Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Simple Living Through Ironing (yes, you read that right)

As I tackled a mountain of ironing recently, I thought about how, in a roundabout way, ironing could fall into our Simple Living category.

At first glance, of course, it seems obvious that the simplest way to iron is to....avoid ironing! You could buy clothes and linens that don't require pressing, or you could pay a dry cleaning shop or a maid to do the task for you. There is nothing wrong with any of those options, but I would contend that doing your own ironing can also be a way to promote simplicity in your life.

First, there is the fact that ironing is one of those tasks that allows for introspection. In my busy and often noisy household, I find I value work that allows me to spend time in thought. It's hard to set aside time to sit and think, knowing as I do the length of my To Do list, but as ironing is a job that needs to be done anyway, I enjoy the time to consider, ponder, and mentally unwind while I stand at the ironing board. Watching the iron steam and press the fabric is calming in a way, and may also help you get the wrinkles out of whatever problems or ideas your mulling over in your mind!

Second, ironing is a simple way to add beauty and enjoyment to your home. A pretty cloth or placemats on the dinner table can make even the simplest fare seem festive, and nicely ironed cloth napkins are beautiful as well as being better for the environment than paper. Crisply ironed clothes look good and wear well. And you really can't beat the simple luxury of sliding in between freshly ironed cotton sheets at the end of a long day.

Third is the simple satisfaction of a job well done. There is often more joy to be found in the fruits of our own labor than in something accomplished by somebody else.

It seems that in many ways simplicity has much to do with your state of mind. Household tasks like ironing or hanging out the wash can be seen as mindless drudgery, or embraced as a source of simple enjoyment. If simplicity is about slowing down, paring down, and savoring life moment by moment, perhaps the way we approach our regular duties is a key component to simple living.

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