Sunday, November 17, 2013

Laundry Epiphany

I know, I know.  I disappear for weeks on end, and I owe you so many stories, and I come back and I write about laundry?  Laundry?!


You see, in my epic failures with everything lately, I have made one life-saving, life-changing discovery.  And it has to do with laundry.  And as pitiful as that is, it makes me happy and I am running with it!

Because as you know, I'm not keeping up very well with anything these days, laundry most certainly included.

Earlier this school year, I had Epiphany Numero Uno:  A school uniform hamper.  After school, all uniform-related stuff (tights, pants, skirts, socks, shirts, gym pants, sweaters, whatever) goes into one hamper, separate from the "regular" hamper.  (Undies can land wherever, but the rest goes in one bin or the other.)  Then, if I decide to take the week off from laundry, or if I don't get to it until Sunday night, I have one load -- one load -- that must get done, and that's it.  One load, no regard for colors, brights, whites, etc.  One load, some Tide and a Shout Color Catcher, and I am ready for the week.  I can manage putting away one load of laundry, especially when I can bribe myself with the fact that one entire outfit for each kid can get set out on the ironing board to be worn on Monday.  At least twenty percent of that one load of laundry doesn't even have to get put away?!  WIN!

That system has been working like a champ.

And then -- then, my friends, I had Epiphany Numero Two-o.

This one requires a little background.

You see, I long ago gave up on trying to stay on top of laundry during the week.  First of all, our evenings are way too short, and by the time I have time to deal with laundry, I want to go to bed.  Since I wake up at 5:15 every morning and seem to get a headache a day lately, I'm pretty adamant that if I'm tired, I go to bed (well, within reason).  Second of all, it's too much, and it is not efficient to do half-loads of colors, darks, lights, whites, towels each night, which means by default that I wait for some magical threshold of laundry accumulation ... and the result is that laundry time is the weekendThe trouble is that I don't always make it to laundry day on the weekend, and when I don't do laundry frequently enough, I end up with piles you can climb with a sherpa.  That happens a lot, and in Georgia it would mean that I folded laundry while I did marathon tv sessions in the afternoon while WHM napped, or while my sister Courtney and I watched Dexter on Sunday nights.  I don't have that luxury anymore, so something had to give.

Let me explain one more thing: the hard part for me is not "doing laundry," per se.  I am really good at sorting and washing -- except for the occasional last load I forget to rotate from washer to dryer and end up re-washing two days later.  I consider doing the laundry to be something I can have running in the background while I do other stuff.  I have no trouble any day of the week having a load going while I cook, clean, do homework, whatever.  Truly, I am pretty darn good at barreling through the laundry piles.  The trouble comes with folding, because not only do I despise it, and not only do I do it alone, but it takes so. much. time.  And so if I've let it all accumulate enough to where I find myself doing laundry during the week, the folding doesn't happen and I get that sherpa-worthy pile. 

OKay, okay.  You get it.  So what, Jen?

Yes, yes, yes.  My Epiphany.

Sheesh -- I've built it up so much now I'm sure it's anti-climactic.  Oh well.  Here goes:  I alternate what I wash based on speediness of folding!  I know it sounds ridiculous.  And yet, this little (likely obvious) gimmick has changed my life.  I do a load of tedious whites and socks and nonsense, and I follow that with an easy-to-fold load of towels.  I follow that with lights or colors or what-have-you -- a load of laundry with lots of sorting and folding --  and then follow that with sheets.  In short, I'm never still folding one outrageous load when the other comes out of the dryer ... and the alternating two-seconds-worth-of-towel-folding make it feel like I'm making serious progress.

Now you know.

And not just about my laundry epiphany, but about how my life is so sad that this is what excites me!



  1. Awesome. I have the same problem with laundry in that the washing and drying are easy and the folding-putting away takes forever. Even spreading it out over the course of a week doesn't make it easier with 6 people. I like your idea of alternating hard with easy. I will often do the boys clothes together and then the girls clothes right after and then I have two huge baskets of stuff to put away! I will now spread that out! Thank you!

  2. I think hell is comprised of mismatched laundered socks that need to be sorted. I am 100% with you on this! More mornings than not are spent rifling through piles of clean clothes that I have yet to fold & sort. I applaud your wisdom!