she’s baaaaack! (soLs)

The laundry fairy has resurfaced in my life. She doesn’t make frequent appearances, but she is always welcomed.

I first learned of her existence when I was in college. I brought home basketsssss full of dirty clothes on Friday night. The weekend passed, and I never went near the washer and dryer. Yet, on Sunday I loaded basketsssss full of clean, neatly folded clothes into my car and return to college. Must be a laundry fairy that lives at home, I realized. I tested the theory, and for years I brought home baskets of dirty clothes that were magically transformed into neatly-folded piles of clean clothes.

The laundry fairy didn’t  visit for many years, even though her presence would have been appreciated. The simple act of washing, drying, and returning clothes to closets and drawers eluded me. I was always behind on laundry. Always. Then the two of us became three and I learned to keep up with the baby’s clothes, but not with the parents’ clothes. I remained behind on laundry.

The laundry fairy returned with the adoption of our daughters. My theory about the laundry fairy living at my parents’ house was reworked. She was at my house also, coincidentally on the two days a week my mom brought Stephanie and Sam back to our house for a nap while I was at work. Every Tuesday and Thursday for an entire school year the laundry fairy washed, dried, and neatly folded kids’ clothes. The parents’ clothes continued to pile. Laundry remained my nemesis.

Then in August 2011 something truly scary happened. An exchange student moved in with us and played varsity soccer. At this point I realized our family’s load per a day was nearly 3. I caught up with laundry and refused to fall behind. Every day our washer churns, our dryer purrs, and I neatly fold clothes, piled in stacks outside of respective bedrooms. It is part of my daily routine.


Our dryer died last week. I might have freaked a little. And then I remembered the laundry fairy.

Reliving my college days, I tucked a basket of dirty laundry in the back of my car. I left it in front of the laundry room at my mom’s. Later that day, I received a text telling me to pick up clean laundry from the library (where my mom is the director). I found another laundry fairy too. (Who knew there was more than one!) I can wash clothes in my washer, put them in a laundry basket, and drive them to Andy’s parents’ house (about 3 miles away). There I toss them in the dryer. When I return they are neatly-folded into stacks piled in the laundry basket.

I’m thankful for the laundry fairies. But I’m a little surprised too. I can’t wait to pick up our new dryer (and washer — a bigger one in order to more easily win this laundry battle). This isn’t such a surprise, because it’s fun getting something new. The surprise is this:

I actually miss doing laundry. (Will wonders never cease?)

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  1. In my adult life, I've yet to have a washer and dryer in my own house. (This is not quite true–we had one at my old apartment for a couple months before the dryer died.) So I still live in The World of the Landromat (or of wonderful friends who let me come over for “laundry parties”). I keep vowing that when I finally have such wondrous machines in my own house, I will so thrill at the idea of running laundry WHILE doing other things (rather than sitting at the 'mat reading old magazines) that I will never grow tired of it.

    I suspect this may be bravado. Will report back…

  2. Those laundry fairies are the best! But they sometimes disappear at inconvenient times, (sigh). The best part was your end, the realization you miss (?) doing laundry. My husband has taken over the laundry (he's fully retired) and I don't miss it. I have a live in laundry fairy. It's nice!

  3. Wish there was a laundry fairy around my house! As you mentioned, I do a good job keeping up with the kiddos clothes, but the big people clothes . . . look in my closet right now and there is a huge pile because the baskets are full of clean clothes that never were put away. Hmmm…maybe I wish there was a laundry-putter-awayer too!

  4. I enjoyed surprise shift at the end. I too can relate to always trying to keep up with laundry. My biggest weakness with the whole process is putting them away. I fold and stack, but then for whatever reason my downfall is making sure they get to where they belong! It is always the perfect ending to a weekend to realize that all clothes are washed, folded and put away.

  5. I just had to laugh at putting the basket in front of your mom's laundry room door! What a crack up…I think you knew who the laundry fairy was all along!
    I loved your post – so imaginative, yet so real; so clean, yet with its dirty spots. HA!

  6. Aww, who knew laundry fairies were so prolific? I have one too. But here's a related funny story…when I used to help with laundry at home, I would never fold socks. The day after I got married, I was doing laundry in my new house. When I was left with a basket full of socks, I cried as the “grown-up-ness” sunk in.

  7. The “laundry fairy” descriptions made me laugh out loud! I also loved hearing how you were always behind on laundry, because it's definitely my “nemesis” right now. Seriously, right now there's a pile of dirty clothes in front of the already-overflowing hamper that's as tall as the hamper itself! I think I'm going to go do some right now… maybe someday I will progress to your current stage of laundry efficiency! (Although I can't believe I would ever miss doing it…)

  8. There are only two of us now at home & I still am challenged, but also sometimes think of my mom who also had to iron everything. Scary thought. I do have a huge washer & it does help. I love that you found so many fairies to lighten your 'loads'-te he. You made such fun out of a challenge called 'broken' & 'must wait for the remedy'. Thanks Ruth!

  9. Sometimes a sock fairy would visit our house and match socks! Fairies are good. Miss doing laundry? Hmm…not me but I do notice that I like cleaning or doing other people's laundry. Enjoy those new laundry tools. 🙂

  10. Ruth,
    I love your slice today, especially the title. I would love to have a laundry fairy live at my house. I'm graced with one on the rare times my mom sleeps over. When I had surgery, a few months ago, she spent a week at my house. While here, the laundry fairy also cooked and cleaned. Your writing makes a chore, like doing the laundry, seem a lot more fun.

  11. I have a laundry fairy today. My laundry fairy though doesn't fold! That's okay. Better clean clothes than dirty!! You are very fortunate to have family support with having to ask!! Miss laundry–never!!

  12. Love the notion of a laundry fairy and how you showcased her devotion at different points in your life. I would fully be on board with getting one sometime soon — that'd be awesome. I'm pretty sure the one who would take my case is about two hours away ;). Enjoy the new washer and dryer. Are you redecorating your laundry room too? I've seen lots of great ones on Pinterest… (“If You Give A Mouse A Cookie… :))


  13. What a double blessing, two laundry fairies! I finally figured out the laundry nightmare, wake, throw in a load, go to the gym, return, put in the dryer…when I get home from work, I put the laundry in each person's room, NOT FOLDED! I no longer fold, except mine and the hubs! WOrks wonders, although I like your system better, getting some fairies! I enjoyed your slice tonight and how you started at college and brought us to the present!

  14. I have some you can do–you know where I live! 🙂 Or just tell the laundry fairies. Yeah…definitely send them my way.

  15. Just a bit jealous. I am the laundry fairy…and it isn't a job I like. I think I started doing laundry when I was in my teens. I still cringe at folding socks and underwear! I sewed thread in the toes of each of my brothers' socks so that I knew which was whose! And all these years later…I still have to make the loads disappear.

  16. Ahhh..I don't have kids and I still have trouble keeping up with just my laundry. I will really hope for a laundry fairy when I get a family. The interesting thing about Korea is that you have a washer that is also a dryer, so we only need one machine. 🙂

  17. It takes a village. Now I know a village with faeries is even better. I don't have it so bad with just three of us. I do laundry once a week, generally. Whenever I feel the burden of those 6ish loads I remember our cousin with her five kids and the amazing feat that laundry is in their house. If the faerie shows up here I will send it on.

  18. This story is fun. I am glad you have had many visits from the laundry fairy. What a delightful surprise. Kind of like the Elves and the Shoemaker.

  19. Give you laundry fairies a hug! I love your crafted words. Every time I hear a story of laundry, I think of our conversations from meetings. I was just thinking of writing a slice about laundry. It is ever present. Glad you have a new one coming.