Thursday, August 14, 2008

Extra Rinse, Please - And Hold The Bleach

Today? I did laundry.

Nothing new about that, I do laundry every day. 3 loads a day, as a matter of fact. It's a hobby of mine. But laundry is on my mind today, because Jill over at Thou Shalt Not Whine was getting all defensive about not separating the kids' clothes into darks and lights before she washed them.

Huh? We're supposed to do that? Really?

Listen - my kids throw their clothes into their hampers (they each have their own, although the little girls share one); twice a week the older 4 haul their hampers downstairs, put their clothes in the washer, move them into the dryer (after I remind them), take them out of the dryer (after I remind them), lug them upstairs to their rooms (after...well, you get the picture), and leave them on the floor until I see the mess and yell at them to put it away, those are clean clothes, goldarnit, why are they on the floor?

That reminding thing? You want to raise your blood pressure 20 points with little to no effort? Try this conversation (What the teen's tone is saying is in the italics; because it is those nuances which can drive a parent to reconsider any pro-life leanings that they may have):

Me: "Where is your laundry?"
Anna: "Huh?" (Do I know you?)
Me: "Your laundry - remember? I told you to put it in the washer."
Anna: "Oh....I don't know..." (Do I care?)
Me: "Did you put it in the washer?"
Anna: "Ye-e-esss..." (Duh)
Me: "Okay - did you take it out of the washer?"
Anna: "No-o-o..." (Double Duh)

Deep breath here. Must. Not. Scream.

"Then, do you think, perhaps, that it might still be in the washer?" [Yes, I know, I am a regular Sherlock Holmes.]
"I don't know." (Don't you have anything better to do than to bother me?)

8 times a week, I go through this. I don't do this because it's easy on me. I don't do this because I am lazy (Anna's theory). I do this because I want to have daughters- and sons-in-law who love me because I taught their spouses how to do their own laundry. I do this because I like to torture my kids. I do this because I do not see any point in mixing together everyone's clothes just to sort them out again at the end.

(I mean, how dumb is that? This way, no one's socks get mixed up.)

Where was I going with this? I don't know. But I feel better. Thanks.

Oh, yes - darks and lights...why bother? Do I really need to make my life any more difficult? (Um, the answer to that would be no - it's a rhetorical question.) So, Jill, I'm with you all the way. You launder anyhow you darn well please; it's a free country, you know.


  1. At what age did you start this, because really, I'm thinking you are a genius. A brilliant mastermind of all things laundry related.

    Oh, and patient, because Anna is still alive after having that conversation for the last two years 8 times a week.

  2. Too funny. :) I separate the clothes, but only because that's how I was taught. :) It never occured to me to NOT separate them. Sure would save a bunch of time!!!

  3. I sort. But after I'm reading this I'm asking myself why....

  4. I sort. But after I'm reading this I'm asking myself why....

  5. Here is the key to getting your laundry done with no bother at all: Make your husband do it.

    Your welcome.

  6. I had a big stupid argument with my H last week because I put his khaki work pants in with the darks, instead of the lights where he thinks they should be washed.

    I say, if everything is roughly the same color, andnot washed with brand new red towels, does it matter? Especially since I wash almost everything in cold water?

    I think I just made a good argument for making him wahs him own dark pants.

  7. You've reminded me that it is time to start having Laura do her own laundry. What the heck was I waiting for?

  8. You're really frightening me about the teenage years... I need some of those laundry tips. I've got the put into washer, put into dryer's just the folding that I'm stumped by.

  9. Oh dear, I am really getting those teenage 'nuances' from my dear 13 year old. Not all the time but becoming more frequent.

    And I completely agree with nnot sorting the washing into colours etc.... I had enough of that sort of thing when I live with my parents all those thousands of years ago...

  10. You know how I feel about laundry--I did a whole post on it awhile ago. I'm a basket (haha) of neuroses and never shall the lights and the darks meet.

    There are many other ways I torture my children. Some of them involve a toilet brush.

  11. HA HA! My oldest son acts like he HAS NO CLUE when I ask him about his laundry or bedroom. My father calls it brain damage. swears he will out grow it about the time he moves out of my house. Figures!@

  12. Separate? Whatever for? I wash everything together in cold water. It's fine. Towels and sheets get washed by themselves, in warm. But that's the extent of my "sorting."

    I am trying to cut down on nagging--not for the kids' sake, but for my own. So I've told them, whatever toys are not cleaned up off the living room floor and put away by the time dinner is ready are mine for a week. If Mama has to put them away, they go AWAY. After a couple of nights of learning the hard way that I meant it, they got it. I bet you could come up with something similar for laundry. If it's left in the washer and you have to move it? You own it. I'm betting a teenage girl will learn REAL quick what to do in order to make sure she has her favorite shirt.

  13. My husbands rule is, if it need special washing instructions then he isn't going to wash it. (He does the laundry).

  14. I sort too, but just clothes and towels/linens.

    At what age can I ask my kids to do their own laundry? Just curious.

  15. no-sorters are making me twitchy! I'm sorry, it's just my own personal OCD thing (taking deep breaths) go ahead, dump all that laundry in together... (breathing into paper bag now)

    Just tell me you don't wear anything white or cream or ivory or beige, okay? (LIE if you have to!) Because (puff, puff, puff) if you DO, those pieces are turning gray from being thrown in with the darker things...(Oh bother, the breathing isn't helping...)

    Would someone throw the crazy lady a happy pill? Or a shot of whiskey or something? Thank you...

  16. We're supposed to SORT? For crying out loud--I think PINK is a FINE color for underwear and t-shirts.

    Another way to avoid doing laundry that works for my husband is to only buy DRY CLEAN ONLY. Heh. Oh wait, but I'm supposed to go pick that up, too. Drat.

  17. No fear, Beth - I sort the grown-up's laundry. The kids? Who cares? The girls aren't exactly prancing around in snowy-white frocks all day.

  18. I'm laughing at the mental image of your sometimes-surly teen prancing in any kind of "frock". :) Okay, now I can get through my day in peace, knowing your husband's tube socks are pure as the driven snow!

  19. I gave up on sorting a long time ago and haven't had anything bad happen.

  20. Oh I'm a sorter over here. Can I join Beth in the paper bag breathing? It traumatizes me to think of things being all mixed up.

    But I HAVE started making my little chicks help. They sort (hey they're learning about colors, right? Although I often find all the pants, all the shirts all the undies in piles, which then OCD requires me to fix because they aren't.all. the. same. color.)and they fold, sorta, and they put away. Sometimes. It's hard to do laundry when you are a control freak. Sigh.

  21. I do sort my own clothes, and my three older kids do their own laundry.

    I don't sort my toddler's laundry. I just can't see running the washing machine for 15 tiny little pairs of underwear and a few socks. Especially since I'm washing them every few days due to all of the "accidents" he's been having. (I'm starting to think that I should call them "On purposes" instead of accidents.)

  22. Here are my categories of laundry (and the source of most of my stress, probably):

    Darks (cold)
    Lights (cold)
    Delicate darks (cold)
    Delicate lights (cold)
    Towels (on warm or hot)
    Sheets (on hot)

    But ask me how much of it is folded right now.

  23. I am vividly reminded of coming home for my first break from college.

    "Do you need to wash laundry?" my mom asked.

    "Yes," I said, looking toward the window to see if it was still sunny (we never had a dryer).

    "Oh, good," my mom said. "Do ours while you're at it."

    (I did it, of course, because one Did Not Argue with my mom. Ever.)

    And I only sort if I'm washing one of the three things I own that I know will bleed.

  24. I separate colors from whites on an OCD level. And I'm laughing about stealing your "word". I had to read your post; I thought you meant I stole "schlump"!

  25. Daughter (13 now) has been doing her own laundry since she was 10 when I found out all the clean clothes were getting stuffed under the bed instead of put away.

    If she doesn't do it, she doesn't have clean clothes. Works like a charm. If I need to do laundry and hers is still in the washer I throw the wet clothes on the floor and do mine. (I only have to do that once or twice a year to re-remind her that it is NO LONGER MY JOB to provide her with clean clothes.)

    I still have lots of eye rolling and arguing here but this has eliminated one source of conflict between us. ;-)

  26. Very impressive, Katy. Very impressive.

  27. Our deadline for doing all your own laundry was 10 years old too. When they were two or so, it was their job to put their clothes in the drawers after they were folded. We put pictures on the drawers so they knew which drawer they went in. At some point, they were in charge of folding all their own clothes after they were clean, and eventually, they washed, dried, folded and put away. Of course this was accompanined by much screamage on the part of their mother and whining on their part. But they do KNOW how to do it, even if they don't. Little Man is a whole nother story, I do not have the moral fiber to make him do his laundry without wanting to kill him, so we just do it for him. We are still working on not pooping in your pants and pulling on elastic waist pants. Someday, maybe..

  28. That's the way I would do my laundry.

    Good thing Mr. Hot does it. ;-) He'd freak if he caught me not separating clothes.

  29. I sort mine, but not obsessively and only because I have enough to do a whole load of each type. If I were making my kids do their own (and believe me, I will), I wouldn't worry about the sorting either.

    Good for you that Anna is still alive. I think it was Bill Cosby who used to say his mom would say, "I brought you in this world and I can take you OUT!"

  30. Gosh darn it all where was your brillance when I needed it years ago? My kids are totally spoiled. Their dad is the Laundry Nazi and has things cleaned and back in their closets before they can even hit the ground from being taken off. I . Kid. You. Not. Me, I am horrible because I insist that they go all the way to the basement to PICK UP THEIR CLEAN CLOTHES BASKET. Torture, right? Ugh. I hate laundry.

  31. I think my 7yo has already perfected that tone. I'm in trouble in about 5 years.

    And, I only sort my own laundry. The rest of the family? If they want it sorted, they can do their own.

  32. Everything gets washed together at my house. The oldest 4 are responsible for washing, drying (on the line on nice days) and bring it in the dining room. I sort the clothes into parents, girls and boys room baskets and towels. I sort mine and hubbies and fold them. I even match his socks, as I usually borrow them. I put away my clothes and our 2 yr olds.

    All kids socks get thrown in their baskets- they can match their own or wear them mis matched. Or the third option, borrow dads, as they are already matched. :)

  33. What? We're supposed to sort by colors? Around here we each have our own hampers plus one for linens. I don't do my children's laundry either. They do it. I don't do my husband's unless I know he's extraordinarily tired from being overworked at work or I'm just feeling generous. The kids need to learn the life skill because I will NOT be driving 4 hours to do my child's laundry (some Oprah article a few mos ago!)
    When these co-inhabitants were unappreciative of the laundry effort I ceased to do it for them.

    Besides, when they become stinky teenage boys, the laundry develops certain biohazardous status that I don't want to encounter. Even my 6 year old can do her laundry. I wash my clothes, the towels and the girl's bedding and my bedding. Everyone else can figure out if the washer is available, and they've all been given a period of instruction on its operation.

  34. This is like a revelation to me. I think Glenn just got doing his own laundry added to his list of chores this year. (Mind you, I did plan to have him do it in high school, but the fact that most of his clothes can get washed at the same time anyway means I can start WAY earlier.)
    Can you hear me cackling with glee?

  35. I hear ya. I don't sort laundry either. And whenever possible I try to do each kids laundry separate as well because I don't want to sort them.

    And if the clothes are inside out they get folded and put away inside out too! (The kids don't like that very much...)

  36. I would give a limb if I could just get my kids to dress and undress in their own rooms.Any suggestions?