about the towels @ coffee on the couch – saint louis

This is going to be one of those posts that I read back in ten years and remember the sweet times of the pandemic, the newness of my marriage, the awareness of the kids and my transition to my fully creative life. It’s long but I want to capture my mind in this moment. :)

In exploring the mysteries of the towels, I also explore myself. My controls, my wiring, my growth and flexibility. This really may sound so incredibly trite but the fact of the matter is, when I go through the morning routine in the house (much like any one person going through any one routine), you begin to notice the things about your self and about others / the world that make the routine different. Like a rat in a maze, you evolve past certain cruxes, you recognize patterns and take advantage of them, etc.

After David and I have at least one cup of coffee together and some early morning conversation – which, if he is lucky, is dusted with the wondrous sharing of my dreams – I eventually get out of bed, get semi dressed for the day at home and I head to the laundry room off the kitchen.

I fold what is in the dryer, stacking it into piles by room on the washer then distribute the laundry accordingly. I live by medium sized loads, laundry by purpose or person and folding as it comes out of the dyer. Growing up in a massive household and years folding for the Gap have set the direction in my laundering.

With the laundry put up and what was in the washer switched or started, I make my way through the bathrooms. When David and I combined households, we brought together a lot of towels and I decided to assign each of our three bathrooms (thank God we have three bathrooms) a specific color towel. This allows me a certain level of situational awareness of what bathrooms factored by who needs to shower / who is home should have their towels washed and stocked.

The other life hack I put in place is I stocked each under sink space with some cleaning supplies so that, in the mornings, I can comet the toilet, wipe down the sinks, switches and handles, viral check anything, gather towels, gather trash and restock. Doing this for 5 minutes each morning instead of Saturday morning haul is honestly one of the best ways I have changed the game. It also has allowed me to step into this compelling mystery of the towels.

In the upstairs bathroom, the one for the four teenage females, there is a gold basket on the floor that takes the rolled up thick blue towels. They get a patterned towel over the side of the bathtub and they get the white and light gray washcloths. There is a hand towel ring to the right of the sink, a 4 hook rack on the back of the door, a hook by the shower and a towel rack by the tub.

On a routine basis, like genuine routine (regardless of the number of hooks I have added and put in place for bath towels) a bath towel is put through the hand towel ring along with the hand towel. The gold basket of neatly rolled up towels has one or two strewn in there on top of neatly rolled ones and the washcloths are all catty-wompus.

Are the towels strewn in the gold basket dirty?

Do certain people have certain towel / washcloth preferences?

Why is the bath towel on the hand towel ring when the hooks on the back of the door are empty?

The main floor 2nd bathroom gets the white towels and the mix a match wash cloths. The white bath towels get folded tightly and stocked under the sink, with a stack of washcloths next to them. There is a hand towel ring to the left of the sink. A bath towel hook to the right of the shower. And that’s pretty much it. There is a little narrow wooden shelf on the wall that I made out of the front of a drawer, it is really decorative only outside of if a makeup bag of a guest needs a place to hang out.

A normal day presents to me two mysteries in this bathroom: the hand towel hanging on for dear life (which may be the simplest mystery to solve: an impatient almost 8 year old) and one of the bath towels *on the little narrow wooden shelf*. The hook by the shower may or may not have a one or 5 towels hanging, which really is just about shower surges when multiple showers occur in a day. But it is the bath towel on the shelf that gets me.

I mean – just, why? This will happen even after I set the bathroom up, have a fresh hand towel hanging and after no showers have been taken. It’s a towel, still mostly folded, on the shelf.

The last bathroom is the master bathroom. This towel gets my hair and face towels (smaller, softer towels passed down to me from my Grandmother), the black and grey towels, the black washcloths and the funky colored washcloths. There is a hand towel by the sink, a towel rack on the shower door, a towel rack on the wall, a hook on the wall and a basket on the floor for the washcloths.

Things that are constant: David puts his shower towel over the shower, I put a hair and face towel on the hook on the wall and I put my bath towel on the rack. The towel stock goes under the sink. Once a towel gets a couple of showers, it becomes the floor towel.

The thing about the floor towel is that I don’t actually love the floor towel to stay on the floor in between uses. BUT. Every time I think to myself “David knows his towel is over the shower – that is where he puts his shower towel” – and confidently hang the floor towel on the vacant rack on the shower door to dry and available for re-use (literally every time I have done this), when I go into the bathroom after he has his next shower, the floor towel is still on the rack and his shower towel is on the floor and a new towel is hanging over the shower.

Try as I might, my words “if there is not a towel on the floor, it means I hung it up right here. A towel hanging on this will never be your towel and it will never be mine. It will only ever be a towel that has been on the floor and that you can put on the floor again…” just do not seem to provide the reassurance.

Guys. I know this is a lot about towels. But I find it absolutely fascinating. I am fascinated by my consistency, honestly. But I am also completely fascinated by observing my people. How they work, what they need. From a personal growth perspective, I am fascinated with my complete acceptance and the fact I am not trying to change any of this. I caution on the side of dirty and throw them in the wash. I let the towel on the shelf sit a day or two. I straighten up the bath towel on the hand towel ring. I leave the towel on the floor.

One of the main things I can feel shifting in me is how important it is to allow people their space among the expectations. How the system does work but it works better if there is grace and flexibility. I mean. These things are essential.

Ok. Time to put the blue towels in the dryer. :)

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