Thursday, April 2, 2009

Less Is Less (Work)

We always have a laundry back-up. I guess it's because we're disorganized, or because we have four small kids, or because we're busy with more important stuff, or because our washer and dryer are in the cold garage, or because the kids fight and misbehave and get into the Thin Mints when I'm out of the house for five stinkin' minutes! Well, for whatever reason, we have piles of dirty clothes. The piles get moved when we have company, sorted through when we're looking for something specific, and just stepped on the rest of the time.

We usually assess the clothing situation every night. "Do the kids have clothes for tomorrow? Are they weather-appropriate? Do we have clothes? Are sports uniforms clean?" Inevitably, we forget something, and Ian is wearing my socks, or we're drying off with hand towels (a 6'1" man drying off with a hand towel is pretty comical). After studying this problem for several months, I've noticed that we're all wearing the same four outfits (well, we're not ALL wearing the same outfits, we're each wearing our own same four outfits). A few clothes get washed, they're worn and thrown on top of the dirty pile, they get washed again, and the vicious cycle starts over.

After amassing piles of data (literally) and conducting a thorough analysis, I've concluded that we all need fewer clothes. The kids will have seven warm-weather outfits and one cold-weather outfit for spring and summer (we recently bought their spring/summer clothes and I'm in the process of sorting their winter stuff). All their other clothes will be given away or put away for a younger sibling. I have tons of clothes that I will only wear if nothing else is clean, but if I keep my acceptable clothes clean, I won't need the "emergency" clothes ("Quick, grab the stained Yosemite t-shirt--it's a laundry emergency!!"). And Nathan can't possibly need 20 junky work t-shirts and 30 pairs of holey socks.

I hope that this simplification will improve the laundry situation, and if it doesn't, at least the piles will be smaller.

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