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Friday, May 30, 2014

An Unplanned Laundry Exposure.....and ALOT of background information!

Sorry in advance for this VERY long post.  I feel I need to give background information on this issue, and it will also help me as I develop my laundry hierarchy, which I am not ready to tackle yet AT ALL.  Unforunately some circumstances have come up this week, that may make it necessary for an unplanned exposure, in need to actually have clean laundry.  A little background information first, and then I'll talk about the unplanned exposures that I am going to have to do over the next few days.
As I've mentioned many times in previous posts, laundry/clothing is one of my absolute biggest issues.  I tend to separate this into two categories.  First of all is the clothing contamination, which I will discuss further in a separate post (and have addressed a lot already though in this blog).  Second is the actual process of washing my clothes.  There are so many rituals I go through to make sure my laundry is done right.
1.  Separating out everything into separate loads--socks, my T-shirts, my daughters T-shirts, sleep pants, my "outside stuff", my daughters "outside stuff", towels, my underwear, my daughters underwear, etc.  I do use the washing machine for my daughter and my clothing.
2.  I hand wash all of my husbands clothing (because his clothes are dirty and I consider him and his clothes contaminated and I don't want them in the washer)
3.  I wash most loads twice.  New clothes 3-4 times.
4.  I have to make sure that all of the soap gets rinsed off out the clothes, so do extra multiple rinse cycles (sometimes the rinsing alone adds on 40-50 minutes per load).
5.  A lot of loads get a special sanitary setting on my washer, which adds time to the cycle.
6.  Toilets cannot flush when the laundry is going.
7.  I run an empty cycle between most loads.
8.  I wash out the dryer door before I start laundry in the morning (in case my husband opened the door or touched it....which he doesn't even use the washer anyway, but my OCD tells me to wash it anyway).
9.  I have to turn off the water supply to the toilets downstairs and in the master bathroom (because they run by themselves when the washer goes into a spin/drain cycle and I am horribly obsessed that toilet water is backing up into the washer.  BIGGEST LAUNDRY WORRY!!!
10.  I will not use the dryer for my daughter and my clothes.  I line dry everything of ours for about 11 months now.  I will use the dryer for my husbands clothes.
So, I can't do my laundry when my husband is home, because he doesn't know about a lot of this.  Loads take me a LONG time to do, and I constantly check the washing machine to make sure that there is soap tumbling around in the clothes  That they are actually getting clean.  I worry that if I only wash them once, that all of the "germs" on the clothes are really just tumbling around with each other and nothing is really getting clean.  So somehow washing them twice makes me feel better.  The weird thing is up until a year ago when my laundry OCD started, I washed lots of things together and only once.  I would wash regular clothes and socks (gross!) together.  I would wash underwear, towels and sheets all in the same load.  So why did I start having a problem with this?  I don't know!  It started with one thing and has morphed.  Laundry and clothes are a huge, time-consuming issue for me right now.  If I could start cutting down on this, I would probably be amazed with how much "free time" I had again . To be honest, this is what consumes most of my day right now.  I usually  have a plan on what needs to get washed.  If my husband comes home during a load, then that load is "ruined" right on the spot.  Because I don't want him to know I turn the toilets off, I go into the bathroom and turn the toilet on before he comes in the front door.  Then I feel that toilet water could possibly have gotten on my laundry, and I throw it out.  I also feel that him washing his hands at the kitchen sink could somehow get through the pipes and the dirty water down the drain could get into the laundry.  I know this is irrational, but it is one of my biggest obsessions.  I work from downstairs at my home, so I am constantly going upstairs to see if he is home.  Sometimes my heart starts beating so fast with anxiety that you would honestly think that a burglar has broken into my house....all of this because my husband MIGHT be home and I have to figure out how to take care of everything if that happens.  Getting the water shut off fast enough, thinking about buying new clothes to replace the ones that I think are ruined, knowing that my anxiety will shoot through the roof if I have to do this again!!!  I know rationally that most people only wash their clothes one time through the washer.  I mean, really...isn't the whole point of a washer to clean the clothes and they are clean?  I can not accept this though.  The OCD tells me they are not clean after one wash.  So onto my unplanned exposure......
I had about 4-5 loads of laundry I needed to get done over the course of 3 days.  My husband unexpectedly took off from work 2 days this week and that completely threw me off.  I knew I couldn't get any laundry done if he was home and I was running out of things...only a few pairs of socks, and underwear and a couple of pairs of sleep pants left.  My options were A) to rewear things for a couple of days or B) to wash things through only one cycle and try to get as much stuff done as possible if he were to leave the house for awhile.  I don't really want to wear my underwear or socks more than one day.  Sleep pants I could manage for 2 nights in a row (and I actually did that last night) in attempt to make our sleep pant supply last twice as long if I needed to, until I was able to do laundry again.  I DO NOT feel comfortable tackling any of the laundry issues right now.  I have been working on my food related stuff and some perfectionism issues and have actually done pretty well (I'll update on those this weekend).  Since I used to wash laundry just one cycle  per load (without any problem up to a year ago), I feel that I am going to have to do this.  And to be honest unless I want to spend most of my time doing laundry for the rest of my life, this is something I will eventually need to tackle. husband just left the house and said he would be back in a couple of hours.  I just put the socks in the washer and know that I only have time to wash them one cycle.  Usually I do a quickwash cycle and a sanitary cycle for socks.  Today I will do the sanitary wash, but no quickwash.  The extra quickwash is what gives me the added comfort of feeling they are clean.  My anxiety right now is about 7-8.  The OCD tells me they might not be clean enough.  The rational side of me says...they are being washed in a sanitary setting.  All germs will be killed.  Most people do a cycle only once.  I used to do my laundry normally.  I will forever have laundry OCD if I don't start working on this.  I am not ready to start this, but maybe this a push to get me working on this.  To reclaim time and life back.  It will be one thing to just wash them once, but the next step will come in a couple of days--when I run out of my other socks and have to start wearing these.  I will have to wear them, and the thought of that makes me anxious.  But I have to do this.  Maybe these unforeseen circumstances that forced me to do my laundry quick, will be what pushes me to keep fighting off this part of my OCD.  I will update in a couple of days how this all went....and will also have some positive gains in OCD to post about as well. Hopefully this laundry exposure will be counted as a gain too.


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