I’ve got a confession. And I feel like it’s a dirty secret.
It involves dirty laundry (LOTS of it), twenty quid and a man called Stuart.
When I say LOTS of dirty laundry, I do mean LOTS. When we announced we were expecting baby number three a friend jokingly told me I’d never see the bottom of our dirty laundry basket again, and she wasn’t wrong.
I haven’t seen the bottom of our dirty laundry basket for almost a year now, not since Littlest B arrived on Valentine’s Day 2017 in fact.
Not only have I not seen the bottom of it, it’s so rammed full we can no longer put anything in it either.
We now have so much dirty laundry it resides in a permanent pile next to the dirty laundry basket, a washing mountain that grows bigger by the day.
I’ve considered getting a bigger basket – or one for our bedroom and one for the kids’ bedroom – but that’s not solving the problem, it’s simply hiding it. And hiding it isn’t going to make it go away.
The problem is we don’t have any outside space or a tumble drier, and we live in a block of flats where tumble driers aren’t allowed for fire safety reasons. It therefore takes 24 hours to get one load of washing clean and dry before you can put the next load on, and despite the machine going on every single day what with it being winter and there being five of us coupled with weaning and potty training it’s simply impossible to keep on top of it.
Last summer I actually took all our dirty washing with us on our Hoburne holiday because I knew they had a launderette and I’d be able to get it all clean and dry while we were away.
I remember being mightily pleased with myself for hitting on this idea at the time, but what on earth was I thinking? Who takes their dirty laundry with them on holiday? I should have been playing with the kids or simply sitting down doing nothing, not standing in a launderette on a holiday park feeling smug for folding hot towels.
It’s now got to the point our washing mountain is so big that an industrial scale solution is needed, the sort of industrial scale solution you’ll only find in a launderette.
So I googled launderettes and discovered our local launderette not only has industrial scale washing machines, they’ll pick up your dirty washing and deliver it back to you clean, dry and folded too.
Why did no-one tell me this? This kind of information should be in the Bounty packs they give you in hospital: nevermind leaflets for newborn photographers and baby swimming lessons – if I’d known the launderette would not only collect my smalls from my front door but wash them, dry them, fold them and deliver them back to me ready to be put away in my knicker drawer they’d have had my custom years ago.
It’s not a case of laziness, it’s a case of maths.
I calculated our washing mountain was the equivalent of at least five separate loads of washing, which added to the aforementioned lack of outside space and tumble drier issue equals five days to process, plus it’s being added to each day.
If the launderette were to collect the washing mountain and do it for me, it would all be done within a day.
‘I’ve got a dirty secret & he’s called Stuart’
So I called the launderette and spoke to a man called Stuart, who promptly arrived on the doorstep with a knowing smile, relieved me of the washing mountain and delivered it back clean, dry and folded just three hours later in return for twenty quid.
Three hours! Twenty quid! It would have taken me five whole days and almost cost me my sanity!
For that reason I’ve added Stuart to my list of superheroes I can’t live without, but the thing is I can’t help feeling he’s a dirty secret.
What must the neighbours think, what with the Hello Fresh delivery van arriving on a Monday, Tesco on a Wednesday and now Stuart on a Friday, all with their branded vans?
It’s honestly not a case of can’t be arsed, won’t be arsed, it’s a case of can’t cope, need help.
I haven’t told anyone else about Stuart either (Misery Guts knows, of course) – you’re the first to know.
The fact is there’s currently three people in our marriage, and while Stuart and his knowing smile is one of the best things that’s happened to us lately I can’t help but feel by admitting it I’ll be judged.
Do you have a washing mountain that sits next to your dirty laundry basket too? Have you ever visited a launderette or had a Stuart collect it in a bid to get on top of it? If there’s a Stuart in your life I’d love to hear about him (or her)!