If you live in a house with other people and are the primary Home Science Specialist, then you’ve experienced this never-ending conundrum.
Our family needs clean clothes. But somehow they don’t clean themselves. Someone has to hunt and gather the dirty laundry, put it in the washer and dryer, fold it and put it away.
It is the bane of my existence
Like the dishes, laundry is one of those laborsome household chores that I dread and procrastinate doing until I’ve run out of underwear and start wondering if I can’t squeeze in to those hidden “reserve” pull-ups of my daughter’s.
It just feels like I can’t get caught up. Once the clean clothes get put away, it’s already started to pile up again. And my kids plow through clothes like Imelda Marcos did shoes. Some days are a three- or four-outfit-changes kind of day as my kids’ wardrobe evolves with their imagination (or distracted dietary habits).
With no end in sight, I sometimes fantasize about all of us joining a nudist colony and shunning clothes all together. But, you know how I feel about being naked. It’s not on the top of my list.
This year, my daughter started attending private school with my son. Which means two sets of clothes for both kids.
Uniforms are a godsend in a way. There’s zero hassle or fighting in the morning about what everyone is wearing. The school had decided it for them, and for that I’m eternally grateful.
The bad thing about uniforms is that they kinda need to look clean and pressed. And I don’t pony up the cash for the nicely made stuff. I hunker down at Old Navy and outfit their closets with cheaply made cotton blends, because inevitably, in two weeks my kids will start using their shirts as napkins.
But cheap clothes also mean more work. They wrinkle so badly even after a spin in the dryer that it makes a Sharpei look smooth.
In an effort to avoid having my kids show up to school looking homeless, I feel an intense need to iron their uniform clothes. My own clothes? Nope, don’t even bother to check if they’re 100% clean half the time.
But for the kids, I find myself sweating over an ironing board, smoothing out teeny tiny shorts and polo shirts and skorts, wondering how clothes so small can get so kinky.
Sometimes I wish I could just do away with laundry all together.
One time my family spent a long weekend in a condo in the mountains of Breckenridge. As part of the rental agreement, we had to make sure the joint was clean and trash was taken out when we departed. Leave No Trace!
The morning of our check-out, we packed up our things, dumping our stinky, dirty laundry in to a trash bag for easy deposit in to the laundry room when we got home. We also ran through the condo emptying out all of the trash cans, flushing toilets and turning off the lights.
We schlepped all of our belongings down to the car, threw our trash in to the industrial dumpster and hit the road.
It was only once we got home and unloaded the car that we realized something.
Where was the bag of dirty clothes?
Yep, you guessed it. We’d accidentally thrown away our dirty laundry in to the hotel dumpster.
Quickly my mind started assessing the damage.
Ugh, there goes my son’s favorite Superman t-shirt. And my daughter’s favorite dress that makes her look so cute I want to vomit. And my underwear! My best underwear, the kind that don’t give me a wedgie! What about my husband’s favorite shorts, were they in there, too?
A quick call to the hotel staff would leave us right back at square one. No one was volunteering to dive in and fish it out for us. Imagine that!
So, sure, we were down a few beloved garments. But guess what?
I didn’t have to do any laundry when we got home.
Guess that’s one way to solve the laundry problem.