Thursday, September 4, 2008

Drawing the Domestic Line: why I won't be ironing my sheets

I was reading the newest issue of Martha Stewart Living when something caught my eye.  It was early in the magazine, where Martha writes a letter to the readers.  In her letter she mentions how she got a special contraption to better iron her sheets.

Iron her sheets?  I thought.  Who irons their sheets?  Who has time for it, much less enough dedication to buy a special contraption for it?  I don't even iron my shirts!  In fact, I have shirts I that I haven't worn in months simply because they need to be ironed.

Martha, I'm sure, is a lovely person, and I do enjoy her magazine.  But since I'm experimenting with domesticity this fall, I thought I would clarify my boundaries.  I'm NOT ironing my sheets.  I'm not making watercress sandwiches to share with my neighbors.  I'm not labeling my linen closet or having my roman shades professionally laundered.

Why?  Because I have my domestic limits.  I want caring for my household to be a part of my life--not my entire life!  I say this because when I write that I want to get back to the basics, I realize that the basics vary from person to person.  My limits are undoubtedly different from Martha's, and probably different from yours.

For instance, I mentioned the other day that I like to bake fresh bread.  I enjoy the process--the kneading, the smell.  But for some, that is like ironing sheets.  With grocery stores baking perfectly tasty bread for the price of pocket change, why bother?

It is true that there is a tipping point when keeping house become a distraction, not a tool, to achieving personal goals.  For some people, just keeping their closets from eating them alive is enough to be happy and humming along.  Personally I require a little more maintenance.

In other words, I'm going to try to make sure I don't let other people set my standards for me.  I want to maintain just enough domestic order to help me with my other goals, not BE the goal.

So, I draw the line at ironing sheets.  I leave you to draw the line where you want.  

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