Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Three Things That Make My Life Easier: Chapter 4

I hate ironing. This may be because I'm not very good at it. Or because it is work to dig the ironing board out of the overcrowded hall closet. Whatever the reason I just don't like it. I also don't like looking unkempt and wrinkled. You can see the problem. When Harley and I got married I told him there are two household chores I really didn't want to do: ironing and cleaning the bathtub. Fortunately for me, Harley doesn't mind doing the bathtub so that part has worked out swimmingly. I'm pleased to report I don't think I have cleaned a bathtub in six years. Harley happily takes on that job, which these days is exceptionally easy thanks to our fabulous Bath Fitter shower. I wasn't so lucky with ironing since Harley doesn't like that task either. For years we survived taking turns or just being wrinkled. (Oh the humanity!) Then I discovered two products that rocked my pressing world. (That's another way of saying, "make my life easier.")

Oh my word, I am in love with these shirts. Leave it to Nordstrom to make my life easier. We bought a few of them years ago and they have NEVER touched an iron. EVER. They don't need to. Something in this genius Smartcare finish makes the shirts virtually wrinkle free. They just come out of the dryer looking starched and smashing. They are thick too, so no seeing through the fabric to skin (or worse) on your husband's chest. Haaaate that.
I'm pretty sure I have Mindy to thank for this discovery. Speaking of white dress shirts and thanking, I have Ben Rogers to thank for ensuring Harley never wears a short sleeved dress shirt to church again. Short sleeved white dress shirt=missionary. I'd been trying to insult Harley with this comparison for years, but it never worked. It wasn't until Ben (one of Harley's many man crushes) explained it like this: Church=formal. Short sleeves=not so formal. Or something like that. Anyway, it changed Harley's opinion on short sleeved shirts and he hasn't worn them since. To Mindy and Ben: thank you and thank you.

These shirts will run you $65. A bit pricey but worth it. Plan it right and buy them during Nordstrom's two sales: Anniversary (July) and Half-Yearly (for men it's in mid-June and late December).

2. Downy Wrinkle Releaser

If I could buy everything with Smartcare finish I would. Unfortunately, Smartcare has yet to spread its greatness to all fabric, so I'm left with many other wrinkled clothing items. Or am I? Enter magic in a bottle.

Spray the shirt, then smooth away unsightly wrinkles with your hand. The wrinkles disappear. Bonus: you get that fresh, soft bear scent.

For best results, spray, smooth, then hang the item in the bathroom while you take a steamy shower. Works wonders. Downy Wrinkle Releaser even works on dry-clean-only fabrics. $4.49 for a 16.9 oz bottle (which will last you forever) at your local grocery store or Target/Walmart.

I also own the travel size, because really, who wants to iron on vacation?

Disclaimer: Downy Wrinkle Releaser can't conquer all wrinkles. I still have to iron certain clothes. It works great on silk, but 100% cotton is pretty tough to tame and often requires a hot iron in the end. Still, so much better than ironing everything.

I have Jessica Diva to thank for this one. She is the master of throw it on, make it work, run out the door and still look great. It shall also be noted here Jessica taught me how to do laundry. I honestly didn't know how to do it. Thank goodness she showed me freshman year. I will also give a shout out to Ryan Peterson. He taught me one of the best laundry/ironing lessons EVER. Throw the wrinkled item into the dryer with a wet washcloth. 10 minutes later: wa-lah! The shirt is mostly, if not 100% wrinkle free! This was an amazing discovery sophomore year. I would do this all the time today except I don't have a dryer in my apartment. When you're paying quarters and schlepping to the basement this trick isn't so convenient. Still, Jessica and Ryan get big thank yous for making my laundry life easier.

3. Fabric Shaver

Continuing the wardrobe theme, another clothes saver is my Fabric Shaver. Again, Queen of All Things Fashion Jessica Diva told me about this years ago, but I could not find one. Probably because I wasn't using the proper name. I think I kept asking for a sweater shaver. Harley finally tracked one down at Brookstone and surprised me one Valentine's Day. I know, what says "I love you" like "Honey, get ride of your sweater pills"?

That's exactly what this little contraption does. It quickly and easily removes all pills, lint and fuzz that accumulate on clothing. Stainless steel, adjustable (3 settings) blades groom the fabric, cutting away unwanted gunk and collecting it in an attached tray. Take my word for it, this thing really works! So many sweaters I'd nearly given up on because they'd just gotten gross. After a once over with this small wonder they have new life. Just look what it did for my winter coat.

Before (see the pills gathering on the coat?)

The collection (I was walking around with all those little friends. Yuck.)


Good as new! (Except it's not new. It's four years old. I have yet to wear it this year and I'm already sick of it. Blech.)

Oh and did I mention it works on upholstery? I couldn't find my exact model at Brookstone, but I did find this one for $25.00. Amazon has a version for $12.99.

So there you have it. Smartcare me, spray me, shave me and I am a happier Diva with an easier life.

Other things that make my life easier here, here and here.


Kelly D. said...

I still swear by my steamer. Remember that thing from sophomore year? Still working! And WAY easier than ironing. I highly recommend it.

And I wish someone would shame Carter out of those short sleeve white shirts. I don't think it's possible, though.

And I'm totally investing in a new high chair this time around thanks to you!

Jess said...

I love Downy Wrinkle Release. And thanks for the new source for shirts! Ps. Brooks Brothers are pretty good too, but pricey as well.

Ming said...

Thanks for the shout out but it really should go to Jeff. He discovered Smartcare and now it's the ONLY dress shirt he'll buy. He wears dress shirts everyday to work and the smartcare holds up the best, looks the nicest and oh yeah, no ironing. Brilliant! LOVE Nordstrom Smartcare. As for their price totally worth it yes, but also they can be found at the Rack. Sometimes it's hit or miss of course but we often pick up a few there as well as hitting the 2 annual sales.

Did you know that fancy new dryers now have a special setting just for getting out wrinkles? Sort of a last minute fix instead of ironing. Genius! But since I don't have a fancy dryer I'm totally going to try the Ryan Peterson trick. Brilliant!

Remember how we have similar coats and while you are sick of yours after 4 years, I've now had mine for 6! Talk about blech. But I'm sure you'll see me in it again this season.

Okay, I'm off to shave my sweaters.

Sarah S said...

our secret... we NEVER iron. I just hang clothes in the bathroom w/ the steam and hope for the best. But for the most part, I end up being embarrassed that Ben's shirts aren't ironed and look so bad. We are SO going to the men's half yearly sale to buy some shirts next month. Thank you for your post! It's going to make my life easier too.

Ming said...

PS I can not believe you haven't had to scrub a tub in 6 years?! I hate you.

Joe said...

Okay, I'm with you on the short-sleeve dress shirts . . . but I ever live south of about Kentucky I will shamelessly wear them from May to September. I'm a sweater, you see. I sweat. No one bags on girls for showing their arms in church. Are you saying my arms aren't pretty? They're pretty, you bet! Equal rights=equal arms. My arm hair is blond. It's pleasant. Children like to pet it. You can't stop me! You can't!

Brooke said...

Wendy, you should get paid for these endorsements!! I am so hitting up Nordstrom to buy Dave some of those Smartcare shirts. And we also took your advice on the Ikea high chair from your post a few months ago. Thanks for the great suggestions!

carter said...

I can't be shamed out of something that's awesome.

Ben said...

I never wanted to be the reason that Harley gave up something he loved. Harley: I'm sorry.

(Wendy: You're welcome)

Lauren F. said...

Jon loves the Brooks Brothers dress shirts and I love them too because I have never had to iron one. I love that they keep their creases so they always look pressed. We will have to check out the Nordstrom shirts.

Jessica Taggart said...

Thanks for the shout out. I think my aversion to ironing began when I lived in Argentina and you had to iron EVERYTHING. I remember staying up late at night ironing my (brace yourselves) HOST-FATHER'S UNDERWEAR! They don't have dryers there so everything looks and feels really stiff--ironing is inevitable.

Carter--you stopped being a missionary a LONG time ago. It is time to walk away from the short-sleeve shirts. Joe, being a sweater myself, I can empathize. Check out Certain-Dri. It could change your life.

carter said...

You divas can hang on to this fantasy that short-sleeved T-shirts are strictly for missionaries as long as you want. I wore them before my mission, and I wear them after. I actually don't think I wore them a whole lot on my actual mission (Poland, people...)

I'm waiting to hear the downside. And "people think you look funny" doesn't count because I'm not a girl, so I don't care.

DC Diva said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DC Diva said...

Carter, "funny" isn't the word I'd use. Instead "juvenile," as in looking 19 or younger. Also "not as formal." Yep, those are the words I'd use.

And Joe, of course you have pretty arms. We just don't want to pet them until AFTER church.

carter said...

Wendy, I appreciate your comments, and I see your point.

So from this point on, I'm not defending any position, I'm merely being analytical.

Isn't "formality" relative? There are elders (grown men) in my ward who wear long-sleeve shirts every week, but they roll-up the cuffs, you know? Every week.

Then there are those who wear long-sleeve shirts, but not white. Dark blue, light blue, yellow, tan, etc. Where does that rank on the formality scale?

Then there are those (our EQP, for example) who wear long-sleeve, white shirts every single Sunday, but never a jacket.

THEN there are those who wear a sports coat without fail, but not a proper suit.

I'm not trying to be annoying here; I'm honestly curious what you (and others) feel about all of this. I mean, there is obviously some sort of "formal" line, and short-sleeved white shirts rest squarely on the juvenile and informal side of that line. Where do those other examples rank? And there are many more too -- long-sleeve shirt with sweaters but no tie, long sleeve shirts with sweater, tie, but NOT tucked in (seriously). Etc. etc.

I guess I was giving myself some credit for having my shirt be A. white, B. tucked in, and C. accompanied by a tie.

I don't know jack about fashion, and I'm curious what other people think of all this.

Harley King said...

You pick your battles in marriage, and the wearing of short-sleeve dress shirts isn't one I want to continue.

I'm cool with short. With color. With long. With sport coat. With blond? Shirts.

As long as I'm long, baby, I like to do it Nordi style.

Oh, and the bathtub, that's another battle I don't pick.

DC Diva said...

Oh please Harley! You are not cool w/ color. I tried to get you to wear colored shirts to church for years and I've never seen you do it. Not once.

I think we're all "cool" w/ anyone wearing anything as long as they're coming, right? We welcome all fashions and levels of formality. Just attend.

That said, there is looking "good" and looking "right." I think colored shirts look good, but is it right? Is it the uniform of the Priesthood? Is it what the GAs where? No, therefore Harley (and others) are right to stick with white shirts. (Preferably the long sleeved variety.) Harley chooses that battle and I support it.

Sweaters, sports coats, non-full suits, etc. don't bother me so much. Although I agree they are not as "formal," and we should all strive to look our best/most formal on Sundays, right? Right.

Well, not MOST formal. No tuxs please. Even if it's the day after prom.

I guess I define most formal as proper suit, white shirt tucked in (please... seriously?) and tie.

anna banana said...

I am putting that sweater shaver on my Christmas list, seems like an ingenious idea!

janaemadsen said...

my mom hated ironing and taught me the iron trick. I don't think she ever ironed. I had a mission companion that just sprayed them with water and hung them.
I love those shirts from Nordstrom too. So true about the short sleeved shirts.
p.s. I also don't have to scrub tubs. LOVE IT.