Sunday, August 19, 2007


It's 11 p.m. It has been a long day and I'm exhausted. I stumble up the stairs and into the bedroom.


There, on the bed, is the large pile of clean laundry I dumped there half a day earlier. Do I quickly sort and fold it? Nah, I'll do it later, so I push it all back into the laundry basket and set it aside so that I can collapse into bed and go to sleep. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Of all the household chores, I'd have to say that laundry is one of those that really gets to me. I don't hate it, certainly not as much as I hate other chores. But every day we here in Jenworld create dirty laundry and almost every day I do a load of whites or darks, which means that laundry has to be sorted, folded, and put away on a regular basis. It falls on me to initiate all this, to make things happen. If not, a six-year-old's favorite purple twirly skirt is not available to wear when she wants it or the eight-year-old doesn't have her most comfortable t-shirts on hand. As for myself, to go without doing laundry means that I'm ultimately reduced to wearing my least favorite clothes. The t-shirts in the colors I'm not as fond of. The khakis with the complicated chastity belt-esque fasteners that make hurried trips to the bathroom an adventure. The bras that are so uncomfortable, they were clearly designed by masochistic men.

So the laundry gets done. Down two flights of stairs to the basement. Back up two flights with the full baskets of clean clothes. Quite the aerobic workout. Everything gets dumped onto the marital bed to be sorted and folded. Day in and day out. It's a chore I'm really quite tired of doing and one that I'll never be free of.

If I ever won the lottery -- that is, if I ever started actually playing lotto and then miraculously won -- I'd give serious consideration to getting a housekeeper just so that she could deal with the damn laundry. I'd make it a greater priority than even cleaning the bathrooms. At least with scuzzy toilets, you can keep the lids down to hide the filth. The mildew doesn't start to appear until at least a week after the last cleaning and I'm pretty sure it would take a while for the mildew to expand, increase, and threaten a coup d'etat of the bathroom. I don't have to clean the bathrooms daily and, when I do eventually charge in there, I'm armed with chemicals that beat the scum back into submission for at least another week.

Laundry, on the other hand, is more insidious. It's quiet. You do the laundry and it takes time before you notice that there are no more towels in the linen closet. That the older girl is out of soccer socks. That the younger girl is out of dresses. Laundry is like ninjas. Stealthy. Quiet. I could wash every single thing in the house, including the dirty socks that Elegant has tossed behind her desk or under her bed, but within twelve hours there would be a new pile of dirty clothes in the basket in the linen closet. But I'd be blithely walking around thinking I was done with laundry for a while.

It's so easy to say, "Okay, when the children take their showers before bedtime, I'll fold laundry then." But the reality is that, at 8:00 at night, the last thing I want to do is deal with the intricacies of folding fitted sheets, sort socks in varying shades of pink, or turn t-shirts right side out.

So I try to get creative. I'll fold sheets while I'm on the phone with a friend. Or, since I work at home, one would think that it would be easy for me to pop upstairs to fold a load of towels. But I often forget. I try to remember, really I do, but I'm also trying to remember the details related to work projects, when I last gave Graceful her Miralax, that I need to swing by the store and pick up more pencil grips for Elegant, that Pete's birthday is in less than two weeks and I haven't finished shopping for him ... the list goes on and on. So in the grand scheme of things, remembering to fold laundry doesn't generally make my top ten of critical tasks to perform RIGHT NOW. It always sneaks up on me and then I'm irritated by the whole thing.

So I'm off to fold the laundry I didn't do yesterday. Alas, I'll also be changing the sheets on the beds, which mean a whole new round of trips to the washer and dryer. Maybe today, for once, I'll make it my goal to just fold everything as soon as the dryer stops. Or not.


Jen (not the Jen) said...

I hate laundry. To the point that the one thing I pay someone else to do is iron - it's fantastic, I drop off a bag on a Friday and on a Wednesday I hand over approximately £12 and I get it all back on hangers. LOVE IT.

But as for sorting laundry, here's what I do. Stuff that needs ironed goes in the ironing bag for my paid minion. Stuff that doesn't even need folded gets dropped in a basket. Stuff that can be folded to get away with not just have to give in and do it when you pull it out.

Then I take the pile and the basket upstairs to the spare bedroom where they sit on the bed till I have three or four piles or someone runs out of possible alternatives. Then I sit on the bed, sort out the folded items into four piles on the carpet then take great joy in throwing/hurtling the nonfolded stuff on top.

Then I put away mine and my sons (as he is 3). My daughter puts away her own (as she is nearly 9). And my husband's get dumped on his side of the bed till he does it. Because I did it once and he could never find anything. *whistles nonchalantly*.

Some of this may help but fundamentally, you'll never beat the laundry.

Lori Anderson Designs said...

I am very, very lucky that my husband does the laundry. And the dishes.