Sunday, January 07, 2018

Why I Can't Let You Help with the Laundry

If you would like to listen to the audio version, click hereSorry I'm speaking so quickly in it, I was trying to do it with four kids running around and had to get it done before someone screamed. Would you ever listen to the audio version or no?

The other day I had a friend at our home babysitting our youngest so we could hit up the mountain with the big kids. Baby would be napping for a significant portion so my generous friend asked what she could do to help out around the house. I said sweeping would be great and she suggested folding laundry. My brain went into alert mode. I quickly said there was none (there really wasn't) and I tried to get the vision of someone else touching my laundry out of my mind. So many things could go wrong – piles mixed up, clothes put away in the wrong drawers, people touching my underwear?! Am I a bit extreme? Perhaps. I do think we all have one thing (at least) that we don't want someone helping with in our home, am I right?

Why I can't let you help with the laundry

Now, in case you haven't figured it out yet, laundry is important to me and I need 90% of the control over it (I'll let you know where the other 10% goes in a minute). I am one of those rare ducks that waits for two full loads worth and then commences the process aiming to be done everything – washing through to putting back in the drawers – within three hours. Why? Well, I'm a perfectionist who doesn't like things left on the To Do list. Besides, that's how my mom did it.

What are some other laundry "rules"? 
  • As soon as the musical tune indicates the end of the wash cycle, I need to switch the laundry over. There is no waiting or I might forget.
  • I need to fold it on the empty kitchen island where every person has an assigned area of the counter from oldest to youngest, left to right. 
  • Once folded they immediately go back into two laundry baskets (the upstairs and downstairs one) and I need to put it away in the appropriate drawers. 
  • The whole process must be done in the same day although ironing can wait up to two days.
How are other family members allowed to assist (aka giving up 10% of control):

  • They may match socks and fold them. Usually this is designated to a child who cannot get along with their siblings at that time.
  •  They may transfer from washer to dryer (as long as there is nothing that has to be taken out to hang dry).
  • They may empty the dryer and carry it upstairs to the kitchen (again, if bugging siblings and need something to do).
  • My husband can put away his own clothes and I do trust my daughter to do it as well. I will deliver the piles to their dressers though.
  • My husband can iron his own clothes (but I usually do it first or it sits there for more than the allowable two days).

Why am I such a control freak in this area? 

  • I work hard to keep our home clutter-free. 
  • Why would I spend all that time washing, drying, and folding for clothes to end up in the wrong place/drawer or, gasp, wrinkled in a pile?!
  • It makes me happy to keep things neat and organized. 
  • I like checking to make sure my boys have enough pairs of underwear in the laundry to indicate they've worn a fresh pair each day.
  • I like to be able to toss out the holey socks which would otherwise just stay in rotation.

There's one other reason I truly like folding the laundry. 

The 15 minutes it takes to fold and organize is focused on thinking about the people in my family. I can't fold Koen's pants without thinking about all of the mini hockey he must be playing based on the holes in the knees (always the right one!). When I hold Nya's favourite dresses I can hear her saying "I love this one!" and picture her twirling with a huge grin. When I pull Kai's hockey jersey out of the pile, I think of how awesome this sport has been for our family. When I iron Gary's work shirts I think about how thankful I am that he happily goes to work each day. 

Why I can't let you help with the laundry
On my laundry room wall
Now, don't get me wrong. My husband is capable (although I have ended up with my boys' clothes in my drawers) and I will be teaching my kids these skills more and more over time, but, just give me this for now.

Do you care about laundry the way that I do? Or is there a different area that you have a hard time giving up control?


Why I can't let my family help with the laundry. Is it a control thing or maybe it's a please-let-me-keep-this-one-thing-organized thing.


  1. You are passionate about your laundry! I have my quirks too, but when hubby takes on the chore I feel done is better than good.

    1. Passionate is one word for it! Good thing I’m not like this for most things 😉

  2. Lauren1:55 PM

    I'm the same. It's just me and sometimes James. Last night he said "I can switch it over" and as he got up to do it I promptly got up too and told him not to bother. I hang 99% of my clothes, heaven forbid something goes in the dryer when it shouldn't. My laundry is also very specific probably because my Mom did it like that - towels separate, sheets separate, white socks are bleached and done in their own load with tea towels, darks separate, and lights separate. Delicates/handwash are accumulated until I have enough to do them on their own as well. The only thing that goes in the dryer is the odd hoody and my towels/socks/sheets. I don't think I'll ever give up doing the laundry, unless James does a load of only his stuff then he can do it himself haha. Oh I sound crazy.

  3. I hate laundry - I would happily give it up in a second (and folding is the worst!). I think I have a hard time letting go of the grocery/produce shopping. My lists would probably say: 2 large yams (around the size of baseballs), 6 bananas (of varying ripeness so they can last a few days), purple seedless grapes (but only if they seem fresh and not soft when you touch them), avocados (just one but if they are on sale for 2.97 for a bag, then get the bag). Oh and if you get a bag, then also pick up cilantro and a lime for guacamole. But don't get the cilantro and lime if you are just buying one avocado. And if you are buying one avocado, get one that's ready to eat tomorrow. Yeah. It's easier and less annoying if I just do it myself.

    1. I love you, Mandeep! That’s hilarious 😂

  4. Kristin McNair7:58 AM

    I'm like you. After Will was done my MIL just started doing it. Totally nice of her but I had to refold it all because it wasn't to my standards LOL. I started hiding the baskets because I didn't want to be mean. Now I just say no thanks. Glad I'm not the only one!