Taming the Laundry Beast

I feel like Pikachu is mocking me…

Oh laundry, my accursed nemesis! Second only to the dishes which are truly my mortal foes!

Laundry in a large family is a statistical nightmare. Especially when you only have 1 washer and 1 dryer and no actual laundry room or area designated for doing said laundry and folding clothes. And then there’s the naughty toddler who thinks it’s fun to throw the clean clothes in the laundry basket all over the floor and jump in them. Ugggghhhh. Naughty, naughty!!

That face, though!

I have tried so many different things to try to get my kids helping with the laundry, but the truth of the matter is that they would rather go naked than do their own laundry. And as much as I try not to let others’ opinions of me bother me (although, really they do, but they shouldn’t, darn it!), I draw the line at someone thinking that I’m not providing my children basic care. Like clean appropriate clothing. So, there are no natural consequences that I am willing to allow other than wrinkly clothes, and they just don’t care. Wrinkled? Pshaw, looks fine. They don’t even care if they splattered spaghetti on themselves. Once, my oldest son had a bloody nose (from the dry So Cal winter air, ugh) all over his shirt, didn’t tell me, didn’t change his shirt, we piled into the van to go somewhere without my inspecting him, and I didn’t realize what happened until we got there. TRUE STORY. I just about curled up into a corner and died an agonizing, embarrassing, guilty death.

No, that kind of stuff bothers me, just me. Well, it bothers my husband, too, thank goodness. I need someone to commiserate with!

So, they would rather walk around in wrinkled clothing than actually put their clothes away. Argh. Even my daughter who somewhat cares about her appearance. Double argh. Why doesn’t the girl care???

These are her CLEAN clothes in the green and white baskets, folks!
I don’t think this is what they mean when they say “Clean and Pressed.”

If their clothes are not in their drawers, they assume they have nothing to wear. Upon seeing them decidedly not dressed, I tell them to look in the clean clothes baskets. And then they tell me that they can’t find any of their clothes. Next thing I know, I am digging around in the baskets looking for a pair of pants or a shirt for them. Sometimes I find it, sometimes I realize that they were right and I actually do need to do more of their laundry. So then I’m sorting through the dirty clothes hamper to find their clothes to wash. Sigh.

Time to get smarter than the smarty pants kids.

I’ve been thinking about this for months, and I think I finally have a good idea. I know, you are going to snort out your coffee when you realize the idea that took me months to come up with. Then you are going to turn to your spouse and say, “And this lady thinks she’s clever? Puh-lease!” And then your spouse will look at you funny and shake their head because they have no frame of reference for what you just said, and go back to the game they were playing on their phone. Or is that just me and my spouse that do that?

Back to my idea. Drum roll, please!

This is my “I got you now, laundry!” look.

Separate hampers, separate laundry baskets, and a washer schedule.

Having 3 boys in one room (their choice, not mine!) means the room laundry hamper becomes an overflowing disaster within just a few days. 

So, starting this month, they will each have a separate hamper, something like these. Having one hamper each ensures that it will not overflow. Plus, then their clothes won’t inter-mingle, making it easier for them to figure out whose clothes are whose. Because reading the clothing tags are too hard apparently.

But the hampers can’t all look the same or they will forget whose is whose, conveniently. And nothing but their own clothes needs to go in their hamper. I don’t care if that’s the closest hamper, not your hamper, none of your clothes go in it!

Which means there will have to be another hamper for bed sheets, towels, etc., too. Note to self: add 1 more hamper to the list. People are going to be looking at me weird for buying up all the hampers in the store. “Wow, that lady must run a laundry service or something!” Well, technically, I guess I kind of do. I just don’t get paid for it.

Next, I’m going to need more laundry baskets, like these. Everyone is going to need their own. And their clean clothes that just got washed and dried are going into their laundry basket, which is going to their room, which will either get put away, or sit there getting wrinkled. And then I can say, “Go look in your laundry basket for your clothes” if they are walking around under-dressed. Until I need the laundry basket back to put more of their clean clothes in. I’m going to just not think too much about that. Maybe when they are teenagers, wrinkles will bother them. Hmph, who am I kidding???

Finally, we need a schedule. Me and schedules, ugh. I grew up thinking that scheduling was for weaklings, apparently, because I hate schedules. They rake against my very soul. I love having a plan, but hate having to go by a schedule. This has to change of course, because, oh my goodness, laundry!

Schedules are good.

Schedules are good.

Schedules are good.

Keep repeating that, Melinda, it will be okay…

…now go to your happy place.

So, here’s my tentative


::shiver:: So foreboding!

Two loads per day. One for the individual and one for the family.

Monday:     Son #1 and Towels

Tuesday:     Daughter and Bedsheets/Blankets

Wednesday:   Son #2 and More Bedsheets/Blankets

Thursday:     Son #3 and More Towels

Friday:       Son #4 and Bedsheets/Blankets/Kitchen Towels/Miscellaneous

Saturday:   Husband’s clothes, in preparation for Monday morning and the week of work clothes. That might be 2 loads each for me and the husband. Bigger humans, bigger clothes, bigger laundry loads.

Sunday:     My clothes. Because I need clean stuff, too.

Wash. Rinse. Dry. Repeat.

This will hopefully work nicely because there are 7 of us and there are 7 days in the week. Imagine if there were more of us? I would drown in a sea of cotton and the occasional polyester blend.

There’s my plan to tame our laundry beast. I’ll let you know how it goes. Even if it fails. Pinky swear.

Maybe I’ll start Instagramming my kids in their wrinkled clothes. Think that will motivate them to put their stuff away? No??? Crud.

What do you do to keep on top of the laundry every week? How many people do you do laundry for? Any tips you can offer to us “laundry-challenged” souls?

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Author: pileofpates

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