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Monday, March 26, 2012

The Benefit of Wearing an Apron with Pockets Around the House

There are a few things that signal to the brain "Time to get to work!", even when you're at home. Two of which, getting dressed to lace-up shoes every morning & having a set of daily routines written down, have already been well-covered by a great mentor of mine, The FlyLady. But there's one trick that I'd like to cover for you, which I actually discovered on my own- wearing an apron with pockets.

You may be picturing down-home moments on the farm, with one of the Walton women calling everyone to dinner right now, when you read the word "apron". I would love to have that life portrayed in the famous TV show, but I'm afraid I'm a bit too much of a city girl, way too attached to my computer, and far too lazy to ever attempt such an existence. But a lesson can be learned nonetheless, and wearing an apron is a major simplifier in life. I am not just speaking to women, ahem. If you're a man, if you're home all day or you help with the chores at all (and you'd better be- if you're well enough to read this, you're well enough to help out a little around the house!), an apron is appropriate for everyone. Lest you think only a thin person can find an apron that fits, there are oversized ones in just about every color on the Internet, even if you can't find one in the store. There are aprons with bibs (that go around the neck, in other words), or aprons that simply tie at the waist. Unless you have a neck problem or are just extremely neat (a.k.a., never spill a drop of anything on your shirt), I'd recommend the traditional, or bib kind. I recommend getting one that is fairly lightweight, cotton if possible, adjustable in the neck, and one that washes easily. Again, unless you're very neat I would recommend wearing a darker color rather than a lighter one- lighter colors will of course show dirt & food much more easily. It is entirely up to you how often you wash your apron but frankly, once a visible stain is on it, even on a dark color, it goes into the laundry basket for me. I didn't build my apron collection in a day, but I do have several dark ones now on-hand.

Think about it. Aprons protect your clothes from bleach stains, accidental spills of food & drinks during mealtimes, cooking stains, dirt or ink picked up on your hands that could be transferred to clothing in a nanosecond if you touch your clothes, and many more things. I cannot tell you how many times I haven't worn an apron, was dressed in a beautiful but light-colored shirt, and promptly made it look ugly for the remainder of the day with a droplet of spaghetti sauce or iced tea. Pockets in an apron can store little items right at your waist, which would otherwise bulge out in pants pockets & look strange if you tried to wear them that way. These optional but useful items can include a timer (a great tool to help you get more done without overdoing it, or forgetting something important), a memo pad & pen, a compact mirror (with or without pressed powder), lip blam or gloss, a Tide to-go mini-pen for treating clothing stains, a notepad & pen/pencil, your cell phone, an iPod- the list goes on. Particularly if you're not wearing an outfit that allows you to wear something on a waistband or belt that day (like your cell phone which is stored in a clip), an apron can really come in handy to wear.

Aprons can actually end up being a money-saver, in the short- and long run. When your shirts & the front of your pants are protected from stains, you do not have to pre-treat them before going into the wash (hallelujah!) Not having to do that is a time-saver, as well. This cuts back on the pre-treater you need to buy. (Don't automatically throw the clothes you wore into the hamper or laundry basket- at least with shirts & slacks or skirts. You may have to do less laundry this way- if you didn't get any stains on your clothes & didn't get sweaty in them at all, why not wear your clothes one more day?) Anyway, assuming your pre-treater didn't work, and neither did washing or even soaking the stained piece of clothing, the clothing either has to be worn stained (not very appealing) or thrown out. I've ended up throwing out very nice shirts that, unfortunately, got a bleach stain on it once (absolutely unfixable, of course, once on the clothing & not rinsed out at once), and were not fixed by dying the shirts again. I know some people will continue to wear clothes that are stained & to each their own, but I'm not one of those people. I don't feel good about myself in stained or torn clothes, and if I don't feel confident in it, I'm not putting the item on. Aprons not only can prevent stains, but tears in fabric, as well. Especially thin shirts or ones with a particularly intricate weave, which can easily get ripped or frayed. The same premise of permanently-stained shirts applies to torn or pulled ones. Is it really worth taking the chance? Aprons can quickly & easily be removed. If someone sees you in an apron, they may be a little surprised, but they'll probably just assume that you're cooking or doing something else important around the house. (And what's wrong with that?) It's not the end of the world if the apron gets stained or even torn (the latter of which is incredibly hard to do, by the way), especially if they weren't very expensive to start with -and I don't recommend wearing an apron you feel is too expensive to get stained, obviously. You can still be a fashionista in public, and just wear an apron around the house when you're cleaning the house, cooking or doing laundry. But I promise you, when your hair is done, your face is made up nicely (if you enjoy wearing makeup), the rest of your clothes & shoes are comfortable but tasteful, wearing an apron over it doesn't look bad at all. If anything, you look like you are raring to go do some serious homemaking, and there's nothing wrong with that!

Here are a few aprons that I like:

I've even begun laying out my apron along w/ my outfit & shoes for the next day. Since, for the moment anyway, I'm at home most days, I'm going to wear the apron much of the day. Setting it out the night before helps my forgetful brain remember to put it on in the first place!

Here's to being a happy organized minimalist,

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