Tuesday, June 3, 2008


My husband, C, likes to help with the laundry. 

No, I am not making that up... 


OK, maybe likes is a bit of a strong word. "Wants-to-keep-me-from-going-insane-while-trying-to-keep-up-with-housework-and-school-schedules-and-piano-lessons-and-t-ball-practice-and-art-classes-and-Girl-Scout-meetings-all-while-trying-to-give-this-fledgling-writing-career-room-to-grow-and-maybe-even-flourish" is probably more accurate. (I know, this is every working mother's reality. But, I haven't had this reality since Lovely Girl was in diapers, so please bear with me.)

Back to laundry help. C isn't home much during the week, so on weekends he turns into a Laundry Finishing Machine... except when he runs into a speed bump: "Hey, Kim? Is this pile of clothes on the floor by the bed dirty or clean?" You would think the answer to this is obvious. You would be wrong. 

Here's why: I try to at least get the laundry sorted before he gets home, and sometimes I even manage to throw a few loads in the washer, in between revisions. This means sometimes my rough drafts are a bit smudged by splashes from wet towels. This also means that there are anywhere from three to six piles of sorted clothing (a conservative estimate, of course), in various stages of cleanliness, scattered around the house at any given time, depending on where I had to drop them when, for example, I remembered that piano lessons would start in 15 minutes - and the studio is 20 minutes away...

Then, you have to add this wrinkle into the mix: sometimes they're clean, but piled on the floor because I ran out of laundry baskets to transport them. Sometimes they're dirty, but still in a laundry basket because I ran out of time to dump them in the washer. Sometimes they're clean, and in a basket, but I ran out of energy to get them folded. You get the idea.

So, I've taken the time to write up a new Household Laundry System. I'll just type this up, print it out, hand it to C, and everything will be hunky-dory. 

I think.

Household Laundry System*

1. If clothes are in a laundry basket, then they're dirty... umm, well, not that one. Yeah, that one is the exception, see, 'cause it's right by the dryer, which means they're clean, and I got them out of the dryer, but forgot to fold them.

2. If clothes are on the floor in the kids rooms, they're dirty. ...Yeah, Yeah, I'm su- uh, well, they're dirty, unless certain small-type people, being the clothes-horses they are, tried on forty-two different outfits before finding one they were satisfied with this morning. In that case, they're clean, but those same small-type people developed the mysterious "Idonwannafoldit" virus, rendering them completely unable to fold them and put them back in the drawers. A visual inspection for dirt is advisable here.

3. If clothes are in a hamper, they're dirty. Right. No, I'm positive. Ooooohhh. Hmmm. Well, if it's my hamper, then they're definitely dirty. But, if it's a small-type person's hamper, then it could be that they're actually clean, but thrown in there because said small-type person developed a relapse of the mysterious "Idonwannafoldit" virus. Better do a smell check in that case.

4. If clothes are strewn on a couch or other seating surface, they're clean. It's just that I put them there to get them folded, then had to settle a dispute over who trespassed in whose room, then forgot what I was doing, and started to make dinner, instead. BUT, if said clothes belong to a small boy... well, again, better do a smell check.

5. If clothes are piled behind my big, comfy brown chair, they're dirty. Yes. I'm Positive. (See here for documentation, under section "Miraculously Appearing Clothes Pile.")

6. If clothes are sorted by color and type (dryer approved, or line dry only), and piled on my bedroom floor, they're dirty... No, that's it... Right... Yes, I'm sure... Well, if you wanna do another smell check, be my guest... Alright, then...

*System applies to unfolded clothing, only. All folded clothing should be assumed clean. Should you come upon folded clothing, do not do the smell test. Do not ask questions. Take it as a divine miracle, give thanks for the unexpected blessing, plop them in a drawer, and fogeddaboudit.        


  1. Thank Heavens. I have been looking for away to explain my laundry system to my husband, who also tries to help out once in awhile. It usually breaks down into a fight because he just can't understand the perfect system that you and I seem to share. Unfortunately, he can not smell, which means he gets me back with the constant smell test. Like, for example, is this work shirt clean (he's a tradesman)? We have a loveseat that is a permanent mess of unfolded laundry (we hide it in our bedroom when comapny comes over) and we may as well sell the kids' dressers because everything they own is either on their floor, on the way to the wash, stuck on the loveseat or in a laundry basket. I have threatened to order myself a mail order bride. Now the dishes, that's another story.

  2. Hello and thanks for reading about my glam life.
    As for laundry, my husband does his own. Yes he does. Great, right? You decide.
    He scoops up the massive pile of dirty clothes, washes and dries it all in the laundry room, and then dumps it all out in the same spot on the bedroom floor. It's hard to know how to feel about this. Happy he does laundry. Not happy that I have a pile, whether it's clean or dirty.

  3. hmm maybe I should print this out for my hubby. Do you have a rule for sorting out by colour?

  4. Oh, finally, a definitive list of instructions regarding the 'hows' of laundry sorting! LOL!!! This is exactly what happens in our house... I laughed because it was so familiar!

  5. MomZombie - Yeah, any pile is an unhappy thing.

    Amy - Our sort is as simple as possible - whites, darks, and colors. Most times, it all ends up good...

    MommyC - Mail order bride? Now there's something I hadn't considered!

    Sweet Mummy - Fun, isn't it?

  6. An excellent system.

    My husband and I share laundry duties (he's a Mostly-Stay-At-Home-Dad), so what I start he finishes. There is no vice-versa; I rarely finish laundry.

    And my default is DIRTY. That way, I never have to smell it. :)

    -- Laurie @ Foolery


So, what's on your mind?