Giving up ironing, yes we can – A guide for the reluctant beginner

This is my story. I am telling it because I think it might help other women like me.

I used to iron everything, well nearly. Not underwear, but everything else, towels, serviettes and bedclothes included. Then, I had a baby. The towels went unironed and so did the bedclothes. Then I had another baby, serviettes stayed crumpled and bibs never had a chance to be anything else. Along the way, plenty of people (husband, friends…) told me that I should really consider doing less ironing. But it seemed important, I was in a job where people “noticed” freshly ironed clothes, I’d always done it, and I didn’t want to lower my standards any further… Also, nannies did a bit of ironing as well as looking after the two girls, so…
And then I moved to an enormous house in the suburbs, where somebody helps me with the (far more considerable amount of) housework that needs to be done, and she doesn’t iron. And she’s finally persuaded me that there are plenty of more useful things I could be getting on with.
So this is my current state in my fight against addiction to ironing: I iron:
  • none of the girls’ clothes
  • none of my husband’s shirts – he gets them done at the dry cleaner’s and really isn’t fussed about anything else being ironed…
  • blouses, shirts and some trousers of mine
  • NOTHING else
OK, so I sometimes have relapses. On a bad day, I might decide that the girls’ trousers need ironing or that I’m fed up with crumpled pillowslips. These are momentary illusions that are quickly dispelled.
And if you’re still hesitating to take the plunge, below is a handy fact and fiction guide to help you. You’ll thank me one day, yes you will.
FACT: Whatever precautions you take, you can do terrible damage  with a transfer picture to a child’s favourite garment AND to the iron.
FICTION: “You can always tell when something hasn’t been ironed”. WRONG. After ten minutes of being worn (two minutes in public transport), a freshly ironed garment will be uniformly limp on the flat bits and crumpled around elbows, knees, waists etc and look identical to a non-ironed one.
FACT: It is physically impossible to iron T-shirts: the side seams are skewy. I am reliably told that Petit Bateau, who were the only ones who used to make T-shirts with straight side seams because they used high-quality cotton, no longer do (it’s called cost-cutting, and they’ve probably relocated somewhere cheaper too…) so this fact now applies to ALL T-shirts. (And I know you might have trouble believing that some people actively look for straight side-seamed T-shirts, but I assure you some do.)
FICTION: “It is worth slaving away for the pleasure of slipping into a bed with freshly ironed sheets/duvet cover.” WRONG. The pleasure lasts four seconds. You spent forty minutes ironing them. Think about it.
FACT: People who comment on the fact that your clothes are crumpled lead very, very sad lives.

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