coming out of the ironing closet

coming out of the ironing closet

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“Oh, yes, my little sister Alice (Ally) and ironing. She is so right. She loved to iron. She starched her shirts and other items by sprinkling (old-fashioned with hands or a soda bottle with a top), rolling up tightly then covering with towel to set. Next using Mom’s famous old iron to make the clothes emit clouds of steam and come out smooth as silk. On the other hand, I did not like to iron and didn’t care for domestic work. I liked reading and typing. Alice charged me 25 cents to iron a shirt. She’s always been an excellent entrepreneur also. Oh, and I gladly paid because her work was worth it.” ~my big sis, Kathryn

coming out of the ironing closet

I am coming out of the closet. I love to iron. I iron because I can. I iron because it reminds me of my childhood. I iron because it’s a small luxury in my life. I iron because it gives me so much more than I give it.

Yes, I suppose you might call this a dying art. Something of the past. Another dinosaur household chore that just doesn’t make sense in the 21st century. But, after posting a simple statement on Facebook recently about my status, yes, what I’m doing, one wintry morning, I was astounded at the responses I received. I mean, for me, these simple 15 words elicited. Kinda like a ‘viral’ post for an average person like me. And, what did I say? Well, here you go: I’m ironing this morning. A lost art. Been doing since I was a kid. Relaxing!

No picture with this FB comment. Just 15 words. And, boy, oh, boy, it was popular and ignited some chattering. Love love love it when you find those sweet innocent hot buttons for kind conversation on Facebook!

I strongly contend that there are definitely benefits of ironing. And, while I’m not trying to convince the non-ironers to convert to the hot plate, I might just give you some insight into the sizzling minds of us folks that like and even love to iron.
coming out of the ironing closet
I mean there is some scientific research on it. OK, go ahead, chuckle, if you like!

According to Science Daily and research from The University of Queensland and Melbourne’s International Diabetes Institute, “Reducing time spent sitting and increasing light physical activity has important health benefits that may reduce the risk of diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases… light intensity physical activity, like washing dishes, ironing and other routine domestic or occupational tasks, was associated with lower blood glucose levels.” Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!

I already knew this about ironing. It’s an upper body/arm workout. Yep, you work those arm muscles hard as you press down.

While my reasons for ironing aren’t scientifically proven, they are established over decades of doing this activity and monitoring my own reactions. Maybe that qualifies as historic anecdotal scientific data? But, it’s not only me, it’s other people who chimed in on my Facebook post about ironing. Those comments confirm to me I’m not off base. So, what’s the big deal about ironing. Well, how about these pay offs~

>Ironing is great stress reliever.
>Ironing provides happy instant gratification.
>Ironing is a kind of exercise. You are burning calories.
>Ironing is a mood booster. I feel good when I do it because I see the fruits of my labor.
>Ironing is calming. It’s like hiking in the alpines by myself. Time to think. Ponder. Reflect.

coming out of the ironing closet
And, just in case you didn’t believe all that. Well, here you go. There’s a new sport. EXTREME IRONING!!! I’m not kiddin’ you! Just read this from Wiki! EI (or Extreme Ironing) take competitors to remote locations where they iron items of clothing. It might be a high mountain peak or a dense jungle. The idea behind this ‘latest danger sport’ is to bond the thrills of extreme outdoor activities with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt. Now, that’s what I’m talkin’ about!

In my 67 minutes of ironing the day I posted on Facebook, here’s what I accomplished:

*I burned about 100 calories.
*I conceptualized in my brain three new recipes.
*I caught up on the news while watching TV.
*I ironed:
5 sets of king pillow cases
24 napkins
2 king top sheets
3 kitchen/tea towels

As I looked at my hard work, I smiled. Job well done. The little voice in my head was saying, OMG, you’re going to so enjoy using these things now because they’re all sparkling and even more beautiful.
coming out of the ironing closet
Believe me, after my FB post, I know that I’m not the only one who loves the sport of ironing. Just take a gander at the peeps like me. The ironing peeps. The peeps who still practice this lost art and are proud to say so! Here are some of the over sixty-four comments on my FB post:

Michael E Smith: I iron all my clothes. I think it is relaxing because you can see that you have accomplished something!

Laurie Lufkin: Me too….now if only there was a Red Sox game on tv, that would be perfect.

Madeline M Jordan: I love ironing!

Debrah Ammar: I agree, it is relaxing!

Traci Barbati Hessler: I used to have to iron dinner napkins, handkerchiefs (which used to really make me shake my head), and pillow cases when I was a kid. Really hated it then but grew up to love it.

Diane Baker: My Mom ironed everything for 6 kids and a husband (at 86 still does but, only for herself now) she had an old coke bottle with a sprinkle top and filled with lavender water…she’d iron and listen to the radio (baseball games were her favorite).
coming out of the ironing closet
Beverly Hurley Brown: I iron my clothes. They look so much better. I love to do it!

Frank Robinette: Any man who was in the service had to learn to iron…and sew. It cost too much to hire it out. Did you sing while ironing? I tend to think it is incumbent to hum or sing while ironing. I don’t do much of that sort of thing any more having assumed the role of the crumpled old man. 🙂 HUGS.

Debby Heltman: I love to iron.

Denise Collins: I love to iron also it’s relaxing

Peggy Sparks Browning: I love to iron!!!!

Terry Wiley: I remember a little lady in our neighborhood who ironed for neighbors. She had a bottle like this one filled with water that she would sprinkle the shirts, etc. while she ironed.

Lee Anne L. Rozzell: I iron everything too!

Emily Barton: I remember my grandmother ironing Everything, including sheets and underwear 😉 Me personally, I never really liked to iron. Except when I was pregnant… Then I loved it!

Rachel Kirtley: I iron almost daily! Although I don’t find it necessarily relaxing😂 😘 don’t absolutely hate it, but I don’t love it either!
coming out of the ironing closet
Gena Brooks Ryan: It’s not that I dislike ironing so much, it’s that I’m not good at ironing. My husband, on the other hand, does perfect ironing. As Frank Robinette wrote, being in the service and especially a member of the President’s Honor Guard, he’s perfection with an iron. Lucky me!

Laura Mohr: I relate to that because Wendell was in the Navy and he ironed clothes without precision and creases all in right places. He’d volunteer to iron my clothes! ❤️

Bud Robinson: I set aside a half day every three to four months, put on a good movie and proceed to iron 10-15 dozen napkins on my mantle.

Karen Munsey: You must be pairing that ironing with a wine! Which do you suggest? I have found ironing to be like the art of cross stitch, they both result in some cussing.

Karen Munsey:  Thank you Frank Robinette! Pinot it is! Of course I will have to drink before searching for the iron and its board. Hopefully I will be capable of recalling where I left them! Then again maybe it would be best to first drink and think the plan thorough.

Jackie Mounts: I iron also. People make fun of me but that’s ok. My husband looks like a million dollars and my kids did too. It’s not easy but very rewarding.

Midge Tunstall Coomes-Baltimore: I thought I was the only woman still ironing with my Rowenta iron that I love…😊

Barbara McCarty Brookhart: I don’t iron much anymore. I was good at ironing as a teenager. I ironed for my mom and two other ladies.

JoAnn Belack: I have been looking at the new wrinkled linen bed skirt for a week….and today is the day….ironing !!!!
Mary Post: Yes! I can still remember the smell of Mother ironing in the kitchen starching my Dad’s white shirts with the radio on!

Doris Kate Mitchell Ross: I always remember you ironing. Especially your hair.

Cil D’Angelo: I still enjoy ironing but “just have to have the time”!

Missy McCoy I still iron too. 😁

Lynne Gary Laino: The only ironing I do is while quilting!

Dreama B. Perry: I do a little ironing but you could say mostly pressing. I try to buy things that you do not have to iron.

Tonette Joyce: I iron. The IRONIC thing is that I would not mind the extra warmth right now, but it is mostly my Summer clothes that need it, and it is always so hot.

Robin Rhea: I knew we were sisters!!!

Katherine Wanamaker: I love to iron…

Alice Mitchell: I still iron, Ally. You came up to me in high school one day and asked if I sent my blouses to the cleaners. I said, No, I do them myself.”

Chantal Cornwall: Ha you remind me of my mama – she irons everything – pillow cases even 😉 I iron — 1) going to a wedding — 2) funeral /celebration of life. Cotton, cotton, cotton – enough said.
coming out of the ironing closet
June J Jordan: Remember sprinkling them and rolling then putting them in the fridge if you couldn’t get to the ironing right away?
Barbara Cioffi Giacometti: I do this every Sunday night while watching MASTERPIECE | PBS, it’s an art! My mother laughs at me ironing the sheets so they will fit in the drawer. Ok the key to this is drinking wine at the time.

Maggie Casey Alberts: I iron!

Cathy Hazzard: I soooooooooooo hate ironing.

Regina Chestnut-Goff: I know exactly what you are talking about Alice D’Antoni Phillips😳 Agree it is an lost art.

Barb Wilson Mary Ellen does this too!

Rebecca E. Parsons: I have always loved to iron!! I had a tiny ironing board and iron when I was little. I used to set it out beside my grandmother when she ironed. She let me iron handkerchiefs. Lovely memories.

Tim Taylor: Post a recipe for ironing, sounds yummy!

Alyce Sepe: I do the same thing Kathryn…maybe it’s an “Alyce” thing! I still have to have my sheets ironed before they go on the bed, I have gotten better, at least now I don’t iron my socks and underwear!

Carol Joyner: I’m with you Alice…it’s the one domestic chore, in addition to cooking, that I love!

Kathryn Cook DeAngelo Yes, Alyce and Alice like the ironed linens. Your socks and underwear! Ohhhhh. I do admire you ladies! Really. I’m so glad they have so much wash and wear, no-iron no-wrinkle fabrics made for a person like me.

Kathleen Kautz Coalter: I love to iron! Thank you Tim Ferrell!!

Marsha Griffin: I Love to Iron. When I I was ten ironed all daddy’s white shirts hung them on mantel. Can see progress you make plus Daddy use to praise me for doing such good job , we ironed our pillow cases and daddy s underwear!

Arlene Urichich Aiello: I am glad to see other like minded women here. I love to iron and shout it from the mountain tops. Like other tedious jobs it is so satisfying to see those wrinkles disappear. lol. It is a therapeutic feeling and to me nothing is finer than a freshly ironed shirt hanging on a hanger. Thanks Mom for preparing me with my free therapy for these trying days by throwing the hankies and pillowcases in the bushel for me to iron as part of my chores. Only one question, how come you never made my sister do that? hahahahhaha
coming out of the ironing closet

 

14 Comments

  1. I am just now seeing this. I remember ironing when I was younger, not so much anymore. Only if it’s necessary. I so remember ironing my mom’s work uniforms. Sometimes in the summer, I would iron on the porch because I liked being outside. Yes, Mary Ellen still irons. Even irons her pillow cases! Another thing I remember ironing was our hair. We had to have that perfect straight hair. Only you could make an “ordinary” chore into a walk down “memory lane”.

    • My dear dear Barb…I can see you ironing on the porch on a balmy summer’s day. What we did was special and now we have all these memories. I’m like M.E….I iron my pillow cases, napkins, top sheets. There’s just something ‘luxurious’ about sliding into a newly made bed w/ironed sheets. It’s a cheap way to enjoy feeling like I’m at the Ritz!! YES!! We ironed our hair!! OMG, it’s a wonder we still have hair, but boy did we get the shiny, gleaming, sparkling shimmer on those long locks!! Our ordinary chores have become special memories and it’s so fun to share. Love you sweet sister xoxo

  2. Ally, I’ve been saving this post to read at my leisure and it was worth the wait. Loved your photos and memes too! I LOVE ironing. One of TMOFW’s “honey do’s” is to mount my new ironing board rack in the laundry room. Can’t wait! Ironing is just so gratifying. Love this and love you!

    • Oh, my Kimmie girl!! I just knew you were an ironing queen, too! Thank you for all the kind words. Yes, it’s special to share these memories. I’m sure Russ is going to proudly hang that ironing board where it’s convenient and organized in your laundry room. I actually iron in Ben’s office…he has a TV and surprisingly it gives us time together! lol!! Love you and love ironing, too! xox

  3. Ally, I need some of that iron water you must drink for endurance. You know, my mom always ironed. I’ve actually had to undress before I finally went flying out the door when I wasn’t starched properly. I don’t ‘dryer fluff’ and go today, but I’m not much for ironing. Probably because I’m always doing it on the fly. But just to take time to iron–well, that might be a different story. I used to talk to mother, and my grandmother, when they ironed. We talked about school, chores, and boyfriends over the ironing board. They both took great pride in ironing. Maybe ‘ye’ ole ironing board just needs to set in the center of everything. Then I’d be more willing and more entertained as I rounded that collar and headed for the skirt tail! Thank you luv for the wonderful article and the stroll down memory lane. ❤️You.

    • Oh, my dear dear DR~your words are so endearing. Yes, imagine not to have those memories today of your Mom and Grandmother ironing, and all the talking and sharing you did as they toiled over the heat making sure every swipe of that hot iron created a beautiful finish on whatever it was they were ironing. I admit I probably should have been a chamber maid, a maid of sorts b/c I do love cleaning, polishing silver, ironing, detailing ovens and stoves. Sounds weird, I know. I do think it’s the immediate gratification that I get, the solitude, and the time to let my mind wander. We have so little of that down time these days. I even enjoy buying a new cover for my ironing board after months of scorches from the ironing. Doesn’t take much to make us happy, luv. <3 <3 you! xoxoxo

  4. Linda E Jarrett

    Ally!!! I can remember my mom and sister ironing for hours!!! My mama would starch the cuffs and collars of my Daddy’s white shirts and they were definitely a work of art when she finished. When I was a little girl everyone always asked “who irons your dresses?” She hand sprinkled the clothes and after rolling them up place them in a wooden bushel basket! A few years later I started doing the same!! When I iron now it always brings joy to my heart! I really like the part you wrote about burning calories!!! This really makes me want to be sure to teach my grandgirls this dying art!!
    You made my day reading this funny, entertaining tale!! Great research to boot!!! Now you can add upcoming new short story author to your long list of talents…Loving your creative whit!!!

    • Ohhhhhhhhhh, I can totally understand your Mom’s ironing…those collars…yes, I added more starch to get the stiff slick look. And, sprinkling and rolling up clothing, sometimes putting in the refrigerator, then ironing and watching the steam billow when that scorching hot iron (and, many times I did scorch things!!) hits the fabric…yes, it’s a dying art, and your grandgirls will enjoy learning it. Thanks for reading!! I love writing these short tales and helping all of us joggle sweet delicious memories from our childhood. Love you girl!! xoxo ~ally

  5. I love this! Not so much the ironing itself but hearing about how much you love it. I’m not a fan of ironing but then again I never really spent much time at it and I don’t have an ironing board.

    I do have some napkins and linens that are a pain with pesky wrinkles and the crinkled look after the wash. Maybe I’ll start there. And yes, I will think of you! Most of my clothes aren’t ironable but I have a few hoodies that might look fresher without wrinkles. I might try it.

    Never heard of extreme ironing! Learned something new today.

    Thanks for giving us a little glimpse of yourself! Have a good start to your week, my dear.

    • Oh, you sweet dear, Dionne!! Thank you for reading about this crazy love of mine. I also love to polish silver…yeah, I know, kinda cra cra! LOL! You’ll so love those napkins once you get the smooth silky finish. And, when you use them, and, I hope it’s everyday (even just for you), you’ll get a tad bit more enjoyment. There’s just a ‘specialness’! Now, go out and splurge on an ironing board…hey, they have the cutest ironing board covers!! xoxo

  6. I like to iron! I learned at an early age and even volunteered to do altar linen and priests’ albs when I was in my early 20s. We wear unwrinkled clothes in this family! My two all-guy sons iron their clothes, (as I taught them), and I taught my grandson.

    • Tonette! You’ve passed down a dying art to your boys. It’s a valuable skill, I think! Like you, I learned at an early age. I’d sit and watch people iron, how they aligned shirts, collars and more on the ironing board, how they folded sheets and slacks…yes, we are a special breed! Thanks, luv, for leaving that sweet comment! xoxo ~ally

  7. Who knew ironing was so fun. I never iron, I just go wrinkled and let the heat of the day straiten things out! LoL!

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