Loathing Laundry? 4 Reasons We Love to Hate Laundry

This is really the post for Day 26…I was busy yesterday enjoying family time and then felt crappy last night so I ditched writing and went to bed early. Real life happens. Thanks for understanding!

LaundryLaundry has been a hot topic on the Professional Organizers forum I’m a member of lately. And, many moms would list laundry as one of their top three home organizing challenges. It can seem impossible to keep up with the endless cycle of mounds of dirty laundry, folding and putting it away. And it’s only compounded by the need to manage incoming and outgoing clothing for growing children. And, don’t they always happen to need that thing that’s at the very bottom of the pile of folded clothing?

There is {or needs to be} a cycle or flow to the laundry: wear, collect, wash, dry, fold, put away, repeat. If there is a bottleneck at any one {or more than one} point in the cycle it will cause everything to get backed up. I believe that there are four major causes to a bottleneck in the laundry cycle:

  1. Volume of clothing
  2. Process too complex or broken
  3. Insufficient manpower
  4. Laundry Loathing

By addressing these problems, most people can make things operate much more smoothly. Maybe you’ll never love doing the laundry but it won’t make you want to pull your hair out.

Volume– The sheer amount of clothing in the average household is the number one contributor to laundry woes. Now, of course, if you have a family of 8 with 6 growing children, you will always have a larger volume of laundry to do. Most households, however, have plenty of room for improvement and don’t even realize just how much they own. According to Pareto’s Principle, most people only wear 20% of the clothing they own.

Process too complex or broken– So what’s so complex about putting laundry in a hamper, bringing it to the laundry room, putting it in the washing machine, turning the washing machine on, etc.? None of the steps are inherently complex… but what if you are tripping over laundry and can barely reach the detergent? Or what if you need to carry three laundry baskets overflowing with laundry down two flights of steps? What if you first need to scour every corner of the house to collect all of the dirty clothing, socks and underwear carelessly tossed on the floor by your loving family? A broken process can be where one step just isn’t getting done. Maybe it’s a dryer that doesn’t dry well or no place to hang items to dry, etc. All of those things can make a seemingly simple task, well, a real chore.

Insufficient manpower– I’m a believer that the family is a unit and everyone needs to contribute to making it run smoothly {especially if they have no problem to contributing to the mess}. If mom is busy taking care of everyone’s needs and responsibilities she may have run out of time or energy to do the laundry, as well. Even very young children can contribute here. And, if you start teaching them at a young age, there will be less fuss about doing it as they grow. My two year old certainly doesn’t help fold the laundry but I do enlist him to help with things like:

  • putting dirty clothes in his laundry basket as appropriate
  • placing folded laundry in drawers and on shelves
  • loading and running the washer/dryer {he loves to press the buttons!}

Additionally, I ask him to “help” mommy fold the laundry and he shakes things out and busies himself. Young children can help by sorting & rolling socks, underwear, towels, putting laundry away and putting it in the hamper to begin with. I do need to lift him up, wait patiently while he grasps what needs to be done and sometimes have to collect clean items he ran away with. t does add a bit of time to the process but I believe it pays off in spades. By involving him in the process, he knows what is expected of him and he’s learning as we go. I don’t want to spend his first five or ten years telling him not to touch or that he can’t help and then the next ten nagging him to do so.

Laundry loathing– I guess this really relates to a broken process but I thought it deserved its own mention. If you really despise doing the laundry and consider it torture, then maybe it’s best to farm it out. Pay the laundromat, pay a college student or task your kids with doing it in the comfort of your own home. I do think it’s a valuable exercise to go through the first three causes before doing so to avoid simply complicating the process more.

Don’t forget to check back for Part II

Leave a reply

FREE Resource Guide

Define, Design, Do {BE SIMPLE} Quick Reference Card