I hate doing laundry. Always have, always will. In fact, there’s an unsubstantiated rumor about my college days in which I supposedly bought more underwear in order to forestall an inevitable encounter with the washing machine in my dorm. No comment.

Now that I have kids, my laundry situation gets progressively worse as they grow up. Their clothes get bigger (fewer clothes fit in a load, forcing more loads) and they change them more often. In fact, my daughter thinks she needs to wear a different pair of pajamas every night. Add to that my steady stream of stinky running clothes and my constant laundry pile seems insurmountable.

But it gets worse.

For longer than I will admit publicly, my dryer had been flaky. It blew air, but not always hot air. Sometimes I could dry a load of clothes in an hour; sometimes it took three. Several months ago, I even bought a new dryer (washer, too–after 17 years, it was time). I was excited to take advantage of its high-efficiency features, but alas, I saw no improvement. Finally it dawned on me: clean the dryer vent.

To be fair, the thought had occurred to me a few years–er, some time–ago. And I did try. My dad came over and sucked it out with his shop vac, but honestly, I didn’t notice much difference afterward. Ignoring the impossibility of cleaning my long, stair-stepping vent with a vacuum, I wrote off the dryer issues to a bad thermostat and moved on.

In desperation, I finally called a professional duct cleaner last week. After a false start and rescheduled visit, Dusty Brothers arrived to augur out my vent. They found it so packed with lint that birds had even tried to nest in it since there was no flow of hot air to deter them. Five minutes and about $100 later, my dryer worked. Finally.

I felt pretty silly after Dusty Brothers left. I had waited a long time to address the problem–too long. I assumed it would be easier to just deal with it rather than to take the time to call for help. I ignored my own advice (see: Inertia) and squandered hours of productivity. What did I do with all that time I spent waiting for my clothes to dry? I would have accomplished so much more had I stuck to what I know (not household appliances, for sure) and called for help from a professional. Luckily, it was a simple fix.

I still hate doing laundry, but now that I can dry a load of clothes in 40 minutes instead of three hours, I hate it a lot less. Next time I’ll ask for help.

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