The trouble with folding laundry

So, yeah, I'm not too good at folding clothes
So, yeah, I’m not too good at folding clothes

In the first few posts of my blog’s existence, I posted about having to learn ways around doing the laundry when I moved out of home to university because I found it difficult with my Cerebral Palsy, and then I wrote again about trying to take on the housework to help out more at home, but not being able to do all of it. Today, I want to talk (ok, rant) about something else that doesn’t come easily…folding my clothes and putting them away neatly.

Because this is largely a two-handed job it can get quite frustrating as my left hand doesn’t always feel like joining in with movements I’d quite like it to do. Over the years Lefty and I have had many battles of will (some of which have literally involved me snapping at it) but it’s getting stronger all the time, which is good, but folding my outfits doesn’t ever really work out the way I’d like, as I think this photo shows).

The first couple of things always go quite well, and then Lefty gets tired, or bored,   or I find something that’s an awkward shape and it’s game over. I know that I don’t do too badly but I’d like to do better. They always end up in a crumpled heap by the time I’ve got them into the draw anyway because I can’t carry the whole pile straight out in front of me with both hands with falling over. It’s a slow process because I have to take regular breaks because all the bending down that’s usually involved makes me tired, so for everything to get creased in the end anyway gets on my nerves. Now that I’m back at home, Mum usually helps me do it all, but I’d quite like to be able to do better at it so that it’s one less job for her.

I guess the reason I’m writing this post is because I’m wondering if any of you have any advice on how I could make this a bit easier and get better results?

The thing with laundry

When it comes to doing laundry, I have to get a little bit creative. Before I moved away from home my parents had always helped with it so it was a shock to the system when I had to do it for myself and I wasn’t entirely sure how I’d cope with it.

While I was at university I had help from an outside supportive living agency who would also assist me with my laundry, cooking, cleaning and shopping whenever I needed it so I know that it’s not something I’d ever have to  worry about too much if I ever did decide to live alone. Yet I hate to be defeated by anything (except my shoe laces – I gave up trying to tie those a long time ago) so I made the effort to find ways around washing my own clothes. I knew that I could always ask for help if it got too hard, but I wanted to be ready just in case there was ever a time I don’t have a choice, and so that I know I can do as much for myself as is physically possible.

Luckily I’d always managed to find somewhere to live where my bedroom had been on the ground floor so I didn’t have to fret about trying to get all my clothes downstairs to the washing machine because there was no way that I would have tried to carry the basket myself. Eventually I did manage to find a way around this problem though for if I ever want to give mum a hand at home where my bedroom is on the first floor and the washing machine isn’t. I have to get some plastic carrier bags (like the kind you get from the supermarket), fill them with whatever I’m planning on throwing in the washer, loop them around my wrist and go downstairs holding on to my handrails as normal. It usually takes three or four trips for me to gather a full load, but I get there in the end.

When my room was on the same floor as the kitchen at university I usually opted to do what I like to call the ‘crawl and push manoeuvre ‘ where I would get down on my knees on the floor and push whatever I had my clothes in along with me until I got them to where they needed to be. This took a while too but it was better than the alternative if I tried to carry it. When I would try to do this I would usually end up falling over (what a surprise) or I’d spill all my clothes all over the living room floor, neither of which are very good, especially not if the people you live with are around at the time and just so happen to see your unmentionables go flying across the room. My housemates were always really helpful and would help me if they were around though.

The difficulties don’t stop there. If for whatever reason I can’t use a dyer or my clothes need to be hung up on an airier before I can put them back in the wardrobe,  that takes me a fair amount of time too. I have to hold on to the airier for support while I put things onto it, which means that things often fall off again as fast as I can hang them there, so it takes ages (and a lot of mumbling to myself most of the time) to get everything to stay in place. The constant bending down to pick things up makes me quite tired too so I have to take a lot rest breaks too.

I used to use Betsy for extra drying space too if I wasn’t planning on going out anywhere. I haven’t had to do this with Martha yet, but I’m sure her time will come.