How to have more joy and discipline when ironing clothes

I am quite surprised when most of my friends told me that they actually HATED ironing clothes. It is a task that they seriously do not look forward to.

How about you? Do you hate ironing?

Currently, I am ironing clothes for my entire family. While it is not a task that I love, I have learnt to develop more joy and discipline with it comes to ironing clothes.

How to have more joy in ironing

From young, I learned to iron clothes on my own after watching how my mom did it. We did not have an ironing board then… in fact, she would lay a piece of cloth on the floor (the cloth was previously a homemade mattress cover used when I was a toddler) and ironed on top of it.

Eventually I learned from watching TV shows and my friends about the existence and how to use an ironing board (am I from another planet or what or being so ignorant). I then bought my own ironing board with my own salary after getting real fed-up of hunching to iron on the floor.

The dread we feel about certain tasks can be changed by associating positive activities to it. To fill up the boring time of ironing, initially I started by scheduling my ironing time to coincide with certain shows that I like to watch. But I soon find that it is difficult to concentrate on ironing especially if I had really wanted to watch the show (I do not watch TV a lot so usually it would be a good show that I would like to give my full attention to).

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Later I started to schedule the ironing time with my YouTube music videos. But I have also reduced the time I watch music videos after realizing that sometimes the music does mess with my mind.

Now, I usually set up my Smart TV with YouTube videos that I want to watch. Either I would use my phone’s screen mirroring function or direct through the TV’s YouTube app. And I tend to select the kind of videos where the YouTubers are talking more than the action.  So basically I need to listen more and not really watch so I am able to focus on the ironing in front of me.

In the process, I am able to pick up on new ideas and knowledge and at the same time get the task done.

After repetitively doing my ironing together with my YouTube viewing for a while, my mind has developed positive associations with ironing and it does not become the dreaded activity as it once has been.

I am taking care of my mom – and she does not like to watch TV much and would prefer to rest. But at times when she agreed to watch TV (either her favourite Animal Planet/ Nat Geo Wild related to animals or her Mario Lanza and some other old videos), I would take out my ironing board and iron clothes while chatting with her.

Therefore you can try to develop positive connection between ironing and enjoyable activities. Hopefully this would reduce your displeasure towards ironing.

Many people also do not like ironing because they would get all hot and sweaty. Now I always take out a fan and had the fan blow directly at me to keep myself cool while ironing so it is no longer uncomfortable.

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How to be more disciplined in ironing

Even though I have developed positive associations with the task of ironing, it is not a task that I am particularly jumping of joy when it comes to thinking about doing it.

So in the past I have tended to wait till the clothes piled up at an unbearable volume before getting down to ironing them.

Now, if you accumulate few weeks worth of clothings before choosing to iron it, it would become overwhelming. And make it difficult to develop any positive attitude towards ironing.

Previously, the clothes to be ironed are located in a separate room, hence ‘out of sight is out of mind’. After feeling fed up of spending more than an hour to iron endless heaps of clothes, I developed a system to make myself more disciplined.

I would place clothes that are to be ironed immediately into a medium sized laundry basket located in my room immediately after they are washed and dried. All clothes that need to be ironed goes into 2 fixed places- the basket or hung behind the door so that I need not go round to hunt down the clothes.

None of the clothes that have to be ironed goes into the cupboard or closet without being ironed.

Once I see the basket to be almost full, I would take up my ironing board, load up YouTube and select videos that I want to see and start ironing away.

By placing the basket where I always could see it, I am ironing clothes about once a week instead of after 2 weeks.

Ironing clothes

And one thing…. I know some people like to iron clothes on the day they wish to wear them (pretty much like the picture above). Meaning, all washed clothes would be hung in the closet and they basically just iron what they want to wear on that day or do it the night before. I strongly discourage that- in fact it was what I did during the earlier years of my career. It increases stress, especially when you are running late. That was why I stopped doing that and started to iron in batches a long time ago.

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Hopefully the above experience that I share would help you in trying to make ironing a less dreaded task.

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