Giftedness as a Way of Being

Gifted people prefer complexity. We can turn the most mundane endeavor into an art form, a creative challenge, experimenting until we discover how to attain the most elegant, satisfying solution. Are we going for easy? Efficient? Time-saving? Of course not! Those are other people’s goals. We took an oath before we were born to strive for our personal best in all endeavors. Call it perfectionism. Call it mindfulness. I call it fun! 
Doing laundry is a good example.
The Gifted Woman’s Guide to the Art of Sparkling Laundry
  1. Go through every room of the house, every closet and drawer, and collect everything that doesn’t look or smell perky fresh. You should have a mountain of laundry before you begin—at least four loads.
  2. Sort the laundry into piles:
    a.  Dark-colored towels (towel color can bleed even in cold water; towel lint can get on socks; towels may need a heavy-duty wash cycle; they take longer to dry)   
    b.  Dark-colored fabrics other than towels.    
    c.  Whites you can douse with Clorox.
    d.  Light colors and whites that cannot be bleached.
    e.  Wrinkle-free garments.
    f.  Hand-wash. (While there is a hand-wash setting on most washers, would you trust your delicates to a machine? Really? Hand-wash in cool water with a few drops of Woolite.
  3. Soak for 5 minutes. Rinse and squeeze gently. Enfold the garment in a large towel. Roll up the towel and sit on it on a closed toilet seat. Press your bottom firmly in circles. Lay garment flat and re-shape it carefully on clean, white towel.) 
  4. Go through all pockets—especially in men’s clothing.  Keep all coins you find.
  5. Read the label on every piece of clothing. Send out anything that says “Dry Clean Only.” This will add immeasurably to the life and fit of your clothes. They will go out of style before they show wear.
  6. Inspect all clothing meticulously for stains. Spray all stains. Smell under arms of men’s clothing. (Ychh!) Spray under arms, around collars, in crotch areas, bottoms of socks and ends of sleeves just to be sure. (Costco is your friend.) Pour non-chlorine bleach on tough stains and rub. If stain persists, presoak before washing. Chlorine-safe whites can be soaked in the sink with a little Clorox and hot water before washing. Buy and read a stain guide (or check online) to learn how to get out stubborn stains that defy you.
  7. Turn fabric-painted shirts inside-out.  Put bras and stockings in a net bag. Wash gently.
  8. Put the clothes in the washer before adding water or detergent. Be careful not to overfill washing machine; let your clothes have room to mingle freely with each other. Use cold water for most fabrics. Use the recommended wash settings for each type of load.  Less is more. See how little agitation you can use to get your wash really clean. Balance the washer so that there is an even distribution of the articles. Fill with water until the laundry is completely submerged.
  9. Carefully read the instructions on your detergent. Use only as directed. Here again, less detergent is better for your clothes than too much, which can stay in the fabric. After you pour the detergent in the washer, turn the water to hot momentarily to rinse out the cup. This keeps you from wasting the product and prevents those messy drips when you place the cup back on the detergent spout. Be sure to turn the water back to cold immediately afterward. Add non-chlorine bleach to whites and colored clothing. Again, read the directions. 
  10. Wait until the wash cycle begins. While waiting, inspect and spray all other clothes you plan to wash today. When you run out of things to spray, inspect all the appliances and touch them up with the Windex and paper towel you keep on the shelf. Remain in motion, like your laundry. When the clothes begin to agitate, open the washer and see if you have enough water so that the clothes circulate well. See if you have sufficient detergent. There should be some foamy bubbles, but not so much foam that you can’t see the clothes. Experiment until you get this exactly right.
  11. If you have used too much detergent you may have to rinse the clothes twice. So check the rinse cycle. There should be no bubbles in the rinse cycle. While you are waiting for the rinse cycle, work out on one of the exercise machines near your utility room. Agitation is good for both you and your laundry.
  12. If you need to leave the area, challenge yourself by trying to time your return to the precise moment when the washer stops. Clean out the lint screen in the dryer with a used dryer sheet.
  13. Examine each piece as you take it out of the washer to make sure you got out all the stains. Commend yourself for being such a good laundress! 
  14. Shake each piece before placing in dryer. Add a dryer sheet for each load. Dry the wrinkle-free items first. When they are finished, place the denser items in the dryer.
  15. Hang up your bras. Then put the rest of your clothes in the dryer. Not your husband’s or children’s. Wait 5 or 10 minutes to get out the wrinkles. While you are waiting, check the floor—especially behind the appliances. You never know what you will find. Clean the toilet. Take your clothes out, hang them up to finish drying and hand press the edges. With this level of care, your clothes will outlive you. 
  16. Put everyone else’s clothes in the dryer and dry for 60 minutes on any setting. Your family will outgrow or ruin their clothes anyway, while yours will last forever.
Do NOT share this guide with your therapist. Sometimes there is a fine line between giftedness and OCD. But if you don’t wash your hands a lot or count your steps, you’re probably OK.
The Guys’ Guide for Washing Clothes
Wait until all of your underwear stinks. Gather clothes from floor and dump in laundry basket. Empty basket in washer. Add packet of detergent. Wash. Put in dryer. Dry. Place in basket.