In a trying time, try harder.

As families become strapped for disposable income and spend more of their resources utilizing the currency of "time" instead of "cash," the iron is coming back out of the closet. Instead of spending your ever-dwindling paycheck on dry cleaning, why not iron your own dress shirts and jackets?

And it's not just about saving a few dollars per garment; it's more about valuing both your clothing and your own interaction with your things. If you launder and iron your clothes, their upkeep becomes more linked with your own value system; no longer are you relying on someone else to keep you looking pressed and pulled-together. You're taking the details; the pressed cuffs, the neatly-sewn buttons; under your own domain. In a way, it's a symbol that Americans are becoming more and more equal; that no task is below (or above) anyone. You wash, you iron, you mend; you are vertically integrated.

Much like those who are choosing to bake their own bread and can their own tomatoes, taking laundry and ironing back into your home allows you more control over the detergents and starches used. It's green, it's frugal, and if all goes well, it's therapeutic, too. What could be better than standing still in front of a window, watching the hot iron go back and forth, shush shush, while steam billows out of the many tiny holes? And instant gratification for a task well-done. The equipment is cheap; the incremental expense, almost zero.

Of course, if you weren't raised ironing your own things, you may have to learn how. Ironing classes at the Learning Annex, anyone?


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