Origami and washing

My mother admitted that she’s a perfectionist (really? I hadn’t noticed).

I think I’ve figured out her system with the washing. Bizarre as it seems, this has been an issue for me. It’s symptomatic of a number of areas where my mother has to reorganise and redo anything I do, which I take as criticism that my own ways aren’t good enough.

Mum’s method (aka “origami with the washing”):

  1. Once the washing machine’s done, take the items out of the machine – in some predetermined order that I’m yet to figure out (and don’t care to).
  2. Fold the items neatly, and lay them in the basket.
  3. At the line, hang each item over the line. Tops must be hung from the bottom (or the middle, it depends, although I’m not sure on what) and bottoms from the top.
  4. Make sure the pieces folded over the line are equal – they must be parallel.
  5. Pegs must be the same colour on each item. If the item is large (like sheets or towels), then use an extra large peg in case a cyclone or hurricane blows through without warning and whisks the towels away, never to be seen again. (Because lost towels will be your biggest concern if that hurricane does come through. *sigh*)
  6. For the rest of the day, go out to the line every half hour to make sure everything’s still there and see if it’s dry yet. Test it. Test it again.
  7. Once the big stuff is half dry, rehang it so that it dries faster. Same rules apply about parallel folds and pegs.
  8. When you think it’s dry, give it the “lip test” (even if it’s 45 degrees outside – you just never know if something’s still damp!)
  9. Of course, everything is still damp, so bring it inside and hang it on the clothes’ horse, just to make sure. Same rules about folds apply here as well. Note that taking things off the line must also happen in some predetermined order, and everything must be folded neatly and stacked in the basket.


  1. Drag stuff out of the machine and chuck it in the laundry basket. Don’t worry about lumps or tangles, or folds. Work that out later. The couple of minutes things spend in the basket won’t ruin them forever.
  2. At the line, peg stuff up. Ok, I’ll admit there’s a bit of “tops by the bottom and bottoms by the top”, but that’s about it. Don’t worry if your pegs match or the folds of fabric are equidistant – it will still dry.
  3. Once dry (or dark, whichever comes first), bring it in. If it really does genuinely feel damp (ok, there might be the occasional “lip test”), then whack it in the dryer or hang it on the horse.

Mum said to me a long, long time ago that “there’s more than one way to skin a cat”. Ok, I think that pertained to long division at the time, but why can’t she see that it also applies to stuff like the washing?

I’m guessing there’s something deeper here about controlling what you can when you live in an environment that wrests control from you and thrusts you into hell each and every single day of your life.


6 thoughts on “Origami and washing

  1. Sounds very controlling, imagine how out of control she either feels
    inside or perceives her the world to be!?!?!
    Hey if she wants to do your laundry then let her, give yourself a pedicure
    while she’s doing “lip service”:-)

  2. Definitely controlling. I think she’s probably seen her world as being out of control for a very long time. As did I until I started therapy.

    Deer, my T says the same thing – that if she wants to do “origami with the washing” then I should let her go for it. Let her knock herself out! LOL So true when you take yourself out of the equation for five minutes. If she wants to waste time lining things up and finding pegs the right colour, who am I to argue???

  3. Sounds very OCD to me. Think OCD can be started/triggered by the trauma of living in chaos, if you have the genetic predisposition.

    I hope that you can avoid her on days she feels the need to do origami.


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