two day stay in Khaosan. The sun had almost disappeared. Josh and I met.  He once said life is a collecting exercise and sometimes disposing is hard. Just then he took some handmade accessories out of a bag. For his sister, who loves collecting and wearing them.

The day ended at a pub. Cozy and home–style.  We sat on soft cushions that lay on the floor around a short table. Neat and tidy. Open air. Little yellow bulbs hung around.  Bob Dylan and English folk songs kept playing. In style and ear-attractive.We waited for the drinks to arrive. Josh described things he saw and places he had been. And it went beyond seas to land, star dust and random things seen and forgotten. And later remembered. The collecting comment came, I remember. He told his collecting stories. I had mine too. Just two. I read books. Collect them. Reread again when time permits.

There’s a second I told Josh that night. Laundry baskets have kept me in wonderment. Earth shifts. And miracles happen. People keep up on laundry for three days. Then five. A week. Two weeks. Straight. And wait for them to be washed in huge piles that cannot be even carried. It’s another way of collecting. You sort out clothes first. It starts with pulling out the favorites. Or the ones you wear often. Getting off the entire basket is sometimes hard once you have got the most wanted clothes. The bottom of the basket kills you. A table runner. Mismatching socks.  A shirt you hate but you are not sure. A dress you barely wear. Pillow cases. A teddy’s dress (how did that get in?). I realized the meaning of ‘over analyzing’. Laundering is sometimes too much decision making. Should I tumble dry? Or hand wash? Whether colors will get washed away or not? Wash separate or together?  Do I first sew the torn ones and then wash? Too many questions. Then you leave clothes for the other day and quit washing. The thing is, over thinking can end with you worrying in life. Make a decision then and there. Complete the task. Then move to another.

Thanks to a few tips I learned being a Girl Guide for most of my life. We were often told to do the laundry or you will die alone. It was so empowering. I’m quite obsessed with washing. The moment I see a cloth or a pair of socks around, I want to hand-wash and dry them before things multiply. Because it’s an extra headache. The less you have, easier the wash load. And you will not run out of your favorite denims, pants or whatever when you need them.  It is empowering I said because, the moment you’ve been told of something over and over again it gives space to reason. True, we slip things, forget but once you know what you ought to do it pokes you around saying ‘Don’t forget, I’m around’.

Laundering is also to do with rules. When something pops up saying ‘dry clean only’, you’d be like ‘oh dear, it’s dangerous!’  And you leave them. But a delicate wash won’t ruin a cloth.  Rules are meant to be broken sometimes.

Last week   I was remembered all these needlessly when I came across four baskets full of clothes collected at a cousin’s. That evening I was conscious about collecting things and taking control of what’s been collected.  You’ll have enough of work to do, yes. Not only the laundry. But only if you realize what you have been collecting.

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