I tend to obsess over certain things, one of which is my laundry. Brainstorming the possible causes, I’ve come up with a few possibilities. It’s likely about control, perfection, fear, pathology, or some combination of the bunch. I greatly prefer to do my laundry once a week at a time when no one else I live with needs to do theirs. There are a couple things that make this complicated. For one, I need to leave the home or else find something very engrossing that completely distracts me while the washing machine is running. The reason why is because the washing machine shakes the entire house. It doesn’t matter where in the house you are, you can still feel the vibrations through the walls or—if you’re upstairs—the floor. The clattering of objects can be heard whenever the machine is spinning fast. This is particularly annoying to me. It’s as if cement was a big part of the construction of the machine and ineffective shock absorbers were added just to make it more of a nuisance. The landlord doesn’t plan on replacing it anytime soon, because it technically still works.
While a healthier person could tune out or otherwise tolerate the machine, I have to find ways to mitigate my perception of its effects. Whenever possible, I do this by starting a load of laundry in the washing machine just before leaving the house for a while. However, a problem arises with this method that ties into the other complication when trying to do my laundry undisturbed. Another person I live with may decide to do some laundry and doesn’t feel like waiting until I return home to transfer my clothes to the dryer. She has a tendency to be spontaneous about when she chooses to do laundry. For example, she may only have a partial load or a couple special items that she wants to wash separately and decides it’s time to do them. We’ve had discussions in the past in which I’ve tried to convince her to wait that extra hour or two for me to get home and transfer the clothes to the dryer myself, and then she can do her laundry, but she won’t agree to it. I’ll never understand her reasoning for why she can’t wait that little bit, but she probably doesn’t understand my reasoning for my specific laundry routine either.
She offers to put my clothes through the dryer for me and that’s where a major source of conflict is. It is difficult to find the right setting on our dryer. It has manual and automatic settings with varying levels of heat and dryness you can set. The size of the laundry and what types of fabrics are in it determine what settings to use. In the past, I’ve had experiences with dryers that shrank my clothes, rendering them unwearable. It feels like flushing money down the toilet, which is a feeling that angers me to no end. So, now I’m much wearier of how my clothes are dried. I had to experiment a while to find the best settings on this current dryer for my various laundry combinations that would neither shrink them nor leave them wet. It still doesn’t dry them evenly and ideally, but I’ve worked out the best that can be managed.
The trouble, then, is when someone who doesn’t understand the delicate relationship between my clothes and the dryer decides to “move things along” by drying my clothes for me on a setting she assumes is fine. When I come home and see my clothes in the middle of a dry I didn’t start, I flip out. If the clothes are not dry, I’ll have to go through all the clothes one-by-one and feel for dryness. The ones that are not adequately dry I’ll put back in the dryer and guess at what setting is needed to complete the dry without over drying. That is a nightmare.
There have been times when I’ve been in a hurry, or was otherwise distracted, and didn’t have time to debate in what order we should do our laundry that day. My clothes would already be loaded and about to start to wash and she would spring on me she couldn’t wait for me to get home to put my clothes through the dryer. In those instances, I just hastily instructed her to put my clothes through the dryer on the Normal/Casual automatic setting when they finished if she couldn’t wait. I would come home later, find my clothes not dried to my expectations, and lose my temper. I’d hit the wall, slam doors, and deride her for messing up my laundry routine. My mood would be ruined for the rest of the day. No damage had been done to the clothes, but my passive-aggressiveness and angry feelings persisted.
I’m searching for the best way to solve this problem. Not one that avoids the issue completely, because then I’ll still be unprepared to handle similar situations that arise in the future. I’m searching for a way that will solve the problem and help me grow in the process. One idea I had was to write a detailed list of instructions on how I do my laundry and post it in the laundry area where it’s plainly visible. The downside is I tried that in a different situation and the sign went completely ignored. Another idea is to only do laundry when I’ll be at home the entire time. The downside there is I still need an easy to implement coping strategy to deal with the house shaking and noise caused by the washing machine. Other ideas are welcome.