Now that summer is here I find myself wearing lots of linen and cotton, both fabrics that look better when ironed. I love to iron. There is something very soothing about ironing. The scent of the steam as it hits the clean cloth. The immediate satisfaction of something wrinkled becoming freshly pressed. I can get lost in ironing. My mind relaxes and I just let it drift. It is one of those chores that accomplishes something and at the same time allows me to let go and process my thoughts.

I like to use a small bottle of lavender water to spray my clothes with as I iron. I enjoy the smell and it is kind of nostalgic and almost indulgent. I iron in batches mostly. I wait until I have a large grouping then haul it all out and do it all at once. Sometimes I am really indulgent and I watch a chick flick while I iron.

My fiancé on the other hand irons everyday. He likes to have his clothes freshly pressed right before he puts them on. He uses magic sizing instead of lavender water but the smell of the steaming iron as it glides over his clothes still makes me smile. Well that and the fact that he actually irons his own clothes.

In this modern world where everything happens so fast ironing is kind of a throw back. It takes a bit of time, there are no short cuts and the basic iron hasn’t changed too much over the years. I like that. I take comfort in that. A heavy stainless steel iron with steam is still the best bet.

The ironing board is an important piece as well. It needs to be adjustable, padded well and good sized. If the pad is not thick enough you can get the imprint from the ironing board on your clothes. That is not good. It isn’t as easy finding a good board these days as it is a good iron. I like to use both ends of the board. Sometimes the back end of the board is perfect for the shoulders of a shirt.

My mom taught me how to iron. There is a proper sequence to ironing. Well at least there is my proper sequence; Shirt collar, then sleeves, front lapel, front sides, shoulders and back. I don’t really vary too much except sometimes I do half of the front then do the back and then finish up the other side of the front. Pants are harder to do because you have to get the seam right down the front. I am fairly picky about how the piece looks once I hang it up and look at it. If it isn’t right I take it off and put it back on the ironing board.

When I was growing up I liked to watch my mom iron. It was a chore for her but I liked to see all the clothes get hung up on the little rack she kept next to the ironing board. Her dresses (they called them shifts) and my dad’s work shirts hung right next to each other. My mom liked to sew when I was growing up and made most of her shifts. When I was quite young she made my clothes too. We had lots of shifts that matched. I loved that! Both of our dresses were hanging next to my dad’s chambray work shirts…ahh…the simple things that make an impression on our young minds.

My aunt took in ironing to help support herself while I was growing up. When my mom and I would visit her she would be standing in her family room ironing other people’s clothes while we visited. It was interesting and kind of cool to get a glimpse into other people’s closets. She made decent money at it and I think she kind of enjoyed it. It gave her time to think or watch television as she worked. The tools were easy to put away and it was inexpensive to operate. She was able to stay home with the kids and yet bring in spending money.

Ironing is about feeling good about what we are wearing and being presentable to the world. It is about positive self image and it is about doing a chore, seeing results and relaxing the mind. All good things… I like that.