They Put Away the Laundry!

laundry basket full of colorful clothes

A big battle around here (for WAAAAAAYYYY) too long has been laundry. Essentially, I refused to do it anymore for the older boys several years ago. This is because when I entered their room every morning to get them up, I was wading through piles of clean (CLEAN!!) laundry that I had carefully washed and folded or hung. They had just thrown it on the floor.

On. The floor.

Rather than continue to be enraged before they’d even achieved consciousness daily, I told them that it was no longer my job. This worked quite well. I wasn’t angry about the daily wading anymore, and they learned a skill. Sort of.

After a few years, I started helping out and then doing the work for them again. The truth is, I like laundry. It makes me happy to get things clean and organized. So I do it.

The practice lately has been for me to ask them to carry their dirty clothes down and sort into piles. Then I wash, dry, fold, and hang and put everything on the dining room table for them to retrieve and put away. That’s a pretty sweet deal for them in terms of workload.

What has happened though, is people living off my dining room table. Clothes sit there for days and days, even though I request people to pick up and put away.

The rage, it was returning.

Then this past Monday, I had had enough. “Any clothes still here tonight are going to go to Goodwill,” I said.

And voila! Boys cared. Clothes disappeared from the table. I was positively giddy.

There are other battles to be won, but I am very pleased to have found a solution for this one.

Because really. You can’t put your clothes away??!??

The editor-in-chief of Earnest Parenting, Amy is the mother of two sets of twin boys. Yes, they drive her crazy, but they also make her laugh occasionally. Amy enjoys writing, quilting, reading, and working on her burgeoning cyber empire.

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  • Tracie Shroyer January 27, 2016, 9:20 am

    We’ve done that with the whole house for years. When the kids were little, we told them to pick up what they wanted to keep and we’d take care of the rest. “The rest” went into a buy-back bin where they had to do a chore to get the item back. They could see the items sitting on a high shelf, but couldn’t have them. If they sat there long enough, I knew it was time to get rid of the toy. The kids also learned that if I said I was going to “take care of something” for them, they’d better get their behinders in gear because they never knew what I was up to!

    And I know what you mean about laundry. My kids have been doing that for years too for the same reasons you gave. A wise parenting speaker once told me that a kid’s room is the place where they need to let loose, be themselves and not have to live with ideas about organization. So I let the laundry stay on the floor and let them do it. It turns out there’s a method. Clothes on the left are clean, those on the right are dirty. My 17 year old son wears wrinkle release as cologne and all is right in his world. There’s always the hope they can pay for college by doing their roommates laundry!
    Tracie Shroyer´s last blog post ..How Do You Spend Quality Time with Your Kids?

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