Laundry Anxiety

November 30, 2009 at 12:10 pm 58 comments

I don’t know about you all (that’s y’all for my Southern peeps), but I didn’t do much laundry this weekend.

And now, I pay the price. Folding party at my house tonight! It’ll be fun… really.

Doesn’t she look like she’s having fun???

I realized that my anxiety about starting the laundry is two-fold:

  1. The sheer volume. Heavens to Murgatroyd, we dirty a lot of clothes. (By the way, I think I’m gonna name the lady in the photo Murgatroyd.)
  2. Not wanting to start and then find that I missed something.

I suffer more with the second one. I hate when I try to wash every last stitch of dirty laundry in our house, and then, as if from nowhere, a random dirty sock will appear. When that happens, it feels like it was all for naught.

And then, inevitably… the end of the day comes and there will be more dirty clothes, thus confirming the maddening phenomenon that is the laundry.

You know, you hear about postal workers going insane because “The mail never stops.” But I think more wives and moms would be justified to go similarly batty by the same token.

Okay, gotta go start this exercise in futility. I’ve put it off long enough by:

  1. Pondering.
  2. Posting.

So if you’re slogging through piles of laundry today, you’re not alone. And just remember Murgatroyd. She’s having so much FUN!!! (insert insane laughter).

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Entry filed under: Fun, Home.

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58 Comments Add your own

  • 1. LDH  |  November 30, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Laundry is actually one of my favorite chores…I like the fact that dirty bins of clothes become clean bins of clothes without too much effort.

    That said, I wear lots of clothes twice and am only doing laundry for two. Also, becuase we have to use the dollar machines in our building, we can do four loads at a time. The paying is annoying, but four loads of washing and drying takes only 2 hours.

    Reply
    • 2. Molly Piper  |  November 30, 2009 at 2:24 pm

      In our family, I generate the fewest dirty clothes. I’m all about re-wearing.

      But the kids? Not so much.

      Reply
  • 3. cassie  |  November 30, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    gotta agree with LDH- i don’t think laundry is all that bad, specifically because it does itself. there are a lot of other chores i procrastinate more than laundry.

    i don’t think my eyes have ever been as wide as murgatroyd’s when i do laundry, tho. that’s a pretty hilarious picture.

    Reply
  • 4. therigneys  |  November 30, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    There has got to be a way we can make this more fun. Coupon cutting is much more fun when we make a party out of it…I’m thinking we can do this with at least the folding aspect of laundry…what do you think?!

    Reply
  • 5. Jamie Wilson  |  November 30, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    I am doing laundry as week speak…after a week away from home. I also try to wash every bit of laundry in the house on Laundry Monday. I often make my kids take off the clothes they are wearing so I can wash them. The last load I wash is jeans and we will all wear pajama pants from about 3:00 on just so I can wash all the jeans.

    Reply
    • 6. Molly Piper  |  November 30, 2009 at 2:24 pm

      This is a very smart idea!!!

      Reply
  • 7. carissa  |  November 30, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    i often think about how washers and dryers changed people’s (okay, sadly, mostly women’s) lives forever, and try to be thankful instead of wondering why we don’t have automatic clothes folders yet.

    Reply
    • 8. Molly Piper  |  November 30, 2009 at 2:25 pm

      True, true… perspective is always good/needed.

      Reply
    • 9. Karen  |  November 30, 2009 at 8:48 pm

      We may have machines that make the work easier but all that has done is make us do more work.
      I don’t think I spend less time than my grandmother doing laundry. Back in the day kids wore the same clothes all week to school and changed into work clothes for doing chores, again worn all week. Sunday outfits, which were taken off as soon as you were home from church, were hung up for the following week without being washed. If I don’t do laundry every day I am dealing with a laundry mountain and it never ends!

      Reply
  • 10. Dorothy  |  November 30, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    Those leftover pieces? That’s seed laundry for the next weeks work! Shall I bring mine over to mix in with yours for the folding party? 12 people + mom didn’t touch the washer since Wednesday last week = I have more than enough to share!
    Hugs –

    Reply
    • 11. jennapants  |  November 30, 2009 at 5:11 pm

      SEED LAUNDRY?! that’s hilarious.

      Reply
  • 12. Kim  |  November 30, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Funny, I recently read a book in which the theme is that prayer is a lot like laundry, in that we have to give up on “getting it all done” at once and commit to finding that last sock. That this is actually a gift in that it brings us back once again to what we have decided is important.

    Since I decided to cloth diaper, this is brought home to me every other day. I don’t regret the time I spend washing dirty diapers.

    Here’s the book:

    Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy, and “Women’s Work”

    Reply
  • 13. Christine  |  November 30, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    The washing I don’t mind so much…the folding and putting away are where I fall down HARD!

    Reply
    • 14. Molly Piper  |  November 30, 2009 at 2:25 pm

      Exactly why it’s so daunting. Because you might get through all the washing and drying. But then there’s the folding and putting away.

      Laundry is seriously a 4-step process!

      Reply
  • 15. Nikki  |  November 30, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    Ugh, I hate laundry too. My problem is that after years of simply throwing the dirty laundry down the laundry shoot straight into the laundry area, we recently placed hampers in each bedroom. While there is much to love about the hamper system, I keep getting thrown off because I’ll see the laundry area is clean and think “yay, no laundry!”, only to later discover that the hampers are full to overflowing and suddenly I am way behind again. My other problem is getting the laundry put AWAY. I can get it folded neatly and put into baskets…where somehow they stay for a long, long time. And then finally when I get it all put away, the process begins AGAIN. And socks…lonely socks…I could write an essay on these….oy.
    (oh, and Murgatroyd looks freaked out of her mind! Insane laughter indeed!)

    Reply
    • 16. Molly Piper  |  November 30, 2009 at 2:26 pm

      I’m really bad at putting away. Really bad.

      Reply
  • 17. Denita  |  November 30, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Margie Troyd: The Mad Washerwoman 🙂

    Laundry is my least favorite chore, too! Especially with a fastidious seven-year-old boy who despises wearing the same article of clothing twice, and an 11 1/2 month-old daughter who thinks it’s fun to chew on her shirt sleeves and get them sopping wet with drool. Bleagh! I probably look like Ms. Troyd after a day spent pretreating, washing, hanging, matching up, and folding…and then chasing down an army’s worth of stray socks. ACK!

    Reply
  • 18. crystal bowers  |  November 30, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    do you think part of it is post traumatic stress from that bat you found in your washer once?

    i forget… was it dead or alive??

    Reply
    • 19. Debby  |  December 1, 2009 at 12:27 am

      I will never again complain about birds nesting in my laundry area…a bat?!?! AGH!

      Thanks for the fun post, Molly. I’m totally ready to go postal on my laundry, too 🙂

      Reply
  • 20. Chelsea Bass  |  November 30, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Yeesh. I haven’t done a lick of laundry since last Tuesday. Even with all our re-wearing, it’s getting ugly.

    I think a new front-loading washer/dryer would turn me into Murgatroyd!

    Reply
  • 21. Andrea Tjarks  |  November 30, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    I used to hate laundry too. I prayed really hard for a really long time for God to make me like it, and he has answered my prayers.

    Here are some practical tips that have helped me.

    1) Do only one load a day and put it in the washer while you’re still waking up. It gets done first thing, and one load is so much easier to put away!

    2) Give up the idea of being caught up. Impossible goals are not good for you.

    3) Stop caring about socks. Now that I have, my life is noticeably less stressful. If I find a single, I just wash it and put it in the sock drawer alone. Eventually its partner makes it there. Buying kids socks that are all one color is helpful too.

    4) Everyone in the family is trained to put their clothes, towels, etc in the hamper. It’s has three compartments: darks, lights, and towels/bedding. When one of the sections fill, I wash that load.

    5) Paying my four-year-old to put laundry away has been awesome!

    6) I store all our clothes strategically so they can be put away quickly and easily.

    Hope this can be of help!

    Reply
  • 22. emily weller  |  November 30, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    i am totally with you, molly. i was making my to-do list a minute ago and wrote “do laundry,” but i had to change it to “sort laundry, wash laundry, fold laundry”. it makes me feel better to have three items to check off instead of just one — especially since it will take a good chunk of my day tomorrow!

    good luck, and let us know if calling it a folding “party” actually attracts help. i’d like to use that one sometime 🙂

    Reply
  • 23. Melissa Parnell  |  November 30, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    i am more daunted by the 2nd. there is something so rewarding to think that there is no dirty laundry in my house, and then for it all to come crashing down when I find that missing dirty sock.

    i also re-wear my clothes more than jon or elizabeth.

    and a confession: i hardly washed my maternity pants, until they started smelling like a stale french fry.

    Reply
  • 24. ebe  |  November 30, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    We didn’t have a washer/dryer for the first 3 years of our marriage, so when we finally got one, I went through this beautiful honeymoon period with them and just LOVED doing laundry in my own home!
    But now…well, let’s just say it’s hard, but not as hard as it could be.

    Reply
  • 25. Disciple Nations Alliance  |  November 30, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    My Mom used to do all our laundry in one day, but with four kids that got to be CrAzY! Eventually, she made it so each day of the week she does one (or two depending on how big) load(s) (i.e. darks on Monday, lights on Tuesday, whites on Wednesday, jeans on Thursday), then if a load really needs to be done she’ll do it over the weekend. It worked well in our house and saved her from slaving over changing loads and folding all day!

    Reply
  • 27. Ellie  |  November 30, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    Loved the insane laughter! Sorry, can’t stay – have to go fold more laundry – six people, mostly boys… lots of laundry.

    one of my sons prefers not to put away his laundry. So much easier to throw it back in the dirty hamper when mommy isn’t looking!

    Reply
  • 28. Ellie  |  November 30, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    my son came in and I let him hear the laughter. He said, “That’s Grandma, right?

    Reply
  • 29. Thea  |  November 30, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Oh my, YES. I’ve just been working through several batches today, feeling a similar sense of futility with every load that comes out of the dryer. For a family of three, we sure build some impressive piles of dirty clothing…

    Also, dirty dishes make me feel the same way, and we don’t have a dishwasher.

    Reply
  • 30. Susan  |  November 30, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    We’re slugging through piles here too!

    I still only do our laundry once a week because I just hate doing it so much, but It is a LOT to accomplish in one day/weekend.

    And speaking of laundry, I refer to your how to fold a fitted sheet video a lot. And I still can’t do it. Someday I think you’ll have to teach me in person, because I’m just not getting it right. Yikes!

    Reply
  • 31. pendy  |  November 30, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    When my kids were still at home, I called it climbing laundry mountain…those piles of dirty clothes did resemble mountains. Then there was the one year (my husband was coaching high school basketball) when the school’s machines broke and in addition to our family laundry, I washed the team’s basketball uniforms and sweatsuits three times a week. Did I mention I worked outside the home, so all of this was done in the middle of the night. Good times.

    Reply
  • 32. forthepraiseofhisname  |  November 30, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    When it gets REALLY overwhelming to me, I try to start with a load that will make the pile look instantly smaller like towels (or sheets if they’re in there). Towels are also an easier load to fold and put away. If you’re not picky about how things are folded, start teaching Orison how to fold and put away. Initially, it will mean more work, but as he learns, he can do it on his own. My 7 year old already sorts socks, folds underwear, puts away his own clothes, and is starting to learn to fold towels. You can’t be too picky about how well the clothes are folded, but hey, it’s free labor and good child training all in one. 🙂 I have 4 kids, which includes a baby who spits up like it’s going out of style, so laundry is always crazy at our house!

    Reply
  • 33. Hannah  |  November 30, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    The state of my laundry reflects the state of my life. Seriously. When I feel things are under control, laundry gets washed, dried, folded AND put away. As I buckle under stress or just get overwhelmed, my laundry routine is the first thing to fall apart. Today was the day to get it all under control again, and then the laundry tub got plugged and the basement was flooded…sigh…

    Reply
  • 34. Jenn A  |  November 30, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    I haven’t heard the expression “Heavens to Murgatroyd” since I was a little kid! My mom used to say it. Where did you hear it/learn it?
    About laundry, yes I too have the tendency to want it ALL to be done, but that is impossible and I have learned to live with it. When I find a lone sock, I put it away by itself and wait to pair it up until the missing partner shows up. I have been helped in the ongoing battle with laundry by teaching my kids to fold their own clothes. I started them when they turned 5 by teaching them how to fold the towels and washcloths. Now when the laundry is clean, I sort their clothes into a stack for each boy. They each have to fold their own clothes and put them away. It saves me a TON of time. I know your kids are still small, but eventually…..

    Reply
  • 35. Laura @ Texas in Africa  |  November 30, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    I don’t know how you moms do it. I’m just me and doing laundry seems to take three nights a week. Not to mention the pile of clothes needing ironing that have been waiting on a chair for the last two weeks, four days, and about an hour…

    Reply
  • 36. Dana  |  December 1, 2009 at 5:54 am

    LOL Ironing?! What’s that?

    Reply
    • 37. Melissa Parnell  |  December 2, 2009 at 4:48 pm

      haha, ain’t that the truth. clothes waiting to be ironed at our house will be waiting forever.

      Reply
  • 38. rhonda  |  December 1, 2009 at 6:14 am

    I feel your pain:) It does not help that I live with two men children who change clothes to go with their mood, which changes many times a day!

    Reply
  • 39. Amanda  |  December 1, 2009 at 7:03 am

    I’m surprised my husband (who forwarded the post to me, thinking I could relate) didn’t comment on my behalf. He could tell you my solution. As I tell him every time I’ve scaled yet another Mt. Everest of fabric–“DISPOSABLE CLOTHES!”

    Reply
  • 40. Megan  |  December 1, 2009 at 8:19 am

    I am totally with you. I just had a baby by c-section and my sweet, wonderful hubby was “keeping up” with the laundry for me, which basically means barely maintaining so that we all had something to wear. Now, I’m trying to catch up, while sharing our washer and dryer with the six grad students who live above us. AAAHHH!!! On top of it all, our laundry area is at the bottom of some very treacherous basement steps, and my kids always want to come and help.
    Happily, though, I always feel a strange sense of accomplishment when I get to the point where I can see the bottom of the hamper, even if only for a few hours.

    Reply
  • 41. Elizabeth Esther  |  December 1, 2009 at 10:24 am

    I think lots of laundry is part of the curse. Along with periods and labor pain.

    Reply
  • 42. Chris  |  December 1, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Don’t laugh. Laundry is my favorite type of housework. I wish I lived in Minneapolis so I could come to the party.

    Try not to think of being finished as the goal. We don’t think that way about breathing, as if we try to take in all the air we can and then we have to breathe some more. Air is just there all the time, and we get to breathe it as long as we live.

    So it is with laundry. It’s always there, and we get to sit down and relax with it a little bit every day. While doing it we can watch our kids play, talk to them and other family members, watch a good video, listen to a good sermon or some good music, talk on the phone (speaker phone only–I learned the hard way that crooking the phone between my head and neck causes big problems over the years).

    It is something that the kids can easily help with since it’s sort of unbreakable–and even if they do tear something, at least they don’t get hurt as they could with other chores. Knowing kids, though, it is best to always supervise since anything can happen. Being with them while working is part of the blessing anyway.

    I often forget to do this, but it’s a great time to pray for each family member as we are working with the things they wear.

    I’m sure there are more benefits, but that’s all I can think of for now.

    Blessings to you!

    Reply
  • 43. Dianna  |  December 1, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    I’m just glad to know I’m not the only one. In fact, there are clean clothes in the dryer that need to be put away so the clothes from the washer can be transferred to the dryer at this very moment! Guess I need to quit reading blogs and get to it!

    Reply
  • 44. jessicamelling  |  December 1, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Two-fold. Ha!

    Reply
    • 45. Abraham Piper  |  December 1, 2009 at 2:58 pm

      I was wondering if anyone would notice that pun. Of course, it was you, Jessica.

      Hey Molly, was that on purpose?

      Reply
  • 46. Jenny  |  December 1, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    We live in Australia and lots of people still line dry everything. I have a dryer but it’s my back-up plan. So everything is washed, taken out to the line, pegged, brought back in and then folded and put away. With 6 in the family there is no such thing as laundry day. I wash almost every day but the putting away…I’m with you on that. And my biggest bugbear…folded clean clothes in the dirty laundry basket!!! I tell them there is no way they fold them that neatly when they put them in the laundry! Oh well… I’m thankful for washing machines and especially for sunny days and so very thankful for my children! (I try to remind myself of this as I fold clothes!!)

    Reply
  • 47. thatsnotfunnymisskatie  |  December 1, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    …do you have Murgatroyd’s phone number? Is she willing to travel? She could have a field day at our house!

    I like to watch movies while I fold laundry. Especially Austen adaptations. The A&E version of P&P when I’m WAY behind.
    – Katie

    PS: You forgot “yinz” – where are your loyalties?! 😉

    Reply
  • 48. Allison  |  December 2, 2009 at 11:01 am

    I don’t enjoy laundry, either, but I view it as something that just needs to get done. It’s a chore and an opportunity to serve my family. It’s less dreary when I pray for each family member as I’m folding their clothes.

    To anyone who has their own washer and dryer, please do your laundry with a grateful attitude. Our apartment doesn’t have W/D hookups, so I trudge the laundry over to another building, our complex’s laundry center, every other day. I would absolutely love to have a washer and dryer in our family’s apartment. Carrying loads of laundry back and forth isn’t fun, but it sure beats washing clothes by hand.

    Reply
    • 49. Jessica  |  December 2, 2009 at 2:02 pm

      I agree. It would be so much easier if we had a washer and dryer in our apartment. Going to the laundromat is so annoying and time-consuming.

      Reply
  • 50. Claudia  |  December 2, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Laundry Praises

    Maybe this is just because we’re coming off Thanksgiving, but:
    ~I’m thankful to have a washer and a dryer to begin with. I remember many hours spent studying in my dorm’s laundry room waiting to switch from washer to dryer because I was worried someone might steal my laundry.
    ~I’m thankful for running water for the washing machine. How cool is it that we can switch between hot or cold water for the load with just a push of the button.
    ~I’m thankful for electricity to run the dryer. My life comes to a screeching halt if there’s a power outage, so I know I’m ridiculously dependent on electricity.
    ~I’m thankful that we have money to buy detergent. I’m thankful that my husband works hard so I can be a full-time stay at home mom and have the leisure to do the laundry when it’s convenient. I can’t imagine being a working mom (or dad) trying to work 40 hours a week AND do household chores, too.
    ~I’m thankful for the people whose laundry I wash.
    ~I’m thankful for my messy, messy son who is a miracle beyond words. Back when I was struggling with infertility, I never could have imagined that I would be blessed with him. ~I’m thankful for my messy, messy husband. He’s the man I prayed for and waited on God for as a lonely 20-something.

    I do wish I had a laundry service (and a housekeeper and a landscaper and a chef), but in the meantime, I praise God for what He has blessed me with.

    Reply
    • 51. Chris  |  December 6, 2009 at 3:04 pm

      What a wonderful perspective! Although I like doing laundry, there are many other chores that I should take this attitude about.

      Reply
  • 52. Shannon Archer  |  December 2, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    I like doing laundry so I do it everyday, just like making the bed, showering, etc…however, I HATE dusting…the dust balls actually take on a life of their own before I am forced to get rid of them!

    Reply
    • 53. Chris  |  December 6, 2009 at 3:02 pm

      I guess we all have some chore we really don’t like–for me it’s doing dishes, especially big, awkward pots and pans…

      Reply
  • 54. Konferens Arlanda  |  December 4, 2009 at 9:14 am

    We people used to give our clothes to a laundry but that was a prolong assignment indeed. So we changed the idea and started it by ourselves.

    Reply
  • 55. Anna  |  December 5, 2009 at 10:37 am

    My grandmother didn’t have a dishwasher, and we loved to wash and dry everything together. We’d slave away after a large family meal, and always there would be one dirty glass tucked away behind the sewing machine or cosmetic bag. We would laugh while washing and drying, saying, “There’s always that one dirty glass somewhere.” Or, we’d get everything put away and someone would ramble through the kitchen to take an aspirin or something. She was happy there were people in her home to dirty things, and I know you feel the same way, giving thanks for your little fellows and their dirt.

    Reply
  • 56. Anna  |  December 5, 2009 at 10:38 am

    P.S. Love your Murgatroyd creativity. Made me laugh!

    Reply
  • 57. Juliet  |  December 6, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Ugh. I feel your pain. And I’m not even the mom! However, I think I do laundry more than my mom does, and it truly is a never ending process! But I do enjoy it, so I thank God for that blessing!

    Reply
  • 58. David  |  December 15, 2009 at 12:00 am

    It must be showing my age that I thought of what used to be a very essential part of doing the laundry, but which no one here mentioned until Laura in comment #35, namely, ironing the clothes after washing them.

    Remember that “permanent press” is a fairly recent innovation. Also, I don’t think it was socially acceptable to not iron your clothes and go with the grunge look.

    My mom, who admittedly didn’t love to iron, thought that in all her years of raising eight kids she was only caught up on the ironing a few times. Those few times were when our neighbor lady would come babysit. This neighbor loved to iron and would iron for mom while she was babysitting.

    I can’t imagine the tons of laundry my mother washed for our family of ten! For a long time that included hanging them to dry on the line and ironing them too. I remember her saying she washed at least one load of clothes pretty much every day…although I don’t think she washed on Sunday. She wasn’t saying it averaged around one load a day. It was just never less than a load a day.

    Hmmm…I wonder how my mom did it.

    Reply

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