Kicking it – To iron or not to iron


Last updated 11/18/2021 at 2:52pm

Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal

Special to The Village News

It started way back in my childhood. We were poor. At the time, I was even convinced I must have been switched at birth. Surely, I belonged to another family.

Like most kids, I didn’t appreciate how hard my parents worked just to keep us alive. The only thing I saw was that my friends had nicer clothes than I had.

Jealousy sparked my lifelong love affair with ironing. After all, if my clothes were wrinkle-free, they might pass for new.

Call me crazy. To this day, I still iron everything. You heard right. I iron the wrinkles right out of my life.

That means all of my clothes including jeans, sweat shirts, and even my pajamas. Of course, table cloths, napkins, pillow cases, and especially sheets for the guest room. Occasionally, I’ve even pressed guest towels. Naturally, there was a time, I ironed our bed sheets each week. But that was before we had a clothesline put up in the backyard. Now the sheets are wrinkle free after hanging in the breeze. Every Sunday afternoon our bedroom is filled with the scent of fresh air and sunshine. It’s a heady fragrance.

The reason I like to iron is, in addition to looking like I could be wearing new clothes, I like projects. Unlike chores that go on and on unending, projects have a definite beginning and end. Ironing is like that.

But wait, I do not use any old standard household iron. I use a super iron! The first one I bought was at the California State Fair over 10 years ago. It cost $200. Even at that time it seemed like a ridiculous amount of money. Plus, I had to make a special 90-mile return round trip from Lodi to Sacramento to buy it.

Why, you pose? After watching the demonstration, I was overwhelmed by the speed in which this weekly drudgery was accomplished.

It wasn’t until we got back home that night from the opening night at the California State Fair that I noticed the thousands of dollars of tools lying about idle in the garage. As I recall, every tool was purchased without remorse or a moment’s consideration. It was a tool and at the ready should it be needed.

Hmm, I got to thinking. Why am I holding off buying a tool that is used daily?

No doubt I was looking for a reason to rationalize spending so much money on an iron. But I justified the expense this way. My husband ironed his clothes every morning before heading to work. I, on the other hand, would set aside a morning every so often to attack my ironing basket.

Back then, the reason ironing was a drudge is simple. I always bought the cheapest iron I could find. After all, it was just for ironing.

If you’re reading this now thinking “I don’t iron anything anymore,” let me change your mind. If you could look like everything you wear is new, wouldn’t that be fun?

Well, it was an epiphany for me in 2007 when I watched that demonstrator de-wrinkle a shirt in a whiz. The same shirt would have taken me 20 minutes with my $10 iron. I was intrigued.

As it happens, that iron lasted about two years. Then I stepped up to the Rolls Royce of irons that has an 8-cup water capacity. This puppy gets up such a head of steam, it’ll take off wallpaper!

It’s like sending all of your clothes to the cleaners without the cost. And not only that, by keeping the receipt, the retailer will even credit the $250 I paid for it toward the next one. That’s a win-win for sure.

As you might imagine I have lots of clothes. The entire length of the double-racked bedroom closet is mine alone, grouped by color of course, and another closet filled with cruise clothes and, lest we forget, the seasonal storage space in the shed. Now I know I sound like a crazy person. I’d part with some if I thought they’d go to a good home. That said, at least you know every item looks like new and is beautifully ironed.

Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal can be reached at [email protected]


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