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Forever Amber: UK influncer

In Defence of Ironing Everything

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his week I finally did something I’ve wanted to do for years now: I arranged for a local cleaning service to come and take care of my ironing. 

It was a little bit awkward, really – as most things are with me, obviously. I mean, the lady I booked was absolutely lovely: she has her own ironing business, so she obviously wants people to book her services, but, me being me, as soon as I actually did it, I started worrying that she’d secretly be thinking, “Who does this bitch think she is: Lady Mary of Downton Abbey? Why can’t she do her OWN ironing?” 

Well, needless to say, she DIDN’T say that: and once I’d gotten used to the idea, I stopped feeling awkward, and just started looking forward to the perfectly ironed bedsheets I’d be getting back in a couple of days time. Because, hi, my name’s Amber, and I iron my bedsheets. And pretty much everything else, really, other than underwear and workout gear. I mean, I’m not QUITE as bad as my mum, who will actually iron things like socks, just for the hell of it, but, well, you know all those people who either don’t own an iron, or DO own one, but claim not to know where it is? I don’t understand those people. I’d LIKE to understand those people, don’t get me wrong: or to understand how on earth they manage to remain crease-free, without ever ironing, at least. Because, me? I just can’t do it. I hate ironing with the power of 100 hot suns, but I hate creased clothes – or bedlinen – even more, and on me EVERYTHING creases. Everything. Even things you wouldn’t think could possibly get creased: it’s like it’s my super-power or something, seriously. 

white summer dress with green polka dots

(Every time I go on holiday, the first thing I do when I arrive is to unpack my suitcase and iron everything in it. I carefully rolled this dress to keep it as crease-free as possible, but I may as well have just crumpled it up into a ball and then crammed it inside a shoe, because that’s what it looked like when it came out of the suitcase…)

Now, I know what you’re going to say here, all you Non-Ironers out there: you’re going to tell me you just buy clothes that don’t NEED ironing, that if you hang things up for a while, the creases just magically fall out of them, and that there’s absolutely no point in ironing bedsheets, because they’re just going to get creased as soon as you lie on them. (You’re probably also going to tell me that life’s just too short to spend time ironing, but… we’ll get to that soon.)

In response to all of that, though, all I can say is NO, NO, and THRICE NO. 

There ARE no clothes that that don’t need ironing: or, if there are, I’ve yet to find them. (OK, there’s workout clothes, obviously, and if I could wear them all the time I would, purely because they don’t need to be ironed…)

The creases DON’T just fall out. Seriously,  I could leave my clothes hanging up for 100 years, and I’d STILL need to iron them afterwards. Hell, sometimes I’ll take an already ironed garment out of my wardrobe – where it’s been, you know, hanging – and will have to resist the impulse to re-iron it, because it’ll have picked up some weird crease where it’s been pressing up against the item next to it.

(I am totally lying about this: I NEVER resist the impulse to iron something, or I just spend the rest of the day looking like I slept in my clothes. Which is really only the case about 50% of the time, I swear…)

Finally, bedsheets: and, look, I’m sorry guys, but there’s a really big difference between sheets that are a little bit creased from being slept on, and sheets that are creased because they came out of the machine that way. Or there is in my house, anyway, and I should know, because I seriously have tried EVERYTHING. I’ve hung them, draped them, left them to waft gently in the breeze. I’ve used all kinds of fabric softeners and other laundry-specific lotions and potions. I’ve even tried buying non-iron sheets, and you want to know what’s the hardest thing in the world to iron? NON-IRON SHEETS. Isn’t it ironic? Don’t ya think? 

I’ve tried all of these things and more: and, since Max arrived, I’ve ALSO tried just putting the damn things on the bed creased, to see if the wrinkles really WOULD just magically fall out. (Spoiler alert: NO.) The end result? Unless I iron them first, my bedsheets always look like I just threw them on the ground and then stamped on them. And it makes me feel itchy seeing them on the bed like that, so ironing them seems to be the only solution. Now, I can feel you all judging me from here, so I’ll just quickly add that when it comes to bedsheets, I don’t iron them perfectly. Like, I don’t stand there for hours, carefully pressing every crease, and fussing over them like they’re my firstborn child: a quick once-over is generally enough to get them looking reasonably presentable, and that’s good enough for me, really. (It wouldn’t be good enough for my mum, obviously, but I’ll just quickly remind you here that my mum irons socks. SOCKS.)

(The fact that I’m 100% sure I’m going to be judged for ironing them AT ALL, though, is really, really odd to me. I’m not sure if this is an internet-only thing, but I’ve noticed that any time the subject comes up online, it’s basically just a countdown until someone uses the fateful words: LIFE’S JUST TOO SHORT! And then someone else will say it, and someone else after that. It’s like all of those Facebook posts you see about how a clean house is the sign of a boring life, or whatever, and it’s just as insulting. It’s also quite puzzling, really. You don’t hear this argument made about other household chores, after all. You don’t, for instance, hear people talking about how life’s too short to wash the dishes/load the dishwasher, so they just eat with their hands, do you? I’ve never heard anyone claim that life’s too short to mow the lawn, so they’re just letting their garden return to the wild, either. Ironing, however, is – to some people – held as the stupidest, most pointless thing a person can do with their time, and therefore anyone who owns an iron must obviously have no life/ totally the wrong priorities, whilst the non-ironer is just WAY too busy and important – and also wild and carefree –  for such trivial things as ironing their clothes. I don’t judge people for NOT ironing – I genuinely won’t even notice if someone looks creased – so it’s odd to me that people will try to make me feel stupid for doing it. But I digress.)

summer outfit ideas
 
I might not think life’s too short to iron (I just see it as one of those household chores that are a bit of a pain in the butt, but which you do anyway, because they make enough of a difference to your house/life to be worth it…), but ever since Max came along, I’ve been slowly coming to the conclusion that MY life would be just a little bit easier without it. I still want my crisp, clean bedsheets, and I still want to be able to wear clothes that don’t look like I plucked them off the floor that morning… I just don’t want to have to iron them all myself. 
 
So, this week is the start of a little experiment for me. I can’t afford to outsource ALL of the ironing, unfortunately, but even just having the bed linen done occasionally, or being able to hand over the creased contents of my suitcase when I come home from a holiday should be a big help. And with the time I save in not ironing, I will of course undertake some worthy endeavor, like finding the cure for cancer, or #makingmemories with my family. I will absolutely NOT just sit there refreshing Instagram, or rummaging through that bag of jelly beans Terry bought last week, in a bid to find all of the ones that taste like bubblegum. Because life’s just too short for that kind of nonsense, right? 
 
Where do you stand on the ironing issue? Do you iron, outsource, or just not bother? And, more importantly, who would like to be first to tell me that life’s just too short? 
 
 

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31 Comments
  • Roisin
    June 21, 2019

    I Iron All The Things too but I’m lucky in that I quite enjoy ironing and find it satisfying – just as well, really, because my main hobby is sewing and standing at the ironing board makes up a significant proportion of sewing time. I agree that there is no such thing as non-iron clothes! But then I also keep a fairly tidy house and still have time to enjoy my life so I never understand these people who are all ‘life is too short to not live like an animal’ – it is possible to have a good life AND a tidy house!

    • Amber
      June 21, 2019

      “life is too short to not live like an animal” 😂😂😂

  • May
    June 21, 2019

    We’ve always ironed in my house. Not underwear or bedsheets though, but the rest of the clothes (and towels. Towels feel so cardboard-y when you don’t iron them). That said though, my mum busted her right shoulder and had to have surgery on her left breast in the last few months, and I’m a full-time student while my sister is half student half school teacher so…. what I’m trying to say is we don’t have the time to do things that aren’t absolutely urgent and ironing didn’t make the cut. We’re pulling through. And I honestly don’t feel/see enough of a difference to justify taking the time to iron.
    I don’t know if it’ll help or not, but for the record I don’t see any creases in your dress!

  • Maria
    June 21, 2019

    I have mixed feelings about ironing: I like ironing, I’m probably the only person in the world who prefers it to all the other chores. But I’m pants at it. Like, I’m really, really bad at it. Not with simple things, like towels. But when it comes to clothes, I seem to be able to ruin even the most iron friendly fabric, even if I take every precaution imaginable. Like, just this year I managed to ruin forever a beloved top, that I was ironing with another piece of fabric on it, just because the iron decided to spit out dirty water out of nowhere. That was the only time it ever happened with that stupid iron, and it was with me and my beloved top, lol. I’ve managed to iron trousers that are easily ironed and they looked more creased than when I started… And so on and so forth. So right now I just save my ‘hardest to iron’ clothes for the laundry service, and try to be extra careful when I iron everything else.
    P.S. My mother is a huge fan of ironing too, I just think she’s the only person in the universe that irons dusting rags and cleaning rags. The ones she uses for the floor, lol.

    • Arndís Sara
      June 21, 2019

      My great nan used to iron everything and anything. Blankets, cleaning rags, underwear, socks, bedsheets, everything! (Hell I’m sure she’d iron the floor mat if possible)
      However the habit has passed down a bit, and I do agree that an ironed once over bedsheet does make a difference!

      • Lexy
        June 21, 2019

        Life is too short for me to pay to get sheets ironed 🤣😂🤣

        • Maria
          June 26, 2019

          Lexy, I don’t understand your response to my comment: I don’t pay to have my sheets ironed, just the most difficult to iron, delicate clothes I have, which also get worn a few times and at the end of the summer they need to be washed and put away, like everything else, but instead of doing it myself (with the risk of ruining the poor clothes forever) I use a laundry service. I don’t think there is anything wrong with this.

          • Amber
            June 26, 2019

            I suspect Lexy’s comment was aimed at me rather than you, and an attempt at humour/snark – I wouldn’t worry about it 😉

    • Amber
      June 21, 2019

      This is me, too: you’d think that with the amount of ironing I do, I’d be really good at it by now, but nope – I can ruin anything 🤦‍♀️ Actually, I have some clothes I hardly ever wear, because I know I’ll never be able to iron them properly when I was them – one more reason to outsource it, I think!

  • Helen Love
    June 21, 2019

    I have had ironing done by a company loads of times….. especially when I come back from holiday! I don’t feel guilty! It’s just a necessity sometimes! I HATE ironing! I have to watch a movie to distract myself while I’m doing it. But…. I don’t iron my bottom sheets or towels. Everything else is a must! Go girl….!!!

    • Amber
      June 21, 2019

      I definitely think I’m going to start doing it after holidays: I get depressed enough when I have to come home without adding a suitcase full of ironing into the mix!

  • Fiona
    June 21, 2019

    I iron, and I don’t like the task but I do like binge watching Netflix while I do it. I have outsourced a couple of times, and honestly I need to get better at planning for this because I have a set ironing time and if we have plans that interrupt it a few weeks in a row, I start to get a bit stressed. Outsourcing would help a lot with that!

  • Katie
    June 21, 2019

    Oh my gosh a kindred spirit! I am the same I don’t particularly enjoy ironing, but I cannot bear the thought of wearing unironed clothes and sleeping in unironed sheets! I hate getting items out the cupboard and seeing a crease. I’m going on a hen do this weekend and have already checked that there will be an iron available for use. Like you I wish I could understand the wizardry of those who don’t iron and don’t worry about it!

    • Amber
      June 21, 2019

      Haha, I’m exactly the same – I always have to check there’ll be one available! I remember once I had to travel to a wedding, and the hotel said they couldn’t guarantee they’d be able to provide one, as they had lots of guests and just one iron… I was so worried that I’d have to go to the wedding in clothes creased from my suitcase that, after a lot of thought, I ended up taking my own! I knew even as I did it that I wasn’t being totally rational, but my travel iron (Because I obviously have a travel iron…) is so crap, I just couldn’t see another option!

  • Myra
    June 21, 2019

    I am a reformed ironer. I used to iron dusters and tea towels fgs. Now I iron so little that my iron comes out about once a month. I iron shirts (thankfully not worn any more) linen clothes (unavoidable) and a few tops that look like they’ve been in a wringer. Nothing else and it is a huge relief, particularly as I can’t stand for too long and sitting is just crazy when ironing.

  • Lila Athanaselis
    June 21, 2019

    I haven’t ironed any of my own clothes in six months. I wear leggings and six different tops that are patterned so you can’t really make out any crease, spreading them out at night time.
    Only shirts get ironed but that is because hubby loves ironing, lol.
    Sheets, elasticated ones, when stretched there are very little creases.
    Ironing, only summer tops, but even they can get away with it if dried and folded properly.

  • Ghalia
    June 21, 2019

    I don’t understand it when people say they don’t bother with ironing. I don’t understand it because they say it with the belief that it is no big deal and their clothes are generally fine without ironing, while wearing a top that looks like it was pulled out from a dark corner of their wardrobe where it was hiding for a year. I notice this EVERY TIME I have this conversation with someone. And I am not sitting there judging people who don’t iron their clothes – I am just very confused when someone tells me their clothes are mostly fine not being ironed while wearing a very creased item of clothing. I just sit there all ?!?!?!?! What is going on?!

    I am also in team iron, though I hate that activity with every fibre of my being. I used to have a “pay as you go” system, where I would put away all my laundered clothes, and iron items as I needed them. My husband abolished that when he moved in because he felt that all items needed to be ironed before being put away…. so we ended up with with a pile of un-ironed clothes in a corner for several months, until I pointed out that his system was not working and we needed to sort it out.

    So now all his shirts go to the dry cleaners next door because they have a clean + iron deal for something ridiculous like £1.80 or something. All of my clothes get put away un-ironed (because there are no deals on women’s clothing, unfortunately), and I have resumed my iron as you go system (although, now that I think about it, I have a sneaky suspicion that my husband irons some of my clothes when he’s in charge of laundry, because I’ve noticed I haven’t had to iron anything in quite a while…).

    Unfortunately, I have had to sacrifice ironing bedding because I can’t ever make time for it these days (even though ironed bedding is a very very very nice thing), and my husband didn’t even realise that was a thing, so no chance of getting him to do it…. If I can find an affordable bedding ironing service, I will definitely consider outsourcing this!

    This was a very long comment about my ironing habit….

  • Nicole
    June 21, 2019

    The problem for me is that everything creases immediately once I put it on, whether it’s been ironed or not. I started ironing my button-down work shirts to get rid of the wrinkles near the bottom hem and around the sleeves, but the second I sit down or bend my arms at all they immediately come back just as bad as before. I’ve just resigned myself to looking slightly slobby around the office (there is no strict dress code and I mainly work in a lab so it doesn’t really matter, but still!).

  • Jo
    June 21, 2019

    I’m an iron-er too. I’ve definitely inherited it from my mum. I hate wearing things with creases in and always do “the scrunch test” in a shop before I buy something! But, have you tried Day2 spray? It was a slight game changer for me cos not only does it freshen clothes but if you spray it, then stretch it with your hands, all the creases come out!! It doesn’t replace ironing, but just might save time doing extra ironing if you’ve got an annoying crease or two.

    • Amber
      June 21, 2019

      OK, I am SO buying this: thank you!

      • ML
        June 21, 2019

        Using spray sizing (like starch, but not as stiff) when you iron helps get out the creases, gives the fabric a little bit of body, and helps the item keep from being creased so easily. If that’s an option available to you in the UK, it helps immensely. Also, if you have a wrinkle release spray (in America we have Downy Wrinkle Release), that is a big help with relaxing wrinkles in fabric. (You can also find recipes to make your own on Pinterest and the internet. After spraying, you tug on the fabric and smooth it with your hands. Not quite as effective as ironing, but helps a lot! (I always travel with a small bottle to get out the worst of the wrinkles – spray, smooth, and hang up the garment and it does wonders).

  • OMG I hate ironing SO much (I’d rather clean the toilet than iron a pile of clothes!!) I bought an upright steamer: easier to use, no getting the ironing board out, no creases made in clothes or sheets as they drop over the edge of the board and fall on the floor. After working in homewares retail for years where the display department used the steamer to get creases out of the bed sheets AFTER the bed had been made, I knew that was what I needed in my life!

    We’ve been in our new house a year next month and I haven’t got the ironing board out once. Amber I can imagine you’d LOVE an upright steamer…! 😉

    Your post did make me laugh… and no shame in hiring someone to do it for you! But get the steamer, lol!!

    Catherine x

    • Amber
      June 21, 2019

      I really, really want a steamer now 😂

  • Silke
    June 21, 2019

    I’m aware this is an unpopular opinion, but I LOVE ironing. It’s my favourite household chore. I find it quite relaxing! But because it does take more time than I usually have, most of the times I’ll steam my clothes with my Steam&Go. It’s much quicker and it does the job well enough.

  • Sarah
    June 21, 2019

    The only person I know who ironed socks was my cousin, and that was because she used to do it for pocket money – 10p per item! 🙂

    I blast out bed sheets through the tumble drier for 15 minutes before I make the bed and it seems to work quite well – I can’t face ironing our bed sheets because they’re just too big and phaffy to fit on the ironing board.

  • KJ
    June 22, 2019

    Is it ok for me to hate ironing and never iron? I specifically only buy things that don’t need ironing, they do exist (skinny jeans and leggings) I tumble things that are ok with tumbling, or even if I dry them on the airer, I give them a quick tumble and hang them up when warm! One day I may have to iron when the children are out of school polo tops and into secondary uniform but at the moment I mange to get away with it! I don’t judge people who do iron, I actually envy their organisational skills. I hope people who do iron don’t judge people who don’t! My partner irons all his own stuff so the iron is always there ready for when I do take that leap……

  • Nina
    June 22, 2019

    I iron all my clothes except for underwear, workout gear or pyjamas. Can’t not iron!!! It’d look horrible and even Tan France from Queer Eye said it: Iron everything (as in clothes). It makes such a difference.

    But I don’t iron sheets/ bed linens – which my grandma never understood, because she is someone who irons *everything* 😁

    I like to iron while talking to my mom in the phone or while listening to a podcast/audiobook, that way I actually do something useful and it becomes enjoyable. ☺️

  • Sally Hewitt
    June 22, 2019

    Hi, like you I don’t understand how any material says non-iron when the last bedding I bought during my my 38 year search, was after washing carefully and hanging immediately still creased EVERYWHERE. I’ve cried, had panic attacks and gotten really angry at creases in clothes.
    Everyone around me either doesn’t own an iron or doesn’t use the one they have, for anything?! How? My daughter thinks I’m crazy. I’ve gone to extraordinary lengths to make it easier, spent a fortune, bought expensive bedding! Better irons, bigger ironing boards, covers as well as hand steamers! All to no avail. Ironing takes time.
    I hate ironing clothes only to hang them in a wardrobe, where I carefully try to make room in between items? Impossible! My partner doesn’t see these very obvious CREASES! My issue starts with folding and separating certain items including bedding before you put them in the washing machine and even rinse hold doesn’t do much. Recently after a year of extensive research I bought another more expensive tumble dryer which was supposed to be the answer to non iron!
    But no. I agree that gym clothes can be ok, but years ago I used to cool iron those as well. When I’m at home I’ll wear pj’s so I don’t have to unnecessarily wear clothes it’s a bit of an OCD thing perhaps? My late mum would iron everything including pants, vests, socks, flannels, tea towels…..
    May be that’s where it started for us both? I like to look perfect, I like my partner to look perfect and my daughter up to when she moved out. My daughter doesn’t iron. I really wish I didn’t care!!!!! I now have ME/CFS so have to have help with housework but not with washing and ironing because I’d be so anxious that they’d do it wrong!
    Exhausting isn’t it?! Oh and when I’m too ill to iron and bedding has gone on with some creases it worries me and can you imagine NOT being able to iron or be brave enough to let someone else do it for you?!! The absolute horror! I don’t mind if other people don’t iron but I do get irritated when then tell me there’s no need when I can clearly see creases and they swear they can’t? Eh?

  • Emmanuel Obarhua
    June 22, 2019

    Amber,

    While you’re worried the lady is making sarcastic comments about you in her heart, she’s probably happy business is good.

    Warm regards,
    Emmanuel

  • Dominika
    June 23, 2019

    I absolutely with a passion hate ironing but I’m totally on the same page as you when it comes to ironing bed sheets. Ever since I was a child we always got our bedding pressed (my grandma did it and my mum did it too) and there is literally nothing better in this world that freshly starched and pressed bed sheets! Dreamy!

    Oh and for those creases you get on your clothes hanging in the wardrobe for too long touching other clothes I’d recommend a handheld steamer. It’s a total game changer!

  • dubliner in deutschland
    June 26, 2019

    I find if we use the tumble dryer and then hang the clothes afterwards they usually look ok without creases. A lot of the time we are too busy to iron but we have a cleaning lady coming once every two weeks and if there is time we’ll ask her to do some ironing- things like work shirts or linen trousers.

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