Zen. Or the art of attacking the laundry pile.

Look at that laundry pile. You have one, I know that, so don’t bother denying it. Now look at it.

If it is anything like mine, half of those clothing items came out of the dryer, and half off the rack. Some are crumpled up and some are more smooth already. Some are still balled up like the socks because who can be arsed to get those untangled before washing? Right.

Now that they’re all nice and clean and dried up, the next and final step arrives: folding the damn things up to a degree that will make them a) storable/stackable, and b) findable. So far so good.

We’re not getting into the whole business of how to fold the various items of clothing. This is a practical choice in part, because I am no expert either, but mainly a philosophical one: who cares? As long as they can be put away, I honestly don’t care.

The question I am addressing here is of a more instrumental level. When approaching the pile of assorted garments does one first sort them into designated piles (kids, socks, underwear, mine, thine) or does one tackle the pile as a whole?

Analytically or holistically, if you will.

I was a great sorter for a long time. Now I attack the pile in one go. The progress is at first not as visible as it would be in sorted sub-piles – that one tackles one after the other thus leaving empty spaces where piles used to be – but eventually the bulk of the work begins to diminish. There is relief with every garment one touches until at last the whole pile has gone. The space it leaves behind seems somehow bigger than when I picked it apart first. The letting go more complete.

From the Ninja archives of understanding what the hell.


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