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. )