There’s not just ‘clean’ and ‘dirty.’ There are many subtle levels…

(Man, I’ve gotta learn how to make .gif files! I wanted that line as said by Bill Murray in “Ghostbusters 2” to post here. Couldn’t even find a YouTube video of that scene.)

I’m not a fan of washing clothes after wearing them once. 

Don’t get me wrong…. underwear and socks, obvi. But most clothes are not dirty or smelly at the end of the day. You can wear them a total of twice before they go in the hamper. Pants maybe get spared once or twice more. Jeans manufacturers recommend you wash their product as seldom as possible, even going so far as to suggest that you stick ’em in the freezer if they do get smelly. I’m not going that far. I don’t want icy pants.

I guess what bugs me is that, since I live in an apartment complex, I do not have in-home access to laundry facilities. There’s a laundry room on the other side of the complex, and since the Polar Express ahem, Vortex showed up, as well as the ALL THE SNOW, I am quite reluctant to leave the warmth and traction of my home for the snow and ice outside. But children were concerned, and they complain so seldom that I had to heed the call. (We doled out new chores at the beginning of the year; Pint Size Genius took responsibility for watching the hampers to make sure none of them got too full.)

So I made sure I sorted out what I had to wash– which is easy, since I have the boys sort their own clothes with a 3-section hamper– and bagged it up to take down to the laundry room. There aren’t a whole lot of options once I’m there: hot, cold, warm; normal, permanent press, delicate. I do appreciate that they switched to a swipe-card system so that I don’t have to go to the laundromat for quarters just to leave and wash clothes elsewhere. All the wash cycles are about a half-hour, the dryer always a full hour. That means it takes about 2 hours to do wash, including the time it takes to walk or drive back and forth from the apartment to the laundry room. 

Three loads I washed and dried. I dragged them all back to my place. I folded shirts and paired up socks. (Aside: is it a ‘mom thing’ to know what clothes go together? The Hubs insists that he cannot remember for the life of him what goes with what.) I stacked the clean clothes, sorted by kid, onto Pint Size Genius’ bed. And then I thought to myself, “Self– I’d better check out a drawer or two to make sure there aren’t dirty clothes in there.” So I went into a dresser (I’ll protect the identity of the kid whose dresser I opened). The T-shirt drawer was full of balled-up shirts (well… I guess that’s one way to indicate which shirts you wore, kid…). 

But when I picked up a shirt to re-fold it, I found stains on it. Why did you think it was clean enough to put back in the drawer, kid???? So I looked through all the shirts. Only three needed to go in the hamper. That wasn’t so bad. Then I found the underwear on the floor. The kids were most vocally complaining about a short supply of underwear. How am I going to keep you in underwear if you don’t put them in the right place to be collected and washed?!?! 

*le sigh* Where did I go wrong?

It’s an uphill climb, really. It took a long time to get them putting any clothes in the hamper. I felt like I won the lottery when they started putting dark clothes with dark and light clothes with light in their own sections of the hamper. So I guess it’s really not that bad.

The kids have been home quite a bit since Winter took a huge dump–of snow– in our area. The Regulator informed me that they would all stay in their pajamas to save me a little laundry. Kinda sweet, right?



Hey, there’s a thought….

Here’s to keeping it clean, folks.


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