No, we’re not talking about mistakes from our college years. We mean sheets, underwear, socks and, on those rare occasions, workout clothes.
Like something out of a sci-fi movie, the laundry pile seems to double in size every time we turn around. Just imagine what’s at the bottom of that mountain. Since we’ve lost our marbles, maybe that’s where they’ll turn up.
Maybe we’d get motivated if we thought of it as exercise: running up and down to the basement is cardio; lifting the Costco-size liquid All is good for the pecs, and bending to get the clothes from the dryer is a full ab workout.
We admit there were times when we couldn’t get the laundry done and just bought new clothes to get us through the week. To keep you from the same fate, we spoke to Sandra Martin, executive editor of Today’s Parent. Here are her QuirkOut tips to put in the rinse cycle and then tumble dry.
Is the End Near?
Sandra is always trying to reach the unreachable goal. She wants to achieve Laundry Zero.
Is this some clue to unlock the DaVinci Code? Nope. It means that all the laundry is done. Nothing in the hamper. Nothing on the bathroom floor. Nothing shoved under the kids’ mattresses next to unsigned report cards.
It’s a great concept. But for us, it’s as elusive as reaching the Last Five Pounds Zero or Husband Stops Snoring Zero.
In the meantime, we happily follow Sandra’s QuirkOut fluff-and-fold tip. She sorts socks according to color, then puts them into mesh bags. The bag goes into the washer, then into the dryer. Then she tosses them to her kids.
“We bring the laundry into the living room and make a game out of it,” she says. Getting the kids to fold towels with the same gusto as playing Mario Kart on the Wii makes everyone happy.
Sandra assures us that when kids get into the habit of helping, they get better at it. So congratulations, Sandra. You turned the tide on a dirty job by turning it into a teachable moment.
Sticking to our Story
It’s a lifesaver on messy men who insist on ordering barbecue ribs — and on vacation, when your children’s ice cream cones melt faster than the travel budget.
And at the office, Sandra explains. “Working moms are trying to get so much accomplished that they go nonstop. Which means eating lunch at their desks.”
We know these multitasking mamas. Their desks are so covered in crumbs that a family of five could eat off of the keyboard for a week. One drip of nonfat salad dressing on their blouses and they whip out the Tide Stick hidden in their desks. Miraculously, the stain disappears as quickly as their Lean Cuisines.
If only it were as easy to clean up after Frank in accounting — he’s the one who spilled the beans about the boss’s messy workplace affair.
Her QuirkOut advice is to scale back expectations.
We’re all for that. And we vote to start with the ironing. Buy chic linen clothes that are actually supposed to be wrinkled. And think knits, even for cocktail dresses.
Sandra reminds us, “Don’t iron sheets, which get wrinkled the minute you get into bed,” she says. “I figured out I can be a perfectly functioning person with wrinkly sheets.”
We can live with wrinkles in our beds, too, thank you, Sandra. But not on our foreheads, thank you, Botox.