Randomness About Laundry

I was reading this article about how kids these days don’t know how to wash their own clothes. It got me thinking a lot about laundry, and my own laundry history. I decided to impart my thoughts onto you so you could see how truly important it is that I go back to work and get my mind functioning at a higher capacity for awhile.

First – I will now make it known to the world that when I went off to my first year of college – to live in a dorm with no car – my Dad sent me away with many things. A word processor, clothes, books, toiletries, and a yellow legal pad piece of paper with instructions about how to do my laundry/work a washing machine.

I don’t think I had ever even touched a washing machine before I left for college. My Dad did all of the laundry and never bitched about it. Not that I remember, anyway. At least he didn’t bitch about it like I do. Which is like this: I am finally caught up on the laundry so we’re all going everywhere naked for a few days so I can savor it!

LilZ has done laundry before, but not because I make him do it. It has mainly happened where there was something specific he needed clean. He knows better than to say something like, “Hey – Woman – Wash this now!” So, instead? He just asks if he can do it himself. And I let him. Our washing machine is old and easy so I don’t even know if I had to even teach him. I guess this means he won’t be getting the traditional Yellow Legal Page of Paper instructions like I did.

Also – LilZ grew up very familiar with laundromats. We spent several years without a washer/dryer so we would go to various laundromats in town. We had them ranked in order of which ones we preferred (Him: The one with the park. Me: The one with cable.) but often had to use the one we hated (The one with the employee who smelled like dirty cat litter.) when our favorites were full. It’s an experience he remembers and therefore probably has a healthy appreciation for both his clean clothes, and the ability for them to be clean in our own home. He remarked one day that a friend of his mentioned that he had never been to a laundromat – and that they seemed cool.

LilZ set him straight.

Either way – I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a kid that doesn’t know how to wash his own clothes. I mean – I don’t think it scarred me or anything. I grew into quite the successful laundry maid, thank you VERY much. I only turn loads of white clothes pink a few times a month now. And I only shrink things at the most – twice a month. That’s good, right?

34 thoughts on “Randomness About Laundry”

  1. My husband still does his own laundry because I refuse to sort clothing into colors or fabrics or whatever. That’s right! I wash JEANS and TOWELS and UNDERWEAR together.

    Somewhere in central Florida my mother just got the shivers and doesn’t know why…

  2. Wait. Is there a reason why you should NOT wash those things together? For the record I have TWO groupings: Those that I need to bleach (socks/undershirts) and then EVERYTHING ELSE. That’s my only separation. EVERYTHING ELSE is washed in cold though, does that help?

  3. Age 9 is when my kids learned how to do their own laundry. It became one of their chores and they received $5 a week for making sure it was done. When the Boy turned 13 he wanted to earn more allowance so he took on the laundering of all the towels. Well worth an extra $5 a week IMHO. His girlfriend (of 2 years) is a very happy woman that he is self sufficient (he can also cook really well).

  4. See, my mom was the sort that wouldn’t let anyone near her washing machine. Not that it’s fancy. Last I saw, it was the same one she had when I was 10. So I didn’t do laundry until I went off to school, much like you. However, no one gave me instructions either.

    This could be why I think sorting is an entirely optional exercise and when under the wire EVERYTHING goes in. I toss a Shout “Color Catcher” in if I am at all fearful about colors bleeding and just do the whole shebang on cold with plenty of detergent. I have no idea if this is the right thing to do or not.

    Interestingly enough, doing cloth diapers I am MUCH more particular and things actually get washed PROPERLY. Go figure.

    And Harry has done his own laundry simply because, like LilZ, he knows better than to say, “Wash this, woman!” Of course, I’m not sure if I was the best one to teach him laundry techniques. Hmm.

  5. See – I don’t mind laundry. I don’t like putting it AWAY – so everyone does that themselves. But – I don’t mind actually doing it. I’d much rather LilZ be in charge of recycling and feeding the animals. For some reason I HATE those chores.

  6. My toddler loves our washer and dryer. It’s a front load, so you can watch it go ’round and ’round… he loves it.
    He also comes downstairs with me when we put a load in, so he can push the button to start it. Too cute!

    My mom always did our laundry, so I didn’t ever do my own until I went to college. And even then I came home (it wasn’t far) to do it at her house.

    I have several sorting levels-whites, darks, bright/delicates, and the toddler clothes go all together. My mom had always used fabric softener sheets, so I discovered the glory that is liquid fabric softener when I had my own machine with the special holder. That stuff makes your clothes smell great!!

  7. When my now 17-year old went off to glider camp somewhere in Alabama a few years ago, the only time he called home in ten days was to ask how to do a load of laundry.

    I also enjoy doing laundry. I do not enjoy putting it away. My younger son puts his away on top of his bureau.

  8. My mom made us do the laundry as soon as we could read. She put the instructions up for each load – lights, darks, towels, whites – right next to the washer.

    After we shrank some of her clothes she went back to doing her own stuff. Dad said we never did the laundry fast enough so he started doing his own stuff. Then it ended up all 5 of us were doing our own laundry. If we went to the washer or dryer and there was something in it and we didn’t see the person right there, we just threw it in a laundry basket.

    That lead to a lot of soured clothes. I’m not sure that’s the best way to do laundry, but it worked.

    I no longer do the laundry in our house. I don’t finish it fast enough, so dh does all the laundry. I think weeman would love to do it himself, but he’s too little to reach the top of the machine. I should look into a step stool for that.

  9. I didn’t learn how to do laundry until my senior year of high school, so that I could go off and do it in college. I still don’t do much sorting. Just mostly things that must go in the delicate cycle (work pants and some nicer sweaters/shirts), and things that can go in warm water and the hot dryer (towels, gym clothes, sweats). Everything else just gets washed in the regular cycle on cold and then dried in the low temp setting in the dryer (things tend to shrink on me even when they shouldn’t). I don’t separate by color or anything like that… although I don’t really own much that’s white anyway and I never bleach what I do own.

    I’m the same as you though… the doing laundry doesn’t bother me, the putting away does. Which is why my clean laundry just goes back and forth from basket (at night) to bed (so I can find what I want) and rarely gets put away until its half empty again.

  10. I never did my own laundry growing up. Ever. I helped put it away, but that was it. I remember after I got married (barely 20 years old then) thinking “oh crap, I hope I do this right.” But that was one thing my mom never let me do – now I’m wondering why. I’ll have to ask her. She did let me iron sometimes though, when I was older. Now that’s something I hate, and I don’t even know where my iron is. Downy wrinkle release and the ‘remove wrinkle’ setting on my dryer are my best friends.

    Anyway, one day I will show my kids how to do laundry. I love the idea that someone else posted about the best $5 ever spent. Fantastic.

    I can wash and dry all day, but dread the folding & putting away. Most days I save that for the adult TV time at night, so I can look sadly at DH when I set the basket down to fold while I watch TV. 9 times out of 10 he will help me out. Sucker!!! Ha,ha.

  11. I’ve been washing my own clothes since I was 9. I separate into darks, whites/lights, towels, and sheets/linens. I like doing laundry, but also don’t like putting it away. My solution is to not put it away. 🙂

    I wouldn’t wash underwear and towels together because the underwear might get lint balls. You can do jeans and towels and not have that problems, but I don’t because the jeans usually need cold water and the towels usually hot/warm.

  12. oh boy — laundry is never ending… the naked thing is a great idea!
    when i met my husband i was taking my laundry to the wash/dry/fold lady at the laundromat… needless to say – he taught me what i know about laundry (and many other domestic tasks)
    We do not sort – only the towels separate, umm sometimes… most of the clothes these day can wash and dry with no bad outcomes. if it says “dry clean only” it stays in the closet!

    love your blog!

  13. Okay, I’m glad I read the comments because otherwise I think I would have thought you were batsh*t crazy. I do laundry for everyone NOW, but I kind of think kids should do their own laundry. I didn’t learn it that way, but my friends who did seem so well adjusted. I think it’s the laundry that did it. Well, probably not, but still. But I would be willing to do the laundry forever if everyone put away their own. Since two of my kids are far too small to put away their own clothes, I would settle for my husband putting his somewhere other than on a chair in the bedroom.

  14. I didn’t do my laundry until I went to college either. And I don’t separate clothes. I do usually do a load of just towels because they take longer to dry.

  15. Pstt I happen to think Laundromats are cool, but to me they are portals to another time. Often Uk Coin laundrys are often heritage sites to the era of orange and brown formica and sometimes if your lucky a plastic potted plant ( cable shmabel – who needs it when there are peoples to watch 🙂

    But yeh for Lil Z to be able to do his own laundry.

    I was doing my own and lending a hand with the family ironing pile by the time I was 15. I had a older sister who was in the same situation as you, but she started training me in domesticity from a young age helping with my nephews. For the record I don’t iron now, I don’t have clothes or work in a job where I need to look wrinkle fre and my husband has discovered the dry cleaners over the road for his shirts. Heck I’m not sure we have an iron ?

  16. As someone who was an RA in college and walked many a student to the laundry room to check out a “broken” washing machine only to stand there, look at the 18 year old “adult” and then look back at the machine and close the lid — thus causing the machine to start running water — I think you’re obviously raising a gifted child.

    That said, I started doing my laundry when I was 10, I’d also do my mom’s if she had them in the hamper and I was doing a load and she would do the same for me. I have 3 color piles (white, light, dark). I think the best part is putting it all away — I always feel totally accomplished. “Everything I own is clean right now. I can wear ANYTHING I want… that fits.”

  17. I didn’t know how to do my own laundry when I went to college either! I see nothing wrong with not knowing. I still have my husband (mostly) convinced that I don’t know how to use the dishwasher — so I occasionally load it incorrectly “accidentally” — if only I could have made that one work for laundry, too! Even more impressed with LilZ for knowing how 🙂

  18. My Mom started teaching my sister and I in middle school. We learned to cook, clean, and do laundry so we would be prepared to go off on our own. I can’t tell you how many people I taught to do laundry in the first few weeks of college. I do mine and my daughters(7) laundry and sort into light, dark, jeans, towels/sheets. My husband does his own and he sorts into whites, shirts/sleep pants, and jeans.

  19. My parents have four daughters, so as soon as we were tall enough to put stuff in the washer and turn the knobs, we were doing laundry (when we weren’t milking cows, picking rocks in the field or mowing the acres of grass). I think as long as your kids are doing some sort of chore then not doing laundry isn’t a big deal. I take issue with the kids who do nothing and their parents do it all. So says the childless reader! But I know LilZ helps out a lot, especially with the little ones.

  20. I am extremely anal when it comes to washing clothes. I have learned my lessons. Somehow when others do my laundries, they always ended up ruining at least one piece. No one has washed my clothes since my mom ruined my first big bucks dress. Except the time I had surgery, but I had to write down specific instructions for hubby to follow.
    Both my kids, 3 and 8 like to help out during laundry. I let them put clothes into the washer and turn it on.

  21. My son, now 13, has been doing his own laundry for years. I do the wash for my husband and I, and towels and sheets for everyone. I separate into white/lights, darks, sheets and towels. I only started to separate out sheets and towels when we got a front loader and discovered that I could wash towels on the antibacterial setting and not have musty towels half way through the week. BTW, I also iron at least once a week and don’t mind folding and putting away clothes. However, cleaning out the fridge, I refuse to do that!

  22. I’ll never forget washing my own clothes for the first time. I too was away at college. And decided to save some quarters by washing everything at once. Including my shoes.

    Everything still fit when I was done, and my shoes didn’t stink.

    And nothing mysteriously changed colors . . .

  23. My mom did laundry for awhile. Then it turned into I would fold then my sister put away. Or vice versa. Pretty soon? My mom told us if we wanted clean clothes? We would have to do it ourselves. I have been doing my own laundry for YEARS now. I don’t mind actually doing laundry, however I really hate folding clothes. Putting away? I can handle. Folding, I hate. I rarely iron. Yet I ironed a lot in a just a few weeks ago for other people and I liked it. But for myself? Don’t do it. Weird.

  24. I know all about laundry.. but i hate doing it! I dont sort anything. I just chuck it all in and put it on cold wash. But sometimes i MIGHT seperate the towels from the clothes. But ONLY if i have to do two loads anyway.

    The fluffies annoy me. They are ALWAYS there. Even if i dont wash towels.

  25. I know all about laundry.. but i hate doing it! I dont sort anything. I just chuck it all in and put it on cold wash. But sometimes i MIGHT seperate the towels from the clothes. But ONLY if i have to do two loads anyway.

    The fluffies annoy me. They are ALWAYS there. Even if i don’t wash towels. Go figure.

  26. I was shown how to do my own laundry the same day I told my mother how she needed to wash my black jeans so that they stayed black. I also have only 2 piles: the it needs bleach pile and the everything else pile.

  27. I was in the same situation zoot – it was finally my husband who taught me to do laundry properly, with the sorting, the bleaching, the treating, all of it.

    Funnily enough, now that we’ve been married for 3 years he seems to have forgotten what it is to sort. The other day I came home and he had tossed a dry-clean-only suit into the wash! Luckily I rescued it before it hit the dryer…

    Meh. At least he was doing laundry… that of itself gets a big gold star from me!

  28. I’ve just been thinking it’s about time my boys learn to do their own laundry. However, they can’t even pick up their Legos off the floor yet, so this might be more than they can handle. I hate laundry too and the worst part about it is that there is always laundry to do. Even when you fold and put away the last clean article of clothing someone comes home and sheds their clothes and suddenly the hamper is full again. It’s aggravating for those of us who like to check tasks off on our list…laundry can never be “checked off”.

  29. If you can believe this, my 11 year old daughter is currently doing the laundry for the entire family. No, I don’t have her chained in the basement to the washer, she is doing this b/c she says she wants to!

    If we go into the laundry room to start laundry, she runs in ahead of us and says, “wait, mom, I want to do it!” Strange, I know. I’m just hoping she doesn’t get sick of it any time soon!! Wishful thinking.

  30. well i do my own laundry here at home too i have a front load washer so its easy too do it in fast too at least it beats goin too a laundromat too do the laundry

  31. My Mom had a rule in the house that when you turned 13 you were taught how to do your laundry. So that’s what I grew up with, but my Fiance who will be 29 has never done his own laundry because they have a housekeeper.

  32. I’m right there with Adrienne, my kids had to start doing their own laundry at 9 years old. We only have one kidlet left at home and I never even see her laundry, it’s fantastic!

  33. With Mum working full time, and a single parent, I did a fair bit of laundry when I was a teen. It was sort of whoever got to it, whoever wanted something clean, and heaven help you if you whined about wanting something 😉

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