My laundry goal is not necessarily cleanliness. It’s reducing the pile of dirty laundry to a sad caricature of itself. I want to see the mountain reduced to a hill, or if ambition sets in, maybe remnants that can be hidden in the dirty laundry hamper. To be clear, I have never accomplished this goal and it pisses me off. I fool myself every time I put a load of laundry in the washer. I stare at the dirty pile, debating which strategy to use. I have two main methods.
The first is to select the biggest, bulkiest pieces. This is totally logical and dare I say scientific, because when you take out the biggest pieces the pile should get lower faster. There must be some rule of nature or principle of physics that supports this option. Items usually include towels that absorbed 5 gallons of bathwater when the twins decided it would be a good idea to pit bath toys against tsunamis. Also included are the fleece throws that decorate the furniture. They are regular receivers of unfortunate potty training incidents and the occasional glass of milk. I might use them as a handy emergency towel when spills happen on the wood floor, but I would never admit to that.
The second method, if I’m feeling frisky, is to select the smallest clothes. This does require sifting through the pile, but it’s so satisfying to pack that washer with a million tiny pairs of underwear and miniature socks. So much can fit in! It’s a hallelujah moment in the making. Sometimes I have room for shirts and pants too, but there are strict rules for the smallest clothes load. This is to prevent copious loss of single socks. I’m not really sure how it happens, but I can put in sock pairs, and they just don’t make it through the process. The rules help. I think I need to post them in the laundry room in the event my husband attempts strategic laundering. (I know. This made me laugh so hard wine came out my nose, too. Don’t worry, it will stop burning in a minute).
Only use size 3T and under. Anything bigger can trap those tiny socks in a leg hole or collar. If this happens, you can kiss the socks goodbye. It’s analogous to a worm hole. The offending sock gets sucked into another dimension, never to return. It’s the same wasteland that spoons, puzzle pieces, and non-essential legos end up.
Do not, under any circumstances, add a pillow case. Same worm hole issue, only expect more casualties.
No poopy panties. This one is pretty clear, right? I know my goal is pile reduction, not cleanliness, but a pair of poopy panties can really cause havoc.
No clothes sent home from preschool. This is really in support of the poopy panty rule. The preschool my kids go to is very accommodating when it comes potty training. They will lovingly help my kids change their pants in case of an accident, and they have no problem using pull-ups at nap time. The problem is that when an accident does occur, they put the offending clothes in a plastic bag and stick it in the back of the cubby. They don’t rinse out the clothes. I don’t always look in the back of the cubby. You get where I’m going here. It’s terrible.
Empty all pockets. I’m serious. All the pockets. Including the bib pocket of those cute overalls, the butt pockets, and the stupid tiny watch pockets that live in the front of jeans. Why do those even exist? I’ll tell you why. So that children can hide tiny pieces of broken crayons, or stickers, or cheerios, or melted bits of M & M’s. Shit collectors would be a more appropriate name. For the pockets. Not the kids. Maybe the kids.
I recently had an incident while using the small load method. I will confess, it’s the riskier of the two options. I was overconfident and thought I had mastered the pile. How misguided of me. I lost 6 little soldiers that day. The culprit turned out to be a stray pair of boys size 7 jeans. They created such a powerful wormhole vortex. The littles didn’t have a chance. We said goodbye to orange fox grippy sox, pinky twinkle toes, purple polka dot, lacy pastel, and the striped boy sock that just showed up in our house one day. Perhaps most tragically, magenta moose disappeared. They are survived by their mates, who now reside in the bottom of the clean clothes basket. They will wait there until paired again, or more likely, used to wipe up a random spill because they are cleaner than the moldy wet towels. I’m not sure how I will win this battle, but some day, somehow, I will conquer the mountain.
For now, I need to find a sock sale.