Professor's House

Laundry Does Not Wash Itself, My Dear

Who would have thought there could be such a bid adieu about laundry? The truth is that you would be hard pressed to find a parenting blog or family article where the battle over laundry duties within the home didn’t rear their ugly head. And until they create a washer/dryer duo that seemingly picks up the clothes, does the sniff test to see if they are clean, sorts them into loads and put them in the washer, adds detergent and transfers them to the dryer (and then folds them and puts them away) – there will likely be couples saying, “Laundry does not wash itself my dear” each an every time one person is unable to find their favorite shirt of a clean pair of underwear. Bottom line is getting the laundry done is a business….and the business takes dedication and hard work.

In fact, the laundry business inclusive of appliances, detergents and all the other bells and whistles is a multi-BILLION dollar industry that is ultra competitive and spends and sucks up another billion dollars in marketing and advertising. All of these companies are vying for YOUR business, and hoping to provide the one product that will make your laundry duties easier, less intrusive, and more comfortable to manage. And yet try as they may, there is a very specific process (as outlined above), as well as presence of thought that needs to take place on a daily basis in order to get all the laundry done. (Although you will all likely agree that the laundry is NEVER really done).

According to Proctor and Gamble statistics the average US family of 4, washes around 390 loads of laundry per year. This equates to 6.75 – 7.0 loads per work, or one load per day. And of course, every family knows that these estimates are drastically low. Detergent costs for this much laundry average around $400 per year (depending on brand), and each load consumes around 20-40 gallons of water (depending on your machine). And if you wash your clothes with anything BUT cold water – you could spend as much as $500 per year on energy costs alone. Now, consider the fact that between towels, baby clothes, regular clothes and even blankets or sheets – you do three times this much laundry year.

And how much time does all this washing take?

While washers and dryers are pretty safe reliant when they are working, they do take quite a bit of effort to run. If you are responsible for the laundry in your house than you are likely hearing a ding or a whistle or a beep – every hour on the hour that causes you to jump up and tend to more laundry. Plus, most of the people in your house who do not engage in laundry duties – don’t really care about reusing hair towels after a shower, and likely throw clean clothes in the dirty pile because they are too lazy to put them away, which actually makes more work for you. Lovely, right?

This is likely just one reason that when someone has the audacity to ask you where all the clean clothes are, or where their uniform is, or why their jeans aren’t clean and ready to be worn, or if they have any clean underwear – can cause you to explode with anger and frustration that may seem a bit uncalled for. Most families do not have the luxury of time to do laundry day in and day out. Many implement what is called a laundry day, which is a constant hamster wheel of a cycle that has you rushing up to load, empty, reload and load again the two most widely used appliances in your household. And laundry day makes it impossible to relax, because if you don’t get the clothes out of the dryer quick enough – you are then forced to iron them (or re-dry them) which takes up even more time. So you can forget leaving the house. There are also those lovely folks you live with, called family members who take your clean smelling masterpieces into their rooms and simply throw them on the bed, stuff them in the corner, use them as pillows and do everything but hang them up. (Insert violent screams)

The bottom line is laundry is a pain in the butt. It is one of those necessary evils in life that has to get done, and that sits happily behind the scenes making people feel more comfortable. Unless of course, you are the lone star in charge of doing it.

The best way to come to any sort of laundry agreement is to require help from others. Even young children can sort and fold clothes, put towels away and stuff underwear in their dresser drawers. Spouses, both of whom use the towels and dirty the clothes, should take turns throwing loads in and taking them out, so the whole idea of laundry seems less like a daily responsible, and more of something that sort of runs smoothly behind the scenes of life. Always churning, always running – yet never a chore or a job.

At first glance, especially for those who haven’t had to do a lot of laundry, you might wonder how hard can it be to keep the towels clean? But for one person trying to keep up with the dirt left behind by 2, 3 or even 4 others….its a job. And endless, painstaking and horrible job that can reduce a person to feeling like a slave. So go, do some laundry for a change. As long as you remember to keep reds out of the white load, your efforts will likely be highly appreciated.

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