As community building and preparation for the summer, each camp creates a staff-only Facebook group so staff can discuss the upcoming summer, make introductions, and ask for advice from directors and returning staff members on all things camp.
Yesterday, the topic of conversation was laundry—how is it done, who does it, how often, and more. As the ideas for underwear management were traded back and forth the line, “unless there is a name on it” was repeated over and over. Though some of the comments were written in jest…there was a slightly desperate undercurrent and tone from many of our returning staff members.
The Klean Karma Laundry has been such a foundational part of camp for so long, that—in our quest to keep its reputation unsullied—we decided we must clean up our acts and seek order and crisp clarity in setting a goal to keep our laundry Karma pure.
This made us think: how could we create Laundry Nirvana at camp? Much like the Eightfold Path, we need to have the Right Effort to achieve the Right Mindfulness which is found through Right Concentration. Laundry truly can be a meditative effort and when we put our minds to making the whole laundry process one of zen-like calm and clarity. If we can make it so, then we are all able to concentrate on other things….like playing outside.
Though some may say the sword is mightier than the pen, we disagree. We believe there is nothing more powerful than a Sharpie Rub-A-Dub laundry marker. And imagine the impact you could have on the lives of countless children, young adults, and weary laundresses if you practice this meditation every laundry day between now and camp:
You stand at the folding table, a content smile on your face, your head is clear of any negative thoughts. You mindfully lift and fold clothing item after clothing item, noticing your breathing and sending positive energy toward the wearer of the Fruit of the Looms you hold in your hand. As you inhale, you lift the Sharpie purposefully, intently, and then slowly inscribe the name of the wearer on the smooth elastic band, deeply exhaling as you lift the pen from the cotton.* Repeat. If your mind wanders, use the image of a sad counselor lost in a chaotic mountain of unlabeled clothes to help you refocus on your breathing.
Laundry nirvana is achievable if we label mindfully and follow the orderly path to sorting the fresh and folded linens….at least, everyone in the cabin and the unit will be much happier that way.
In closing, we offer you this mantra to chant: May your karma be forever clean, and may the names on your socks (and your skivvies) be your own.
*Or, if you are more of the contemplative ironing type, may we recommend Mabels Labels or Stuck On You as a great option for helping clothes—and everything else—find their way back to the right owners.