I give! The laundry wins!

I give up. I’m conceding defeat.

After months of waging war against my laundry, I am finally ready to throw in the towel. Literally.

I feel like the dirty clothes in this house dominate my life. They stack up in piles. They beg to be washed. In fact, they stink.

I used to have somewhat of a grip on the laundry around here. Back when the kids were in preschool, I would set aside one day a week to do nothing but laundry. No playdates. No errands. Just laundry.

But as our family grew, it was no longer possible to do all of our laundry in one day. It wasn’t physically possible for our washer and dryer to complete all of the loads in a 12-hour time period. And I wasn’t willing to stay up all night.

So, I switched to the one-load-a-day method. Every day, I would wash, dry, fold and put away one load of laundry. The only problem was when I would miss one day. I would start to feel behind. I would skip another day. Soon, I was so buried in being behind, I would start to feel hopeless. Then, I would have to go back to Plan A.

That’s when we went to the system of giving each person in the house one day a week to do his or her laundry. The oldest child was on Monday. The second on Tuesday. The third born on Wednesday. Then, the baby on Thursday (me), Me on Friday (me), my husband on Saturday and the towels on Sunday (me). I can’t even remember what happened to this system. I think I just got tired of trying to remind people whose day it was and trying to nag everyone to get their load done to make room for someone else.

Over the summer, I simple gave up on the laundry. I watched it grow in tall piles and topple over the tops of the brown baskets that indicate the laundry is dirty. Children begged to be able to wear clean underwear. The boys’ socks got so smelly I had to throw them away.

My husband tried to intervene even though I have fired him from laundry dozens of times. He CLAIMED that clean laundry — even when it’s in the wrong drawers and not folded up to my folding specifications — is better than dirty laundry. Oh, he’s always got some clever argument and practical reasoning. I still wasn’t buying it.

I kept telling him he was fired. He would smile. And then the minute I left the house for more than two hours, I would come home to find him folding laundry.

As summer turned to fall, our laundry woes have only grown. I have tried to do a load here and there. But between home schooling, chasing a toddler, working a part-time job, cooking meals, cleaning the house and driving people from place to place, I simply don’t have an extra 12 hours a day to devote to laundry. I just refused to do it. I would look the other way. Ignore it. Maybe it would go away on its own.

Well, I’m finally conceding defeat. We just can’t live anymore in a house piled up with dirty clothes. I’m completely out of laundry strategies. So, I’m just going to take it slow and steady. One load at a time.

If you don’t see me for a few days, please don’t be alarmed. I will be washing. Drying. Folding. Putting away. And as soon as I get done with all of the clothes, I know there will be plenty more waiting for me. I’m devoting my life to laundry.

I’m going to get started right now. As soon as I finish this blog post. And help the kids with their school work. And make lunch. And clean up the kitchen. And put the toddler down for her nap. Yep. I’m going to get to it right after that. Unless something else comes up.

What about you? Are you on top of your laundry? Or feeling a little defeated?



  1. See, I feel like YOU are the norm, and I am the weirdo. I do laundry about once a week – a load of lights & a load or 2 of darks – and all my friends are like, "HOW can do you so little?" I don't know! Are our closets way fuller than the average fam? (I don't think so.) It could also be that I am the anti-cleaner & anti-germaphobe, so if it smells fine & doesn't have any stains, I'm not washing it, yet. I also don't wash towels & sheets weekly. Oh, and I don't fold ANYTHING. All our clothes are on hangers…but I also often just lay the kids' in flat piles on the floor & grab from there, as I still help them get dressed each morning.

  2. OK… I am in complete amazement that you do so little laundry! However, it probably does have a lot to do with the fact that your kids are younger.When they get older, they take more control over what they wear and how often they change clothes. I have one kid who changes several times a day and throws everything in the dirty laundry, even if it's barely been worn! I don't have time to sort through it all, so in the wash it goes! I have another kid who barely produces ANY laundry in a week! I have to tell him to PLEASE change clothes!I'm not a clean freak by any means. I'm horrible about washing the sheets. But with six people bathing on a regular basis, we do go through a TON of towels.

  3. You had perfect timing with your post! I have been on top of it for a while, and now, I, uh, have no idea what happened.Oh, yes, I do. This summer, I had a problem where if I didn't immediately get the clothes in the dryer, I had to take chances they would be mildewy. Whenever I went the lazy route, yes, they were mildewy even after drying them. I felt like I was doing one load 5 times. And I already make the older kids do their own laundry!I have to tell you, the mildewy smell on clothes really offends my nose. Really. To the point where I obviously can't wear that, but neither can anyone who will get close to my nose during any part of the day.Yuck. Ugh.I was just thinking I should get started on some laundry. And now I got roped into reading this. And now I am encouraged to do it, yet feel defeated and deflated about it all the same.When are they going to invent biodegradable, disposable clothes that cost less than it would to wash an item in the washer and dry it in the dryer?

  4. We also started the plan in which our oldest child did her laundry on Monday, etc. We, too, got off our scheduled days, but they still do their own whenever they realize that they have no clothes–like today when Jimmy did his school in PJs until his laundry was done at noon. So, even though our timing isn't perfect,I have no plans to take on their laundry again! Especially since I now have two more kids!

  5. Oh, Sarah… there is NOTHING worse than the mildew smell. It makes me want to throw up!! And I have done that too many times to count! I am right there with you in washing the same load of clothes three times!

  6. OK, Karyn… that is just a little TOO awe-inspiring that in seven weeks you have trained your newly adopted children to do their own laundry?!?!? Are you Wonder Woman??? WAY TO GO! You are a complete rock star in my book!!(Of course, now I feel even worse that I still haven't washed one thread of clothing today!)

  7. I had the advantage that the boys don't know any different–I actually started them doing their own laundry (just like their sisters) on week #1 so they've never known it any other way in their new home. Shhh!! Don't ruin my secret by telling them that some American moms do ALL the laundry!! BTW, I don't consider this being Wonder Woman. I spell it l.a.z.y. mom! I also taught them early on how to empty the dishwasher, and wipe off a toilet seat 😉

  8. P.S.Keep in mind that our house is for sale so I have a stronger incentive to keep a clean house than usual. Although keeping a clean house is a royal pain for this non-clean freak (sometimes I envy people with OCDs!), it has been good to start the boys out with good habits from the get go.

  9. Karyn, it's funny that the boys just think ALL American kids do their own laundry! That's great! I can't believe you have managed to keep everything up to the standard of having your house on the market with everything else that has happened in your life! That is amazing!!

  10. Yeah… I'm thinking my kids need to go to Karyn's house… Hi Karyn… don't know you, but I love the way you think! Right on, as usual, Emily! I love the statement, "I now devote my life to laundry." The sad, but real truth. I did recently find a fabulous smelling Tide… and I'm convinced that it is worth the cost to cheer me up when I walk in the laundry room… I think it's "mountain rain" or something… although that makes me think of mildew and mold and moist things… okay, so the name isn't that great, but the smell is heavenly… for the laundry.

  11. Once again, Emily, you made my day! My husband has been fired from doing the laundry many times but this week I wanted to kiss his feet when I came home from a day of errand running after weeks of chaos to find him sitting on the couch streaming "The Office" reruns on Netflix and folding laundry load number 5! He was my hero. It almost made me wish he would get the flu about once a month!

  12. I can relate to laundry woas….however, I actually find laundry easier these days than when I was growing up at Mom and Dad's…I can remember washing, drying and folding 13 loads (without being asked) from Friday evening to Saturday afternoon just so I could go on a bikeride with you and Julie…fortunately Mom would let me (but it usually involved begging!!!…and watching my younger siblings so she could "run her errands" on Saturday morning…)I'm wondering why I don't have kids that willingly (without being asked) do laundry and house work for me like I did for my mom. It's probably because I only had 3 kids compared to her 8 and my kids don't see me quite as overwhelmed as I saw my mom….funny, I think that I'm pretty overwhelmed…. 8)

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