When Abundance causes Murmuring and Grumbling

We were sitting in a pizza joint – the moms and I. Kids were playing like gerbils in the structure that was glassed in so tightly that we only heard the sloshing of our own diet cokes and giggles. There was a string of conversation going on at the corner of the table.

Grumbling. Murmuring. Questions asked in that Mom way of complaining about a task more than asking for help or prayer or a work party.  That’s when the bold one spoke up. Loud enough to stop the salad crunching sounds, murmuring, and giggles.

“Ya know. When we were overseas on missions work . . . and the ladies gathered around . . . they never complained about the laundry. They just never did.”

That was it. She didn’t go forward. No one knew if we swallowed if she would miss hearing the how/what/why.

After  moment she continued. “The families in those impoverished towns have nothing to complain about when it comes to laundry. They all have two sets of clothes. One for washing, one for wearing. When we came back to the states, I wanted my children to have a feeling of abundance, so we upped the count to three.”

Yep. You know what came next – But I have Girls, But my boys like shirts, but my husband works, but I Love Clothes, but but but but but.

Quietly –she acknowledged – that if we like clothes so much – we should equally enjoy the upkeep of washing and caring for them, more than the shopping for them.

This said in the midst of the well to do crowd, as much as the bargain hunter crowd, in a town that was built around the merchandising industries.

The tables sort of split, those who wanted to hear gathered around my friend, and those who wanted to laugh at us, kept hackling and sipping their third bottomless cup of diet coke.

Her advice – that we have taken –

Cut your clothes into threes. Three tops, pants, shorts. The laundry will never pile up. If you purchase a new shirt, one needs to be donated, given away, passed down. I went home that day and purged the drawers – and have been able to maintain our laundry with a load a day – or 3 large loads one day a week – ever since. No more Laundry Monster.

Her second tip – is to get rid of dressers. Use Egg Crate type storage, each child having their own slot. (she has several children). Each child has a color – and a washable bubble marking pen.  When new socks come into the house, their color dot goes on the sock. The color is on their bin.  T-Shirts get a dot on the tag. All other types of clothing has a dot where the family knows to look. Even the youngest member of the family can sort clothes by color dot, and that particular child is responsible for folding and putting their pile in their cubby.

We only have two boys, so we are not in need of a color system. We did take another’s advice to only purchase one type of sock. We get a plain white sock, that fits the entire family, and they all get matched up and put into one bucket. I do have a few cute socks for me, that I’m responsible for, but other than that, the basket has all white and black socks, same brand, same size.  Again – that works for us, as our boys have huge feet, and so do I. When they were younger, I think it was Haines that color codes the toes of their socks for size. We would make sure to just purchase the one brand that had the green name at the end for Jon’s smaller size.

Each morning – I check the laundry baskets on the way to the coffee pot. If there is a full load, I turn the laundry one direction. Clothes in the wash, or Wash to the dryer, or Dryer to the fold. The laundry is one spot that the boys do not help a lot with. I have asked them to move the laundry one step, especially if it is wet to dry so they do not stale in the washer.

The joy of never facing the laundry giant. The Joy of not having over crammed dressers. We are blessed to have several really high quality wood dressers. The boys use one drawer for their clothes and the other drawers for their collections. No shirts sticking out.

What area of your home do you have that the abundance causes you to murmur and complain?

(I thank you AnneMarie – should you ever read this blog – your boldness changed our  home, my days, my attitude, and my never ending moldy stained laundry pile. )

This article was written
to be submitted to
At The Christian  Home Volume 17

About +Angie Wright

The Transparent Thoughts of an Unschooling Family of Boys - Answering the question - What DO you DO all day?
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12 Responses to When Abundance causes Murmuring and Grumbling

  1. I have a friend back in Ohio that did the radical cut back on clothing in her house. With 8 kids and 2 adults in a small house, they had little choice. The ones at home had only 3 outfits, but the teen aged daughter attending high school had more. I know I would have been hard pressed to only have 3 outfits in high school!

    I’m doing more purging here as the abundance takes away the joy as the stuff begin to own you. Honestly, it is more about regaining control of the house than anything else. If only I could take the same approach towards my homeschool stuff…

  2. Julieanne says:

    I agree with Barb. We have SO much to be thankful for! When I hear moms say that they can’t afford to stay home with their children and homeschool them…AND they have the huge cell phone/cable bills, eat out constantly and somehow still spend $500-$600 on groceries even though only prepare about 5 meals at home per week due to kids eating school breakfasts and lunches, and they travel on vacation all the time, I don’t feel their pain. I pity them, but I don’t feel sorry for them. They’ve made their choices on how to spend their cash or credit cards.

    Now for moms who have been dealt a very hard life financially or in marriage, my heart goes out to those gals. They need all of the support and encouragement they can get!

    But you’re so correct. In a week or so, I plan to go through our craft supplies and do a major purging. There’s so much that we don’t have time to use, and it just spills over the shelves in our master bedroom, making it unattractive. We have cut down on the clothes, too. I took my oldest clothes shopping today because she only had a couple of t-shirts and a couple of pairs of pants and 2 pairs of shorts, and she didn’t have any skirts or dresses or nicer blouses (the source of our years of hand-me-downs doesn’t work out for us anymore). But we only picked out 2 dresses, 1 skirt, and 3-4 tops – and that’s all she’ll have to wear this summer. She’s totally fine with that, knowing how much clothes cost even on big sales like today’s Memorial Day sales, and buying non-name brand clothes. I’m thankful that she’s not a “clothes horse” and that she doesn’t feel like she needs to have tons of things hanging in her closet to be a “whole” person!

    The family from which we used to get hand-me-downs, which we are very thankful for, would literally buy 20 dresses, 30 tops, 20-25 pairs of jeans, 20 pairs of shorts, 5-7 night clothes, all in the same size, because the mom hated to do laundry (she worked outside of the home) and she hired someone to come wash their clothes 1-2 times per month. She felt like she needed to order/buy enough clothes in the same size to last her daughter 3-4 weeks. We would sort through them, keep about 1/4 of them, and give away the other 3/4ths of clothes. It was still too many clothes for us, so my girls are actually thankful that we don’t get all those many huge black bags of clothes anymore! 🙂


  3. Kristen says:

    Wow. That is a radical idea. I do like to keep our wardrobes small, but not that small.

  4. Julianne says:

    wow! what a testament to gratitude! It makes me feel foolish for having so much. I have for the past year or so, when the attitude of complaining creeps up while doing laundry, to instead thank the Lord for all the clothes He’s blessed us with.
    Thank you for the wonderful post!

  5. Loretta says:

    Great post with much food for thought. And it could apply to anything – clothes, games, toys, dishes (already mentioned), books – a heart that grumbles about blessings isn’t truly grateful.

  6. deanna says:

    Hi! Sweet Spring blessings to you!

    Enjoyed reading your post.
    Lots of great ideas in this to simplify daily upkeep with young children. Mommas that are full time stay at home mommas have busy, busy lives. Most mommas have busy busy lives! Even mommas that have grown children can benefit from tips and ideas to simplify life and chores.

    We are so blessed to be able to get clothing either from creating them or friends/families, stores and thrift shops, give aways, etc in our america. Abundance is there…Awesome place to live, America!

    I bought about a dozen brand new little girl outfits that were marked down at the store for $1 a piece. These will go to a ministry. The bargains are for sharing and giving to others. This abundance available in the market place are a blessing!!!

    God bless,

  7. Pingback: Taming Clutter « Wonder in the Woods

  8. Very interesting perspective. We have pared down a TON of our “stuff”. Toys, furniture, dishes. Never thought about the clothing. I am going to have to seriously think about this. How does your hubby handle work clothes?

    • pebblekeeper says:

      He has quite a few shirts – enough to last a week at least. He has to wear button down, tie, and slacks each day. I think he has 7-8 shirts. I iron 2 a day and keep the cycle going.

  9. Blossom says:

    That. Is. Brilliant.
    Can’t say that I have gotten so far as to limit my clothes (I actually don’t mind doing laundry) but have done so with my dishes! One step at a time.
    All that we have we should be grateful for and if we aren’t then we have to much.
    Thanks for sharing!

  10. Thank you, my friend, for your wise advise. We are moving temporarily into my best friend’s house until our house sells. We will have to go to the Laundry mat then and we need to limit our possessions drasticly. I was thinking that it would be best if we cut down on clothes. This gives me the confidence to do so. We already do the bin method and buy only white socks. The colored dots are a good idea. Thank you for this post.

  11. Great post…I so love your friend and her attitude. I just had a long talk (including tears) with my husband this morning about all the younger moms I have been associated with this year (30ish moms). I am so sad for them and their $300 cell phone bills, their designer dyed hair, and their need for eating out all the time. I am so sad for their children and the way their needs are never at the top or near the top of the list for parent’s attention. I cry their tears that they don’t even know they should be shedding.

    I have long had the same attitude towards laundry and other “things” in our lives that your friend shared with you and you now embrace. NOTHING is more important than gathering your family around and in your mismatched, slightly worn jeans and shirts and having a good laugh. I try to keep my balance and your post just affirms that I am not as alone in my thinking as I felt a few hours ago when my husband was telling me that there was nothing wrong with me and that I have a true mother’s heart for all children.

    I may even speak up at our next gathering, gently reminding them by my example that there is another way to live your life. There is joy in each task we do for our family…we just need to look for it.

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