Recently, I admitted defeat on laundry experiment number 6. I was sad to see it go, but it seemed time to move on.
I AM the Sisyphus of laundry. Wear, wash, fold, repeat, wear, wash, fold, repeat, and somewhere in there my soul dies. To be honest, I am a bit of a petulent asshole, and I hate the fact that when I fold the laundry, everyone else has a towering stack of clothes and I have one teensy, tiny little pile of two or three items. Unlike the other assholes in this family, I am environmentally conscious, and I wear the same thing everyday (to save water). Sometimes, I will wear the same shirt for four or five days including to bed. It's not gross at all because I always smell great. Even when I don't smell great, I smell meaty and sexy. That is a fact.
I don't only hate laundry because I'm lazy. It also stresses me out. It's too self indulgent to run all that water down the drain for the sake of a clean shirt. Then, I feel guilty if I don't use the clothes line in the summer so I have to time the laundry with the daylight. It saves energy to not let the dryer cool between loads so I've lost sleep over that issue as well.
My sisters rock at laundry. I used to live with my sister when her kids were about the ages of my kids, and I never saw any laundry heaped on her dining room table. I never saw a pile of clean laundry grow to epic proportions and then breed with the dirty laundry like mine does. She just skips into a room and folds the laundry like a dainty little fairy. Then, she gives her husband a blow job and a beer. Meanwhile, the dinner is simmering. She really has all the skills I lack. I'm pretty sure my sisters and mother have secret laundry meetings that they don't invite me to. Topic One: Crisp sheets. Topic Two: Good smells. Topic Three: The Benefits of Softener.
I accidentally told my mother that her dirty laundry smells better than my clean laundry. Note to self: Do not say that shit aloud or you will lose your remaining parent to a stress induced heart attack. I thought she was going to hyperventilate.
In a vain attempt to control the huge piles and the mitigate some of the associated stresses, I have attempted a few laundry experiments. Feel free to try any of these for yourself.
Laundry Experiment # 1 in which I used a laundry/housekeeping schedule. That was successful while I had only one kid, the man had his chef whites laundered through work, and we had a diaper service for the cloth diapers. More kids, a different job, and canceling the diaper service relegated LE 1 to failure status.
LE #2 in which I decided to trade in whining for excellence. I spent an entire afternoon reading laundry labels and subdividing and alphabetizing the clothes accordingly. When I heard Sean Penn say that "entertainment is two hookers and an eight ball" I knew that he had clearly never spent a day reading laundry labels. Needless to say, LE2 didn't even make it through the first day. The toddlers ran through my alphabetized piles, and everything got scrunched, trampled, and ruined. Fail.
LE #3-#4 must have been horrible because I have no memory of them.
LE #5 in which I stopped folding all the clothes of everyone who weighs less than 200 pounds. The only reason that I had to fold the big man's clothing is that it was too large to fit in the drawers without folding it. Skipping folding was definitely a time saver.
LE #6 in which the clouds parted, a sunbeam shone down, and an angel handed me this brilliant idea. In LE #6, I restricted everybody to three outfits. I removed forty two bloody shirts from boy one and two's dresser. Trust me, I did not buy those shirts.... Since I usually wear three shirts at any one time, I allowed myself nine shirts/tank tops. Years of Catholic school mean that I can divide any number by three and feel confident that it is the same. (IE. If three gods are actually one god, then nine tank tops are actually only three shirts). The man said something along the lines of, "We didn't have central heating and I had to chop wood everyday when I was a kid. I'm not playing your hippie games." Thus, the man kept his extensive, pretty wardrobe.
LE #6 was, without a doubt, the best LE ever. Of all the LE's I have ever or will ever try, it was the BEST. After a year, I folded to the consumerist BS that wants me to have more than three outfits, and I dug all our old clothes out of storage.
I don't really have a plan now. I'm trying this crazy thing where I just fold the clothes as soon as the dryer stops, but don't tell that to the three loads on the floor next to my bed or the load that is sitting in the dryer.
Question: Gender Roles? Couldn't you just let the man do the laundry?
Once the man did the laundry, and he folded all the clothes into one pile without respect to their destination. It was a total (well folded) mess; his boxers were on top of baby shirts, kid shorts were sandwiched between my underpants. It was a nightmare, but I learned something. I learned that screaming and yelling and calling him a hopeless idiot moron d-bag was not the correct way to respond. Thus, in a lame attempt at apology, I have sentenced myself to a life of doing the laundry alone without his help.