The Battle of Laundry

A typical laundry process for me:

“Oh crap!  My favorite jeans are too filthy to rewear for the 20th time.  Guess I’ll have to actually launder them.”  Wash a full load of darks.  Mid-day, transfer laundry to dryer and/or drying rack.

Two days later, retrieve laundry out of dryer and fold it while watching “The Bachelor” on hulu.  (Emily, stop talking about Courtney.  Enough alreadyClearly, Ben does not like this.  And Courtney- you are going to be embarrassed when you see how often you purse your lips like that when you talk.  Just sayin’.)  Leave laundry in basket because kids are napping, so I can’t put it all away anyway.

Over the next couple of days, pull clean, folded laundry out of the basket as needed.  Jeans included.

Once in a blue moon, I actually do the whole laundry thing from A  to Z  in one day.  I consider those days a success.  It feels good to have it all put away at the end of the day, instead of sitting in the basket or mildewing in the dryer (hate it when that happens).

This post is not about how I’ve mastered my laundry schedule by having one appointed laundry day (my sister’s method, at least back in the day.  It was Thursdays, if I remember correctly).  Or how I have motivated myself to finish the whole process instead of stopping at the dryer part or the folded laundry part.

Nope, this is a post about WHY this laundry rarely gets done from A to Z in one day for me.

I take no credit for this revelation.  It came from my sister-in-law, who was in town for our monthly “cousin day” on Friday.  She brought some clothes with her to pass on to my two kids, who take great joy in wearing their cousins’ hand-me-downs.  I saw some pj’s that I remember her son wearing recently, and asked if he had outgrown them already.  Nope, he had not.  She was just paring down their clothing.  Her laundry routine had gotten annoying and she thought this might help.

She explained that she frequently got to the “laundry is clean but not put away stage” because, really, there was no need to put the clothes away.  She stalled out there because it didn’t matter if she put those four clean pj’s away- there were still three more pairs that were clean and available in her son’s drawer.

So her clothes sit on the couch for a few days, waiting to be folded.  And in the meantime, two more baskets of dirty laundry accumulate.

Sound familiar?


This  makes me want to go through my own closet and my kids’ again, and get rid of the excess.  I know what my daughter likes and doesn’t like to wear, and frankly most of the time I don’t care that much what she wears.  So there’s not much point in hanging on to those extra pants and shirts that she doesn’t like, now is there?

Also, like I said in my little ditty about cloth diapers, I like looking around and seeing that we have everything that we need and our things have a purpose.

My daughter’s roughly seven extra pairs of pants and jeans that she never wears are currently serving no purpose at all.  My son’s extra church clothes (read: anything that’s not a t-shirt) serve no purpose.  He doesn’t need 11 little button-down toddler shirts.  Probably three or four would work just fine.

I am applying the same mentality to my stash of maternity clothes.  Every time I lend them out to a few friends, they breed and make more maternity-clothes babies in the form of  oversized white shirts and button-downs.  (I never wear button-downs.  And there is nothing worse than wearing maternity clothes that are too big for you.  As if I didn’t feel large enough already).

Hey- anything to move this laundry process along a bit.  That stalling-out thing is annoying.


15 thoughts on “The Battle of Laundry

  1. so true! i have been inspired by your last year’s 5 things a day cleanout and am doing so this month. beginning with clothes. we get all my sister’s hand me downs from her kids so we’ve just got piles and piles of so so clothes and hence, piles and piles of laundry. love to read your writing….

  2. K – I’d be happy to take some boys clothing off your hands! F needs size 18-24 mo. Just let me know! I HATE doing laundry. When do you think Ramsey will be old enough to help? 🙂

  3. Pare down. Yes. Good plan. I’ve done that with my own wardrobe, but still seem to think that Sam needs 3 pairs of cords, 4 pairs of jeans in various colors, and 3 pairs of khakis.

    As far as laundry day goes, my new best friend is Saturday. Charles is home, we are all hanging out around the house usually- great day to be cleaning, folding, and putting it all away. It’s so great to start the week with everything already put away. If I do laundry during the week, the inevitable happens, just like you mention- the piling up, the clean, folded stuff back in the basket because I can’t open drawers during nap time, etc.
    I make an exception for sheets- they get washed on Wednesdays. Everything else happens on the weekend. We even bought more skivvies so we could make it the entire week without me having to do laundry.

  4. Brilliant idea! I find that we have way too many clothes and by paring down the kids are that much happier too. It’s so much easier to have just a few “fancy clothes” and maybe 5-7 regular outfits for preschool or playing. Plus, 3 months after having my 3rd, I only have 1 pair of jeans that fit, so I’m doing my part:)

    I’m now following you!

  5. It’s so nice to know that I’m not alone in this struggle. I tend to wash/dry a couple of loads per day, but then they sit in baskets and when I do get around to folding the clothes in those baskets (2 days/week or so), then they sit folded in the basket for another day or two. It’s ridiculous really, but I always feel like I have better things to do.

    I like the idea of getting rid of excess clothes, but I have to admit, that is SO hard for me. I hate waste and I feel like if I paid money for clothes, they should wear them, whether they like them or not. Just because I feel that way, though, doesn’t mean I’ll have any impact on them, so I should just give up the battle…I guess.

    • yes, it is probably that much easier for me to purge the kids’ clothes when the majority of them are hand-me-downs. i could see another level of struggle if i had just shelled out good money for X shirt that was not getting worn much.

      but persevere! how nice would it be to NOT have a constant basket or two of clothes, lingering over your head? right? right?

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