Entertainment, Health and Lifestyle

For the Love of a Good Iron

While it’s true that life is uncertain, there’s at least one thing of which I am very sure: I will never be held hostage for refusing to iron.

Unlike Billie Jo Tyrrell, whose son Robert held her at gunpoint for six hours because she refused to iron his clothes, I love to iron. I’m not saying that I would be that thrilled to do it for a 29-year-old son who refused to leave home, but I probably would.

I know that my love for ironing is a little odd. It’s just that I find the process to be soul-soothing, and it gives me instant gratification. I love the sound of a good surge of steam over an ample ironing board that is positioned in good, natural light. More than that, l love ironing for the fact that it helped me get out of debt. Not kidding.

Years ago, when I came to terms with the fact that I have a serious shopping problem, I sat down one day to analyze it. I figured out that I just love the emotional sensation of buying stuff. And being able to get the feeling even though I didn’t have any money (buying stuff on credit made me feel like I had money) was a kind of emotional high that defied description. I loved the feeling and I wanted to repeat it as often as possible.

Trust me, I’m no therapist, but I figured that if I could find something less damaging that would produce a feeling at least equal to my shopping rush — and was easily accessible on a moment’s notice — maybe I could use it to modify my behavior. I knew in a heartbeat what that activity would be: ironing.

Giving myself permission to iron whenever I got a sudden urge to respond to an infomercial or head for the mall (this was somewhat prior to the advent of online shopping) was like giving a kid the key to a candy store. And you wonder why I didn’t tell a soul about this for so many years? Because I feared they would think I’m nuts — the way you’re thinking right now.

My secret plan worked and better than I could have ever imagined. I didn’t realize how quickly my urge to spend would vanish once I could successfully distract myself.

Over the years, my ironing has taken on a more serious tone. I have possibly the world’s finest home ironing system, for which I make no apologies. Granted, it was pricey. But compared to multiple sessions with a therapist, untold thousands in credit card debt or the heartbreak of divorce, my venerable and rather noisy IronMaven turned out to be quite a bargain.

The fringe benefits are myriad. I have all but eliminated cleaning bills from my life. I realized that I can hand-wash just about anything that would normally be dry-cleaned. What I was paying for in the past was the professional press. I can do that myself now, and I get to enjoy doing it, too. My husband’s clothes, even his jeans, are always freshly ironed. Guests in my home sleep on fine, ironed linens.

There are some who might believe I’ve just traded one obsession for another. That could be so. But I’m happy with the results.

And I never fear being held hostage for lack of a good iron.

While my old IronMaven is no longer available, in a recent column (“Three Best Steam Irons”) I responded with three options — best inexpensive, best of the best and best steam station — together with my brief reviews and best prices. For links to the posts and products mentioned above, please visit www.everydaycheapskate.com/lovegoodiron. 

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Mary Hunt

Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at tips.everydaycheapskate.com/ . This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

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