concerning laundry

[edited at lunch: You people are ROCKING. MY. WORLD.]

So, I have this dilemma and I need your help.  It’s about laundry again.  I know.  The never-ending saga.  Growing up, Mom did the laundry on Saturdays.  We helped get it there, sort, etc., but Mom did the laundry.  She also folded the laundry and then put it on her bed in stacks.  Each person was responsible for clearing their stack by bedtime.  Period.

I am the Chief Laundry Do-er at TexasNorth.  Others in this household are aware of laundry, know where the machines are, and are periodically helpful in the process… but laundry falls under my umbrella.  I realize I may have lost some of you already.  S’ok.  I recently found out that a great and responsible friend of mine, also a stay-at-home mom, does her own laundry but no one else’s.  It’s just how it works in their house.  It cracks me up, but that’s how it works.  It’s like each house is its own planet.     

SO:  my dilemma.  It appears to be two-fold (HA!). 

1.  I hate turning clothes right-side out.  I get into a groove folding and just do not want to stop to flip every other t-shirt out correctly.  So, they get folded the way the come out of the machine.  Even mine.  There are no favorites in this house.

2.  I get tired.  By the time I get the laundry folded, I just want to leave it in pretty stacks and let others deal with their own closet of doom organizational system.

Confession:  I have a bit of a problem with *ahem* underachievement and am coming to terms with this.  (This will be discussed again on Monday: U is for underachievment.)  I want to be a good person. If it’s my job then I want to do it right.  Am I silly or within the realm of normal?  I wonder what life is like on your planet.  Give me a little perspective.  I’ll even let you be anonymous, but feel free to come clean in the comments 🙂


About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), 1 barn cat, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

35 responses to “concerning laundry

  • Cathy

    I do all the laundry but Dave knows how to do the laundry but I’d rather just do it myself. I have my own system of doing it and it works for me. In regards to your friend doing hers and only hers, I would think you would waste water/laundry detergent. If I just washed my clothes, I would not have enough for a full load.

  • Jim

    Before SO retired we each did our own, SO did household cause……now SO does all (till I retire). Then I must put away cause who can understand a guys organizational plan….not even he most days…it works but I feel guilty.

  • Amy

    i do a load of laundry or two a day. I don’t sort, and everything (except cleaning towels and diapers) are washed in cold water (to save energy). I **sort of** fold clothes, and put mine and the kids away(but Walker is learning the art of putting away his clothes). Tommy has a basket beside of his closet and his clothes go there. That way, they are not in my way, they look fairly neat, and he can do whatever he wants with them. Our dirty laundry basket is in the laundry room, so everything is already always in there and I can see when I need to do loads. Laundry is a pain, eh?

  • Andi

    I am laughing my pants off this morning. I have this EXACT problem. I have asked that the shirts be turned but alas it doesn’t happen. I have tried to lay down the law and tell him that the way it comes out is the way it gets folded…he said ok. Not exactly the reaction I was looking for. So I caved, they get turned but due to the extra effort being exerted in aformetioned turning they will sit in the basket until I need the basket again for dirty laundry. Pathetic, right?

  • priscyesser

    I used to do all the laundry. Sometimes Jimmy Leg would help out too. This always meant my clothes ended up getting ruined (shrunk). So he is not allowed to launder anything mine. As the girls became teenagers, the same thing occurred. Only now I was shrinking their clothes! So it’s a fend for yourself deal in our house (except for linens which I do).

    as for the inside out thing…not having clothes folded properly and hanging in the right direction (facing left) drives me NUTS!

  • Kristen Moore

    I am terrible at laundry, so I highly value this discussion. I bake, I can goods, I bring home grown tomatoes to our elderly neighbor. So from the outside, it looks like I have my act together. But one look at the laundry, and you see my achilles heel. I wash it, I dry it, and then I hoist to to our bedroom where it sits waiting to be folded. Ideally, I fold it that evening and get it put away immediately (this means I sneak into the kids’ rooms and put it away in the closet while they sleep).
    What happens fairly often is that I keep forgetting/denying/procrastnating that the laundry needs folding and then we have 6 baskets that need folding. So then, drum roll please. . . . . . Paul and I rent a movie, and use our bed to fold laundry. At the end of the movie, we put it all away and then we go to bed at . . . . 1 am.
    This is obviously not ideal.
    I have considered hiring someone to do our laundry. But then, it would most likely mean we would never be able to afford to go out to dinner. . . .
    There you have it. You are not alone. I hate laundry.

  • Nancy

    Um. no little kiddo’s in this household. I do all the laundry, folding, putting away for hubby and I and household items. (I am a stickler on changing sheets every Monday!) We have a 17 yo that knows how to do his laundry, but I will do it if he carries it downstairs to the laundry room. I refill his laundry hamper with clean, folded items but refuse to carry it back upstairs…and I don’t dare go into his room and put anything away…It’s scary in there… BTW..he also cleans his own bathroom. He was taught to do that at age 11 and has done it ever since, although he still hasn’t figured out that he needs to clean more often than once a month. LOL He does go to school full time and has a part-time job.

  • Amy B.

    I know to do laundry when we are running low on underwear. If hubby neglects to warn me that he’s low in the underwear dept, he may be on his own getting a load on to wash – but other than that, I do the laundry.

    But I’m awful on follow through – loads will sit in the washer and dryer for days (of course, that means I sometimes have to re-wash stinky clothes that sat in the washer too long – oops!). And then they sit in the laundry basket for days too (3-4 loads piled in it right now). Whenever I do finally get around to folding, I do leave my husband’s out for him to put away. As the gentleman above said, who can understand a man’s organization system?

    How about having the taller people in the house turning the shirts right side out as soon as they take them off, before dropping them into the laundry basket?

    Can’t wait to read about your underachievement. I’m a classic underachiever and frankly, it doesn’t really bother me – most days…

  • Mandi

    I do all the washing/drying–not because I’m the only one who knows how, but because I like it done the way I do it better. When everything is clean and dry and piled up in my closet, I sort the kids clothes out into their baskets and take them upstairs. Ruth puts all of her own laundry away, and Weston puts away everything that goes in a drawer–he hasn’t quite gotten the hang of hangers yet. These clothes are NOT always folded the way I would fold them (or folded at all) and they don’t always look neat, but I think it’s important for the kids to take part in the process, so I let them do it to the best of their abilities. The big kids also sometimes help with putting away Max’s things, though I do it most of the time. (Max tries to help too, but his part usually has to be redone). I put away all of Jeff’s and my clothes, steaming the hanging items first. I turn everything right-side-out except socks. I don’t know why. I have neutral feelings on laundry. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it. It’s just something that needs to be done. But, I will say that I appreciate the way laundry works here so much better than I did in Brazil, and that little piece of perspective helps.

  • Amy L

    The current arrangement in our house was not always as it is today but with 5 dirty people to wash up after changes happened some time after family member 5 entered our life…plus I had recently read “The Five Love Languages ” and identified my love choice as household duties.

    The Man takes care of the laundry. He may shrink my clothes, or may run the dryer longer than needed, but I say not a word. He works on it Sundays and by Wednesday one of us with the help of the little ones will put away the clothes. There are weeks though that folded or unfolded laundry may sit in a basket until Friday – one of the items that is low on my priority list.

  • elly

    OK girl…… lots of laundry at my house…. Macy just started to do her own. Praise Jesus! (and that goes all the way down to the basement… imagine how long that could sit in a pile upstairs…)

    I have found that if I throw in a load every day or every other day, it seems less overwhelming and I can complete ALL the steps pretty easily. ie: i don’t tire out…

    When I leave it for the once a week adventure…. UGH! it extends the process out until it’s time to do it again.

    The other trick I do…. is do the kiddos laundry separate from the adults. Then when I fold it, I fold it in the girls room… and don’t stack it at all… just fold and put right into the closet of doom. Of course I do have to bring Boo’s over to him room, but that’s just one!

    Same thing witht the adults… fold it in my room and put it right away. Pandora becomes my besty during laundry time.

    There you go… hope it helps. xo

  • janna

    I’m sure you’ve heard this story, KT…we once had a repairman out who needed the dryer turned on and he and Aron stood and stared at it for a good 10 minutes before they figured it out. No ‘on’ button, they said. Needless to say, I have full laundry duties here. However, I couldn’t vote in your last poll because I didn’t fit in any of the categories. So my answer: I put everyones laundry away eventually. Maybe that day. Maybe the next.. Sometimes I shop out of the basket, too. 🙂

  • Miss Laura

    In our house, it is the socks that are the inside-out issue, not the shirts. My DH sorts his laundry correctly, and we have an understanding that his t-shirts are to be washed in cold water and never, ever to be put in the dryer (after many traumatic circumstances and tears and guilt involving shrunken JoshShirts). But for the LOVE of all things sacred, he pulls his socks off in a way that results in them being inside-out, then folds them together (as one would do to put them in the drawer, and throws them in the basket like that. And feels it’s appropriate to wash them paired together in such a way, as he believes this will reduce the likelihood of sock orphans at the end of the day. I separate the pairs for the wash, and am determined to not turn them right side out when they come out of the dryer, but I can be a bit OCD about it and I don’t always stick to my guns.

    I’m often very bad at folding, so things sit in baskets, get insanely wrinkly, and get the sniff test after a week or two because I can’t remember if it’s clean. *sigh*

  • lisahudson

    Laundry used to be one of my favorite things in the world to do: when it was just my own and no one elses. See…I can be trusted to turn all my clothes right side out before I launder. Other people in this house, both taller and shorter, can not!!!!! I truly do not understand why this concept is so difficult to grasp!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ok, I guess I can see if you’re four years old. But what about the taller, 42 year old person. Shouldn’t he, also, be aware of this laundry code of conduct????? Why am I the only person in this house who GETS it???????

    As you can see from the profuse number of question marks and exclamation points, this is a very, very, very, very touchy subject. I am now going to go sit somewhere quiet and get ahold of myself. 🙂

  • AmyD

    I do not fold or put away his stuff. He won’t let me. I usually fold and put away my own stuff. Sometimes he does it for me (but not undergarments). I sometimes I fold and put away our wee one’s stuff. Usually he (the mr.) does it. And even if I do it, he comes behind me and straightens up the drawer because I didn’t put it away neatly enough. And I am very happy with this arrangement. My husband is a detail oriented neat freak. I am a creative mess. We balance each other well. I am SO LUCKY, I know!

  • Christina

    I do laundry with my “helpers”. It takes longer but they are learning to pull their weight on household duties. Madeline drags a laundry bag of kids clothes down 2 flights of stairs to the basement. I drag a huge bag of adult clothes. Load 1 is kid clothes with their free&clear detergent. Load 2 is adult darks. Load 3 is adult whites. Everything goes in cold water except towels and sheets which get bleached all in one load and I do that whole shootin’ match by myself.. My washer says it can do a load of 18 large bath towels at once so I assume that means stuffing it pretty full. Anyway, the 3 year old puts in laundry and soapy (I fill the cup up) in and after I set the buttons she pushes start. When its time to switch, Madeline puts clothes into dryer while I do the next load into the wash. For the end, Luke pulls stuff out of dyer into a basket, Madeline changes from wash to dryer, and I put in next load to washer. Basket goes upstairs with kids clothes and I fold their clothes. Madeline puts her clothes away (her drawers are picture labeled). I put away Luke’s clothes. We repeat the Luke empyting cycle, Madeline switching until all is done. Adult clothes get folded at nap/night while I watch something lame and cheesy and I put my laundry away. The Man’s stuff goes into a basket and stays there on the side of the bed (that I can’t see) until he needs them or throws them all over the bed looking for something.

    I don’t check pockets which explains all the food, rocks, and sticks that get washed. I dont’ fold underwear–anyones. I don’t match men’s dress socks. My kids only wear white socks. Oh, I put Luke’s socks in a lingerie bag labled with his name and the same for Madeline. I hate matching kid sock sizes. I only wash what is in the laundry basket.

    I only do laundry one day a week. This used to work. But now my helper is in preschool.

  • Jtp

    I do the laundry, and the folding, but HATE to put it away! hate, hate, hate it! I also hate if Chad starts to put his away before I’m 100% finished. I want to look at the piles and feel accomplished. I do think baby William will be doing his own laundry as soon as he can…he already goes to the dryer when I say “time for laundry, where’s the laundry?” sooo cute…if only he could put it away for me!!!!

  • wende

    I do the laundry for everyone but the kiddo. He’s almost 13 and has been doing his own (with prompting) since he was 10. His future wife will thank me. His bank account already does.

    As for my laundry and Iz’s because HE shrinks things. Not just any things, MY things. So, he’s not permitted in the laundry room. And when he wanders that direction, I have spidey sence and I start shrieking, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM?” It’s not pretty.

    BUT. He does all the cooking, so it’s a more than a fair trade.

    I wash, fold, but I do not put away his things. Mr. Picky always unfolds my work to put it away, so I mostly fold to keep out the wrinkles. Because, despite his “it must all line up just so” fetish the boy refuses to iron.

    Did I mention I hate wrinkles?

    There is no point in my putting in drawers since when I do, he has spidey sense and starts growling, “WHY ARE YOU PUTTING MY CLOTHES AWAY??”

    As for you. You are a PREGNANT mother of a small child. YOU should be sitting on the couch reading Fashionable Cow Rancher and eating bon bons.

    Weird. I have no desire to go blog on my own blog now. Hmmm.

  • MomM

    Do not spoil the boy. I did not turn his socks, underwear, shirts, etc. right-side-out for at least 23 years. NEVER!! If he wants to wear his clothes inside-out, his choice.

  • texasnorth

    Well, I know how to do laundry. I learned in College many things the hard way like don’t put a brand new red bath towel in with the whites, even if you use cold water…I didn’t mind doing it then, it was a nice break from school. It was also nice when I came home and my mom did it. That was great.

    I don’t mind doing the laundry, I’d do it if I have to and I do it when I have to. But, for the most part I don’t do it. The time I spend playing with Rylie when I get home from work before she goes to bed, feeding cows, building poarches, making our farm a farm generally fills the time that I would spend doing laundry or making dinner, or whatever. If I didn’t do any of those other things, then I’d probably do the laundry. So, it is nice that I don’t have to do it….and I don’t mind if it comes back clean inside out.

    Thats all….Jim…are you there with me? Maybe your the only one.

    Kates tall person in the family.

  • Lou Kuhn

    Our laundry usually gets done when there is no more room left in the hamper for more dirty clothes. I will usually shove as many articles in as possible to avoid the task. Jeff and I both do the laundry equally. Actually he might do it a little more often than me. There is no sorting involved. All of the clothes are dumped on the sofa afterward and we both fold. Each person is responsible for putting away their own clothes which sometimes takes a few days. This system might need some modification after the baby is born.

  • texasnorth

    Nah, Curt. I hear you. This is your wife, by the way. I know you’d do it if it just worked that way. I just like to hear how life works on other planets. And, you have to admit, the examples are stunning.

    But laundry sucks.

    And I don’t have any idea what your last sentence means.

  • texasnorth

    [Kate again]
    Ok, so Curt clarified (maybe) the last sentence of his comment. He says I am the tallest inthe family. (This is untrue.) He says, “Kate, that was your humor… the ‘tall people’ do the laundry.”

    We have communication counseling on the calendar, don’t worry.

  • Jim

    Curt I’m with you all though with guilt. But back in the plan when I retire…. unless something better calls…..And where the other guys that I know read this.

    And I do believe Kate that laundry “sucks”.

  • Danny

    Our dirty clothes ares stored together in a giant walk in closet on the floor. We each fend for ourselves for washing, but the clothes get back together once they’re clean. For now our clean clothes pile is in the guest room on an air mattress. We iron as we go. It works for now unless you’re in a hurry to find something specific.
    Don’t tell mom.

  • Lia

    As a single-ton I do laundry when I run out of black socks for work.
    As far as the inside-out shirt thing.. my mother drilled it into us that we should never, ever I mean E-V-E-RRRR put shirts in the laundry inside out. Of course, I learned the hard way because she flat out stopped washing inside-out clothes.
    So, needless to say.. I am cured of inside-out shirts. Now.. if I can just stop having the same problem with socks life would be great.
    I love Tide. It smells good. Bring your laundry over. I will fold it for you. I heart folding shirts exactly perfect so that they have 2 perfect creases in them when you get around to wearing them.

  • Julie

    My sis-in-law let me in on her “never-turning-anything right-side-out” rule. I leave shirts inside out and I do not put the hubby’s clothes away. He usually just keeps a stack on a chair in our room, which is OK with me.

    I am so with you on the underachiever bit. can’t wait for the post. I do believe I will relate. I am a serious half-asser in so many ways.

  • Grammie

    Mom already knows .

  • Heather

    Yes. Amen. Laundry sucks. And it sometimes sucks the life out of me! Is it crazy that it makes me want to spin and dance when I hear my hubby throw a batch in? Add a cherry on top of the ice cream if he adds soap, tosses in a little scoop of oxi-clean and doesn’t even ask how to turn the machine on! yeah!

    Back up–I spent the first, oh, 3 or 4 years–make that 7 or 8–married years leaving his crumpled socks crumpled. How hard is it to take a sock of straight? Even through the dryer. I thought I was punishing him with damp socks. Not really clean or dry… nah. It was just messing with me. He could care less! So now I try. And so does he. Especially when he’s been in Indonesia for 2 weeks and has to leave again in a couple days. God bless ‘im. I’m trying. But I suck at laundry. Fortunately my kids don’t seem to care. 🙂 Love, H

  • Kathy

    Does laundry ever end? Can there be a day where no dirty clothes are added to the pile? It never fails the day I think I am caught up the man of the house washes the car and dirties a bunch of “rags” when drying. This in turn creates more laundry. The inside out thing doesn’t bother me too much, unless it is socks. I despise matching socks. I typically have a laundry basket that contains only socks. If everything else ends up clean and put away I may start the pairing process. If I wait long enough others do it. I do all of the washing, drying and folding though. I am a bit picky about that. When it comes to putting stuff away it is up to everyone to do their own. I am fairly good about bringing things to the appropriate room in the house, but stacks can sit on the floor for a very long time without it bothering me a bit. Until I can’t find something I really want to wear.

  • Margie

    Although I’m the laundry queen of the house, I don’t put it away the second it comes out of the dryer. Impossible! My method is to wash and dry it, then pull the Stuff That Might Need An Iron If It Sits In The Dryer Too Long out right away (like shirts – they’re shaken and laid on the bed). Later, I’ll hang or fold them when I can. The clothes in the dryer stay there ’til I get to them – sometimes for days. The system works for me. Keeps the piles small and manageable and doesn’t overwhelm me. When overwhelmed, I tend to walk away.

  • Mary Carol Phillips

    Call me crazy, but I consider laundry one of my favorite household chores. I always put it first on my to do list because if there is laundry going, I know I’m getting something done.

    I’m also weird in that I fold the laundry into the basket as I’m taking it out of the dryer. My mom didn’t do this. I don’t know where it came from, but I HATE it when the clothes get cold and wrinkly before they get folded. I usually turn them right-side-out, but sometimes I do get lazy.

    Kate, I love your mom’s method. That’s pretty much my method. I put everything folded on our bed in piles based on drawers (no little ones here till March), but I think when kids are old enough, taking a pile and putting it away isn’t too much to ask….how’s that for my planet?

  • Kristen Moore

    wait, just to make you feel even better, i have sent my kid to preschool with no underwear on because it was all dirty.
    i am baaaaaaaaad.

  • Stephanie

    Jeremy is not allowed to touch Cohen’s clothes or my clothes but he is expected to wash his own about 75% of the time. He will also wash towels on occasion. I am a super freak about putting away/ hanging up clothes when they are HOT out of the dryer. I hate ironing!

  • Heather

    Kristen Moore… I love you. Our kids can go to school together anytime. And Mary Carol Phillips… would you like to come over sometime? There’s a whole basement laundry room waiting for you. 🙂

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