I don’t get how other parents of high-school students do it. Apparently many teenagers do their own laundry. I’m rather territorial about the laundry. OK, I’m obsessive about the laundry. That and the kitchen are my domain, and I like it that way.
Now I’ve got a teenager who wants to wash her own things, and that means we’re bumping heads about whose turn it is to use the appliances.
It also means I’m finding open bags of chocolate chips on top of the dryer. Somebody was having a snack. Fortunately, the snack was located before I turned on the dryer to its usual setting of “Slightly Cooler Than Hell” to make short work of a big load of towels.
I think that if she’d waited just a few more weeks to be so independent, I’d have gotten into the swing of the back-to-school routine and this wouldn’t have been such a difficult transition. As it is, it hasn’t been pretty.
Laundry is one of those chores that we do one way and we stick with it. Even when our system isn’t working well for us, we stubbornly stick to that system.
I freely admit to being a slave to my laundry system, which hasn’t worked well for us since we moved into this house. That was in 1998.
Our old home was compact, with no wasted space, but not much to spare either. The utility closet (big enough for furnace, water heater, washer and dryer and nothing else) was just inside the front door–in the dining room. I had room for one laundry basket on top of the dryer. So laundry got done and delivered to the bedrooms, to be put away. I had no choice–there was nowhere else to put it.
Then we moved to this house, which has a laundry room in the basement. Since I had always folded the laundry right there by my dryer in the old house, I did the same here. But it was so easy to fold the laundry and place it in a laundry basket–one for each family member.
Five laundry baskets take up an awful lot of floor space in the basement.
And by the end of the day, I would forget to hasslenag remind my kids to carry their laundry baskets upstairs and put their clothes away. So they’d go to the basement to look for stuff, and rummage through the baskets, and I’d get annoyed because they had unfolded all the neatly-folded laundry.
It wasn’t working for me. It wasn’t working too well for them, either.
So I tried something different–which, for me, is a big step. The only time I willingly try something different is when I’m cooking. I stepped out of my Laundry (Dis)Comfort Zone. When the dryer was done, I dumped everything into a basket and took it right upstairs. I folded it on my bed and delivered the folded things to everyone else’s beds. Now when they get home from school there is laundry on their beds, to be put away. There are no baskets cluttering up my basement floor, full of tumbled clothes. There is no “Mom, where’s my (insert name of article of clothing here)?” There are no mad rushes to the basement downstairs to find that missing piece of a uniform.
I deliver as I go, and it’s amazing how much better I feel about getting that done. The only thing I need to tweak is what happens to the Lonely Socks, since I’m no longer in the basement to utilize the Lonely Sock Clothesline.
It feels so good to retool a system and have it work out so much better!