The Laundry

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli
The Laundry

Here’s how laundry goes in my house:

Clothes spend 2-3 days making their way through the wash and dry cycle, because they are continuously remembered and then forgotten about. Once they successfully get out of the dryer, they spend another few days in a basket on top of the dryer. Then they make their way upstairs into the guestroom, where they start off in their basket but quickly begin to get ransacked as we all start to run out of clean clothes, thus making a slow migration from the basket to the bed. They then spend a good amount of time strewn hither and thither across the bed, the baskets long forgotten. Finally, they get sorted and folded on that bed… where they remain for another day or so, acting as our communal family “closet,” before they finally get put into their proper drawers and closets. At which point an entire week (or more) as passed and the dirty clothes hampers are teeteringly full once more, and the entire process begins anew. Sometimes, a new week’s laundry, fresh in its basket, will join the chaos in the guestroom before the previous week’s batch has even been folded.

It’s madness, I tell you.

And here is what makes it worse: it is a gift, a blessing—a PRIVILEGE—to have a home, and to have one that includes a washer and dryer. Designed to make laundry a simpler event, this gift of having a laundry room in my house, rather than making the weekly trek to the laundromat as we did for the twelve years living in New York City, was something that I literally salivated over. And yet I now make laundry so much harder than it needs to be. I’ve taken the gift of a washer and dryer and turned it into the most laborious chore in the household, one that never ends, because of the long and drawn out cycle I’ve created.

What an idiot.

It makes me wonder what other “gift” have I twisted and turned and mistreated to the point of making it more of a cumbersome hassle than a blessing. What other tasks do I make so much harder than they need to be? What do I complain about, when really I should be saying “Thank You!”? Oh dear, I’m afraid the list could get quite long.

I think that appreciation is easy as a sprint but hard as a marathon… we appreciate things when they are new or fresh, but to maintain that appreciation; well, that is an act of endurance that I know I could surely use some work on.   How do I remember to appreciate something that I no longer even notice because it has become so familiar?  Because it’s been there for so long?

So laundry, I’m so sorry. I genuinely appreciate the gift that you provide our family, and I will strive to honor the goodness that is you—and perhaps not take seven days to get clothes from the washing machine back into their drawers and onto their hangers.    Maybe I can do it in just three.   Or four.   Oh, okay fine… maybe I will start by just being actively GRATEFUL for you laundry, and work on that whole timeliness thing next week.

What “gift” have you forgotten about? How can you appreciate it anew today? 


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Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.