There are few things filthier than a dude’s hamper.
Everything inside is smelly and sticky and dirty and foul.
And real talk, I hate, hate, hate doing it.
It’s not the grossness factor though. Nearly 13 years in the Dude Mom-ing game and I’m all good with the nasty. It’s not the poor quality, it’s the sheer quantity that I hate. If I had to make a list of things I could live without ever doing again, things I would pay someone to take off my hands, laundry would be at the top of that list. Even after toilet scrubbing, even after bunk bed sheet changing, even after cleaning out the drain in the shower, gag.
Laundry is my archenemy.
I’m Batman, Laundry is the Joker. Or, I’m Superman, Laundry is Lex Lurther. Or, I’m Solange, Laundry is Jay-Z (okay, probably switch that because Laundry is winning, basically always).
Point is, I hate it. It haunts me. And, I want it dead.
But I’ve faced the fact that this dream will never come true.
To deal, I’ve invested countless hours in thinking of ways to make it less deadly and more manageable. I succeed like 62% of the time. The rest I spend under it, trying to claw my way out.
Simplify Your Mom Game: How to do Laundry (aka Guerilla Laundry Tactics for Moms with Dirty Kids)
1. Stay on top of it. I did away with “laundry day” like 10 years ago. Having to dedicate a full 12 hour stint to the cleaning, folding, and putting away of clothing depressed me. So, instead, I have a rotating laundry schedule. Undies one day. Whites another. And uniforms, I wash them like every other day it seems. I do some sort of laundry basically every single day. Small spurts, that’s what I like.
2. Sort, sort, sort. I have a very developed sorting system before, during, and after washing. I make my kids sort it as they discard it (note, this really only works about half the time, with the aid of precision screaming on my part). Then, I wash by clothing type (underthings together, socks together, basketball shorts together, so on and so forth). After washing, I sort them straight out of the dryer into baskets by room (Dude 1 clothing in a basket, Dudes 2 & 3 share, and DudeDad and I are separate because his clothes are all big and stuff). This way, if I never fold them (yes, this is a realistic possibility) at least I can kick slide a basket into someone’s room and yell, “GET CLEAN CHONIES ON NOOOOOOW!”
3. Deal with the socks. In a house full of male humans you have an issue with socks. You just do. They have a million of them and most of them look alike. We’ve instituted a sock differentiation program: Dude 1 wears white, Dude 2 wears black (and usually these ridiculously long, brightly colored basketball socks), and Dude 3 wears fancy. This helps. Also, I have a sock sorting thingy (woot, Ikea) with four separate baskets where the Dudes go to obtain clean, possibly folded, socks. It’s literally the best thing I’ve ever purchased. Ever. (see it in photo above)
4. Create a staging area. We used to have this really cumbersome cabinet on the wall in our laundry room. I ripped it out and turned it into a window cabinet (happiness)…
Now I have plenty of space to maneuver in the laundry room without cracking my head (SO MANY TIMES) on the stupid cabinet and I try to get most of the sorting, washing, drying, folding done in this area to keep the chaos from spreading around the house. Also, we never let people in our basement where the laundry lives, because, SHAME.
5. Make your kids help. The first chore Dude 1 took over for himself was his laundry. He started doing it at age 10. I cried real tears. Of joy of course. Sure he sometimes wears his socks twice (because he doesn’t always get to his laundry in a timely fashion), and yes, he skips sorting entirely and washes everything, color be damned, together (so he has to wear a pink shirt now and again, hazard of being lazy), but I’m so overjoyed to not have to deal with his dirties that I don’t have it in me to care. I give him I-told-you-so type admonishment from time to time when he realizes 20 minutes before a soccer game that his jersey smells like booty, he ignores me, wears it anyway, and life is good. Dude 2 will start next year, I’m literally counting down the days.