For The Love of ... Laundry

This is going to sound warped and you are probably going to think I’m nuts or completely abandoning the mothership and womanhood and all that. But here goes: I love doing the laundry.

This is going to sound warped and you are probably going to think I’m nuts or completely abandoning the mothership and womanhood and all that. But here goes:

I love doing the laundry.

Yup, you read that right. I love doing the laundry.

Sure, I complain about it like everyone else, but that’s just to give off the appearance of being harried and frustrated by the regularity and dullness and domesticity of those large, often pungent, sometimes sticky piles of clothing that are either strewn about or heaped up in dank corners. (Why do they never all make it into the hamper?)

The reality is that I actually relish – yes, that’s right – relish the process of converting the mess, wrinkles and smell into fragrant, smooth and orderly piles.

There’s also a certain OCD element in me that appreciates the anticipation of timing the laundry just right so that I can be one step ahead of someone being out of clean underpants. If I time it right, we can (hopefully) avoid the meltdowns when the batman jammies are not available or someone’s favorite T-shirt can’t be found. Or, heaven forbid, when there are only clean skirts or skorts instead of shorts or pants (guaranteed to incite whines and tears from my 5-year old tom boy.) Plus, during the summer months, there’s the extra thrill of ensuring that there’s always a regular supply of clean towels, swim suits and changes of clothes for two kids for camp.

I’ll often secretly inhale from a big of clean clothes, fresh from the drier. That smell, to me, is almost as pleasurable as the buzz I get from that first sip of coffee in the morning.

Next, I’ll turn on the TV and methodically take each laundered item and create piles. Socks, underpants, facecloths in one pile, everything else in the other. And then I’ll fastidiously fold each item and create more piles sorted by kid, by item (shorts in one pile, T-shirts in another). I often finger each item as I handle it, smoothing out the wrinkles and fondly remembering something entertaining or interesting about my son or daughter when last they wore it. As I inspect each item, I muse over how much they’ve grown, calculating how many more wears these pants might get before the eventual holes at the knees, or how many more Marmite/sardine stains her tops can withstand before they must be forced out of commission. I recall the source of each piece of clothing, which store or from whom it was handed down (thank heavens for hand-me-downs!) I think about the upcoming season and whether last Spring’s clothes will fit them come Fall. I hope so, because the hand-me-downs are running low….

Finally, in front of me, roughly eight orderly, uniform towers of neatly folded and sorted clean clothes. Then begins the process of putting them away, closet by closet, drawer by drawer, making sure that the rotation of yet-to-be-worn clothes takes place.

This complete, detailed and yes, maniacal, process happens at least once a week. It’s fantastic!

Woe betide he who messes with the process.

Actually, the truth is my husband willingly folds laundry. Except he folds it differently from me. Which causes this whole internal battle in me in which I have to talk myself into accepting that the folding is not being done my way. Gratefully accept the assistance. Get over myself, in general. It works most of the time, though I do admit to often checking in the kids’ closets and drawers after he’s done putting their clothes away and refolding and reorganizing stuff!

Any men reading this probably think I am a lunatic. Or maybe they recognize this behavior and witness it in their own homes. But, my fellow Moms, I bet I am not alone here. Maybe you are not as controlling as me about the laundry. Maybe you are. Maybe it’s some other aspect of household management?

Tell me …. do you enjoy doing the laundry as much as me?


Framingham resident Samantha McGarry is a working Mom, juggling life, kids and career one crazy day at a time - with a smile on her face. She blogs at Keeping the Glass Half Full.

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Sonnie October 01, 2012 at 07:40 PM
I should be doing laundry. Im at a break as we speak. lol. Actually, I can not say I love doing laundry or not- its part of a daily job! I have one question, its the socks. With a family of 5, how the heck to be more organized with those socks. That is more time consuming than any other pieces of the laundry.
Karen Salemi October 01, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Sonnie, for me the secret to enjoying laundry is to avoid sorting. I did separate loads of laundry for each of my kids. They had enough clothing that I could wait 10 days or so to do a large load for each of them. I wash my husband's clothes together with mine but only because it's easy to tell whose is whose. If you really hate sorting socks you could also give each child their own lingerie bag (labeled with their names) to put their socks in. Then you know whose is whose. Hope this helps.
Samantha McGarry October 02, 2012 at 12:28 PM
My solution for socks is I buy my kids those packs of 8 or 12 socks that are identical! That way the odds of matching socks are higher. It's not a perfect science as our dog tends to steal socks and bury them but at least it increases the chances of the remaining socks matching!
Benjamin Gladden October 03, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Samantha - as a full-time dad, I am with you!!! I make the same piles. While my wife works full-time, I'm with the kids full-time and working part-time. Laundry is like a little retreat for me - an area where I'm in total control! Until very recently, I never let anyone help me with the laundry - because they'd do all wrong. But my new part-time work as forced me to bight my lip and watch as someone else incorrectly folds some of the laundry...
Sean O'Donnell October 10, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Samantha, do you by any chance want another child? I'm 23 years old living in an apartment and I hate doing laundry. I love reading your posts, you always put a fresh face on the daily chores.


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