Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Finding Joy in Dirty Laundry

Not everyone knows this, but my laundress left me in February. I know, I know, life is tough. But I'm getting over it. Really. 


Let me explain - After My Girl Caitlin finished her high school work, she took over laundry duties for our family. It freed me up to get other things done, like schooling her younger siblings, getting meals on the table, etc. 
And then she went off and got herself married! 
And so I took back laundry duties. To my surprise, I've actually enjoyed this mundane task. 

And here are 10 reasons why, in no particular order:  
  1. Sorting laundry is an activity that keeps the hands busy while leaving the brain free to think. Have a problem to solve? sort laundry. Have an attitude to correct? sort laundry. Have a decorating dilemma? sort laundry. You get the idea.
  2. Laundry Day is the perfect time to get set up for the Great Seasonal Switch-Over. Those heavy winter sweaters and fleece lined jackets are now clean and folded and ready for winter storage.
  3. Along with the seasonal clothing changes comes the time to weed out clothing that no longer fits. When I find myself washing that t-shirt so-and-so refuses to give up even though there's a gap above the waistband of his bluejeans, I can stealthily slip it into the donate pile, and then don a look of vague recollection when asked "Mom where's that shirt go?!"
  4. Laundry day also gives me the opportunity to purge a bit. How many pairs of pink short does you-know-who need, anyway! Time to donate a pair, or 2 or 3. I'm sure there is some other princess-fashionista ready and willing to don these lovely garments.
  5. Speaking of the fashionista - I learn much about my family's fashion sense when I work my way through the mountains of laundry on WashDay. This one is definitely into pink and purple. This one seems to wear mostly soft knits in bold colors. That one wears jeans everyday, hardly ever puts on a pair of shorts, while the other wears shorts year round.  No more ruffles for that girl. Hmmm,  make note Mama.  No need spending money on clothing they refuse to wear.
  6. I mentioned paring down duplicates and tossing outgrown clothing. Another important task to take care of is mending. Can that seam be re-sewn? Can I patch that knee?  Here's a button needing to be replaced. 
  7. You'll learn much about your children and their interest on laundry days. Have you ever cleaned out an 8 year old's pockets? Marbles and nerf ammunition and candy wrappers with chewed up gum inside and rocks and sticks and lego men and coins and brown crayon bits and paper shavings and frogs and plastic army men. . .  There are stories to tell with each item. These are things important to them.
  8. With the sound of running water and the children occupied elsewhere in the house (working on school assignments I hope) I often get lost as I reminisce days-gone-by. This mom of many often relives moments as she picks up a sweet dress our youngest wore while splashing through mud puddles, and is transported back to a day when our other girls may have worn the same dress. Or maybe I find myself shaking out dirt from rolled up cuffs after the boys have been out exploring, shaking my head and laughing as I recall a day long a go when our now grown up son collected dirt in the same way.
  9. As I sort my family's laundry, wash it clean, dry it soft, fold it neat, I find it gives me opportunity to pray over each of my loved ones. Monday is Laundry Day here. I find it the perfect way to get a good start to our week.
  10. Aaaahhhhhhh. There is satisfaction in a job well done.
I thank God for my family, for daily opportunities to serve them, for dirty laundry. 

this post linked up over at Top Ten Tuesday and Raising Homemakers and Proverbs 31 Thursdays.


  1. LOVED this post! Here I thought there was no reason to love doing laundry...lol God bless you!

    1. Thank you Valencia. I'm glad you were encouraged! Enjoy your day, and your laundry!

  2. I definitely need to re-read this post before doing laundry next time (which is probably today if we're honest). I can have such a bad attitude when it comes to that particular chore...especially the folding and putting away part...but I love how you have come up with not just one, but ten great aspects of doing laundry. It makes me realize that if we try hard enough, we can probably do the same about most mundane chores. So much of it is about attitude and perspective. Thanks for helping me realize that today, Linda!

    1. I should probably need to re-read this post from time to time myself, Lauren! You are right, life and living is all about attitude and perspective.
      After all these years of doing laundry, I'm finally becoming convinced that the folding and putting away is so much easier if I do it right out of the dryer. That's what's really helping me these days.

  3. I love this post. Way to see the many positives in everyday life! It's sometimes a challenge but it does make life more enjoyable. Thanks for the reminder!

    1. Thank you Beth! Even our mundane tasks are about choice, aren't they? Choose to be cheerful or choose to grump through.
      I'm glad you enjoyed the post :0)

  4. What a wonderful post. Laundry has always been one of my favorite chores. I am not sure why, but I enjoyed it best of all, especially when the kids were younger. Everyday was laundry day and I would joke that we were wearing a load or two. These days, with big kids coming and going, they all do their own laundry. They are also buying their own cloths so it is always fun to see what they will come out in next. :)

    1. There is something therapeutic about working through the rhythms of laundry day.
      And, yes, in a larger than average sized family, it's easy to accumulate a load or two or more per day!
      Nice to have some doing their own laundry. I'm enjoying the task for our youngest for a time - it won't last much longer!
      glad you stopped by :)

  5. I actually enjoy laundry too! I guess it is probably because I can see that I am accomplishing something! Glad to know I am not the only one!

    1. I'm in good company, then! Thanks for you comment, Ashley. you made me smile - perfect timing, since I'm getting ready to start up that washing machine again this morning :)


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