Here’s how I like to fold laundry, in my ideal world.
First, I sort it into piles – Ellie, Mark, Nik, Laura, bath towels, sheets, kitchen (wash clothes, towels), napkins, etc. (I didn’t do this initial step until I had kids. Now, I can only get a certain amount of laundry folded before the piles get destroyed. So I like to be able to get each subset of laundry completely folded and put away before I start on the next sub-pile.)
Then I fold each sub-pile. When folding clothes, I make a pile for short-sleeved shirts, a pile for long-sleeves, a pile for pants, a pile for underwear, a pile for socks, etc, etc. When folding napkins, I make a pile for each different fabric we have – some I like to alternate directions, every three napkins or so. That way the pile stays level. Each different napkin (depending on the size and style of sewing) gets folded in a different way, so that they all end up approximately the same size and look the way I like them to look when the table is set, ready for a meal.
When folding towels, I have a particular way that I like each kind of towel to be folded. Always hot-dog, not hamburger and then some in thirds, some in quarters, some in sixths.
I also have a particular way that I like clothes to be folded – wrinkles shaken out, shirts folded in the right order, pants ending up facing the right direction, etc.
Nik, bless his heart, has learned a good amount of this and does his best to fold to my specifications. In my turn, I do my best to bite my tongue when he’s folding laundry because really, who am I to complain if someone else is folding Mt. Laundry besides me?
Does all of this sound ridiculous? I like to blame it on my mother because she’s the one who taught me how to fold laundry. 🙂 Actually, when she stayed with us after Ellie was born, it was the one time in my adult life that someone else folded my laundry and did it exactly right. So I guess I can blame it on her!
I never really thought about all my crazy laundry-folding tendencies until I read the book, Journal of Best Practices, written by a man with Asperger’s about his quest to save his marriage. It is laugh-out-loud hilarious (as in, tears streaming down my face, uncontrollable laughing at points). It’s also amazing insightful related to what every couple faces in a marriage (not just marriage between someone with Asperger’s and a NT [neurotypical]).
You can hear an interview with David Finch and his wife, Kristen, here (on This American Life). The big revelation for David and his wife was that he really wasn’t a terrible, horrible, uncaring husband. He just had Asperger’s.
All the things that seemed to be destroying their marriage, she could see now that they were not his fault. And she hadn’t realized just how hard things were for him in everyday situations. Ira Glass (from the transcript)
As I listened to the interview, having read the book twice, I realized that the truth is we all (Asperger’s or not) have weird, quirky things about ourselves that we really can’t help. Sometimes, the most loving thing we can do in a relationship is not try to change that weird, quirky behavior but just embrace it and accept it as part of the person we love.
So, Nik? Thanks for learning how to fold laundry the way I like it to be done.
P.S. Make sure to listen to that TAL interview – it’s awesome.