Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Earlier this morning, I opened the refrigerator, reached past the milk and the cheese, and retrieved a plastic bag with squishy contents. There, to the left of the kale, was my blue and white stripped oxford cloth buttondown (OCBD) shirt. Left, quite on purpose, in a rolled up damp ball inside a plastic bag.

Removing the shirt from the bag, I set up the ironing board and got to work. This is a time-saving trick I learned from my busy and accomplished mother – when she only had time to wash a few shirts, but not enough time to iron them, she would wring them out and stash each one in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. The shirts would stay damp, as if suspended in time, waiting until she was ready to pull them out and iron them, which is easier than ironing after the wrinkles have set in on a dry shirt. I consider this to be a frugal trick as well, since being able to break up the work into smaller chunks of time means avoiding the dry cleaner, even when very busy.

It is important to close up each bag, as one wouldn’t want to end up smelling like the produce section of the grocery store. And of course, leaving any damp item in the refrigerator for too long would result in something unpleasant. I only use this trick on 100% cotton items, and never leave them for longer than a couple of days, even though my mother says they'll be fine for a week.

As I turned off the iron and hurried to get started with my day, I thought how appropriate it was that I was grateful for my mother's trick right before Mother's Day. And I was very happy to have a clean shirt that only needed some ironing to be ready to head out the door.
Photo credit: Nantucket Brand
Nantucket Brand Oxford Buttondown Shirt

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