Why I don’t iron (and other confessions of laziness)

I don’t iron. I’ve mastered the art of shaking my clothes out before hanging them on the line and carefully positioning the pegs for minimal peg-marks. Sure, once upon a time I had to iron my school uniform every day and I’ve even had “ironing days” when I set up camp in front of the TV and plough through shirts and trousers for the next fortnight of work. But there is nothing worse than running late and realising the only thing you have worth wearing needs ironing, which is why I no longer buy clothes that look like they’d be “high maintenance” and if I do, I work out a way to make the creases work for me, rather than make me look scruffy.*

I simply don’t enjoy ironing, though I’m not bad at it – but just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you  have to do it, right? I like to think I have better things to do than stand over an ironing board glaring down creases. There’s a quote that I once came across (and is likely from a fridge magnet of some “anonymous” description):

Ironing causes wrinkles.

I like to use that as my excuse, but I actually don’t iron because I’m just plain lazy. What’s the point? You iron your lovely linen shirt, sit down in the car, and emerge creased before you even walk into the party. And as for those men and women who manage to look perfectly pressed all the darn time … well, good for you. I personally prefer my starch in my mashed potato.

What? She who does not like a comma out of place is OK with creases in her trousers?! I am very much aware that, as a control-freak perfectionist, this anti-ironing belief is a terrible flaw. The thing is, I’ve never been one for appearances. Sure, I love having fabulous hair and my sister occasionally reminds me to drag a brush through it but, when it comes down to it, I like to think I have the scruffy, unkempt writerly look down … possibly because I am a scruffy, unkempt writer.

So, I don’t iron. I also don’t dust. Well, I might dust once every 2-3 years which usually coincides with moving house so things get a wipe down when they get packed and unpacked (that’s technically twice). Dusting? Really? The world is made up of dust, so why do

so many people feel like they have to purge their homes of it? Isn’t it like trying to banish the world from your house? Yeah, symbolism! Read into that!

Sometimes my mother and sister invite me on walks, but I don’t really “walk” like they do. A leisurely stroll through a foreign city exploring the sights is great, but walking the suburbs of Sydney at a rapid pace while stopping on occasion to pick up dog poo is … really not my thing. I don’t care if it’s good for me, it just doesn’t interest me. I also don’t run, ever. I’d rather miss the bus than run. I like to tell people I only run if I’m being chased, and even then it depends on why I’m being chased.

About three or four years ago a work colleague (who shall now be named Annoyingly Enthusiastic Sporty Person because she was damn annoying in all she did but, in this instance, was especially enthusiastic about sport) invited me to join a netball team. I was very polite in saying I did not a) know how to play, b) have any interest in learning, and c) have time to go to the training and games (which were about an hour away from my house). Annoyingly Enthusiastic Sporty Person made a big song and dance about how much the team needed new players and it was fun and easy and the exercise would be good for me (Are you calling me fat?!) and blahblahblah.

“I don’t believe in physical activity outside of the bedroom!” I proclaimed.

Annoyingly Enthusiastic Sporty Person stopped asking me after I started parking my car halfway up the stairs to the office to save me from walking the whole way. As far as I’m concerned, walking to the kitchen to make coffee and navigating the car and boxes in the garage to get the wine rack are activities enough for me. On occasion I do squats in the shower to shave my legs, but that happens about once every three months (less in Winter), and only because the shower isn’t big enough to fit a chair.**

Sweet Pea "helping" my sister make her bed ...

I do like a clean kitchen, have been known to make my bed at least once a week (but not today), and once every 3-6 months I sort through my wardrobe and re-fold everything into neat and orderly piles. I’m not an alphabetised bookshelf kind of gal … I’m organised chaos, organisation optional. I will yank a wrinkled shirt from beneath the cat and shake off the loose cat hairs before going out for dinner (hey, at least I shake it). I will let a thick layer of dust settle on the top of my TV screen before I even think to wipe it over with a cloth. Is this a bad thing?

The thing is, there seems to be a concept of what it means to be “lazy” and I tick all the boxes. I’d rather stay in bed than go for a walk. I prefer to read or write than socialise (fortunately my friends now have children and husbands so demands for my social presence have decreased considerably). I am even unemployed. Gasp! Horror! Therefore, I must be lazy.

Am I lazy or do I just prioritise differently?

I’m relatively fit and healthy (I hardly huff and puff when I roll over in bed, and I’m genuinely working on eating properly to regain some control over the weight I’ve gained in my period of snacking unemployment), I don’t smoke, and I rarely drink excessively.***

Define: lazy.

To be lazy is to be indolent, to be disinclined to work or exert effort, to be sluggish.

I’ve accomplished a fair bit in my life already – sure, I’m not on a six-figure income like some people my age, I’m not married (many of the girls I went to school with are), I have not invented any billion dollar technology products … but I like to think I’ve done enough “stuff” that my life is pretty fabulous. (Is this the part where I mention I live at home, am currently sitting my PJs with the cat in my lap, and I’m contemplating going back to bed with a book for the day?)

I am twenty-six years old. I’ve travelled, studied and loved. I’ve sneezed at dust and giggled at the sensation of it tickling the back of my nose. I’ve received loved letters and stacked them neatly in a box with dried roses and refused to throw them out. I’ve eaten more culinary delights than I can count. I’ve written about the constructs of identity in contemporary YA fiction. I’ve walked the streets of Strasbourg and Puebla and New York City. I’ve had days when making my bed isn’t an option because I’m still in it. I’ve told teenagers that they can be whatever they want to be, as long as they keep being who they are. I’ve hiked the Inca Trail and peered through the fog at Machu Picchu, legs aching with pulled muscles and lungs stinging with exhaustion. I’ve cried in the arms of an eight year old who gave me the best hug I’ve ever received.

I don’t think I ever need to iron a shirt again. There are too many words to collect, books to read, and stories to write … And I hardly think that makes me lazy.




*This is subjective, of course. I think I look fine but others might beg to differ.

**I’m probably not as lazy as I’m presenting myself to be. Just this morning I unstacked the dishwasher and yesterday I managed TWO loads of washing.

***Also subjective.


17 comments on “Why I don’t iron (and other confessions of laziness)

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  6. I love this! 🙂

    I’m in the minor-est of minorities here, I know, but I like ironing. Seriously! I find it soothing, heh. And yes, I iron my houseclothes, my t-shirts, my PJs, my bed linen & towels. Anything that will get next to my skin, I iron. This might be a cry for help, hahaha.

    But I don’t do squats in the shower; I do leg raises. I’m still working on my balance.

    • You are the 1% … !

      Actually, I can understand the therapeutic effects of ironing, so I won’t judge! As for the leg raises … I realised – in a moment of enthusiasm yesterday that led to shaving my legs for the next month – that it’s really more of a delightful ballet of lift-crouch-slump against the wall.

  7. My mother-in-law irons towels. Need I say more?
    Thought it sounded like a Timmy hug, but I’m sure the beautiful art of hugging is more sublime when you aren’t restricted by starch! =)

  8. Those boxer shorts just so happen to belong to that eight year old who gave you the hug of your life! As for the bed linen, the only reason I iron my pillowcases is to fool myself into thinking I am in fact in a five star hotel, not in a suburban home piled high with kids and ironing! Now there’s inspiration for you – keep writing honey, or you too could end up ironing undies! 🙂

    • Ah, the hotel placebo! I understand now! How do you feel about ironing towels?!

      As much as I love your eight year old[s] (those who have now passed the age and the one who is rapidly approaching it), it is the hug from my little Mexican boy to which I refer.

  9. You know what I really hate? When people iron pajamas.

    I mean, what the heck?! You’re just gonna SLEEP in those, man! Great, now you’re ironing bed sheets. What is WRONG with you?!

    …Um. I mean… Yeah. 😐

  10. I wash all dishes that don’t have visible food particles with a splash of hot water.

    I would also question why people would want to be married at 26–I wouldn’t, even if I was with someone. Or maybe ‘m just a commitment-phobe.

    • I am a soap-a-holic when it comes to doing dishes, though I have been known to leave my breakfast plate in the sink for “later”. As for marriage and kids … It could have been me so easily that I’m not phased by my friends having husbands and discussing teething problems (their kids’, not their husbands’)!

  11. Alleluia! A woman after my own heart. Some people even iron t-shirts! Do like clean bathroom as well as kitchen, do make bed daily (fools me into thinking i’m in control) and do remove cobwebs when I get to feeling too like Miss Haversham. But otherwise… Will I wish on my deathbed that I’d dusted more often? I don’t think so! Might regret not trying to get my book published, though.

    • I also knock down cobwebs (usually when I start to feel like I should be carving pumpkins to match the decor) and like a clean bathroom (which is difficult when sharing a shower with a parrot)! It really is about priorities – and wrinkly clothes and dusty corners are really quite quaint!

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