| Posted in:Family, Writing

 Tip Thursday: Scaling the Laundry Mountain

Today’s “Tip Thursday” is about laundry. I hate laundry with the passion of a woman who’s been scorned, is drunk on Shiraz, and with access to your private cell phone number.  I hate it they way dogs hate cats, snow hates sunshine, and Republicans hate women.

I HATE IT AND EVERYTHING IT STANDS FOR. If it were a person, I’d punch it in its dirty, rotten face.

It never ends, and there are too many steps to its completion. One of the things I love about humid Ontario summers is wearing wet clothes right from the washing machine. You get a custom “to your body” fit and built-in cooling-mechanism. Plus, no drying or folding.

So, this week, in efforts to reduce our laundry load, I turned to my son for help. He doesn’t like parting with his worked-in (read: filthy) clothing for washing, and I’m sick of having philosophical discussions about “What is dirt, anyway?” with an ornery 8 year-old while playing tug-of-war with a disgusting crusty pair of tiny blue jeans.

If I follow his recommendations, I won’t need to do almost any laundry ever again. This should cut down on my household workload by almost 37% after you account for  my daughter’s 432 Aeropostale t-shirts. So, if clothing or linens do not meet his “dirt” qualifications, I’m not washing them.

However, he can’t really tell me what dirt is, but he can tell me what it isn’t.

It’s not dirt if:

  1. It’s not dirt if it came from your own body. I’m not giving specifics here. Let’s just say if it came from an opening somewhere on your body, it apparently doesn’t count as dirt because “You said our bodies are beautiful, Mom.”
  2. It’s not dirt if it makes a mark smaller than a quarter. In essence, you can wear a shirt with 138 patches of mud on it, so long as their individual size does not exceed that of a .25 piece.
  3. It’s not dirt if it’s fresher than 24 hours. Fresh and dirt cannot co-exist.
  4. It’s not dirt if it was garnered in the act of performing a task requested by an adult. Chore dirt displays lack of autonomy and is therefore exempt from punishment by washing.
  5. It’s not dirt if it is food-derived. BBQ sauce, eggs yolk, jam, or roast beef juices are delicious snacks for later.
  6. It’s not dirt if someone else put it there. Sidewalk chalk up and down your back that you are not aware of because your sister was trying to make you look like a skunk because you never wash your clothes is exempt. It is also a good example of what I refer to as “the laundry wormhole.”
  7. It’s not dirt if you can’t see it from the front. All dirt on the back of your clothing is exempt.
  8. It’s not dirt if it doesn’t smell bad. (See #3 – “freshness” criteria.)
  9. It’s not dirt if there is an inkling of creative merit involved. Markers, paint, glitter, 6 pompoms and a Popsicle stick inadvertently glued to a sleeve must remain intact to preserve artistic integrity and to prevent accusations of censorship.
  10. (There may have been a tenth qualification; if there was I didn’t hear it. The smell of his laundry basket was too much for me to take, and I had to leave the room. If you have any ideas, leave it in the comments.)

These rules can be extended beyond laundry as well, and work equally well when applied to bathing or hair washing. And while I look forward to the day my son becomes a fully independent and responsible member of adult society, someone please point me towards this post if I ever consider eating dinner at his house.

 Tip Thursday: Scaling the Laundry Mountain

Because look how happy HE is…

  • http://motherhoodisanart.wordpress.com motherhoodisanart


    • http://menomama3.wordpress.com menomama3

      Can you tell I liked this?? I liked it twice! Here’s a laundry tip from a veteran of filth that might work for your daughter. I have 3 teen girls who think if they’ve worn something for 10 minutes it is laundry destined. I take the item out of the dirty laundry, dump it in the dryer for 5 minutes, fold it and put it back in the culprit’s room. All is fair in the laundry battle.

      • http://www.bodhimoments.wordpress.com Bodhimoments


    • http://bloginbeige.wordpress.com bloginbeige

      Oh yes. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh yes!

  • http://jackstrawlanedotcom.wordpress.com Katja

    Clearly dirt is in the eye of the beholder. Your son functions with an impressive level of logical reasoning.

  • smacksy

    This list is comprehensive and my son would agree with every point. I’m sorry. For us.

  • Sheri

    I guess it’s all relative :)

  • http://joyandwoe.wordpress.com Jeni

    Well look at you all Pressed and Fresh. I knew our name destined us for great things. And congratulations!

  • http://uniquelysophie.wordpress.com uniquelysophie

    that pig is similar to my dog- my dog loves nothing more than rolling in mud! If he’s not bothered, why should we?
    for more tales about my dog: http://uniquelysophie.wordpress.com/

  • http://gravatar.com/jcmgertie jcmgertie

    Oh, I wish I could get my daughters to somehow make some of those points their own. They will wear a t-shirt after school for 2 hours…at home, slouching in front of the TV and put it in the washing!

  • http://amyepelham.wordpress.com Amy E

    I was about 7 or so when my mom started making me do my own laundry and I really hope you intend make your boy do his own. My mom wouldn’t let me or my sister go out or have fun until chores were done.
    Then after I moved out I met a wonderful, thoughtful, caring man who was completely incapable of washing a damn spoon let alone do his own laundry. His parents did not make him do anything inside the house. That changed very quickly as I am not that type of women. After many conversations, this grown-ass man can do the bare minimum of not dying on his own. Yay! To make a long rant irrelevant, congrats on being Freshly Pressed! I enjoyed this post!

  • http://kaiyasworld.wordpress.com kaiyasworld

    Too funny! Reminds me of trying to get my daughter to take a bath. She smells her feet- if they’re not stinky, she’s not taking a bath!

  • http://coconutcraze.wordpress.com coconutcraze

    I’m not laughing…I too have a son! Wait until your son is in his teens to have more fun!

  • http://skippingoverquicksand.wordpress.com Bridget

    10. It’s not dirt if it will brush off when dry.

    • http://iamthisandthat.wordpress.com iamthisandthat


    • http://www.adashofkharmaisis.com KharmaIsis

      Oh that’s perfect! Yesssssss. I get that one a lot. Or if it can be fabreezed it’s good to go.

  • shofar

    I think the worse I’ve seen are clean and dirty clothes mixed together. I offered no help to my kids then and if they did not bring clothes out by laundry day, they could wear dirty clothes!

  • http://sadderbutwiser.wordpress.com The Sadder But Wiser Girl

    I think you hate laundry almost as much as I hate dishes. I despise doing dishes like nothing else. If I could cast a spell and bring my dead dishwasher back to life I’d do it.

    And I’m very happy that you just recategorized 90% of the supposed dirty laundry in my house. I’m printing this out and posting it by the washer. Take that, household dwellers!

  • http://thekovies.wordpress.com lexiesnana

    Great post and I have heard them all.Things will change when he starts dating.I remember the cologne smell was almost worse than the pig smell!

  • logan607

    There was this TV show in the BBC where people were living as they lived like 100 years ago and they found (at least for the women) that the vast majority of their time was spent doing the laundry. As bad as it is now, you’ve got to figure that it’s still worlds better than it used to be.

    Thanks for an afternoon laugh!

  • http://turningtwicetwenty.wordpress.com kabe1

    I too have an 8 year old boy – this all sounds too familiar to me. I’ve just spent Sunday – a day of rest? – washing 10 loads – admittedly more than usual due to the fact that one of my little angels was sick repeatedly during the night – I assume this wouldn’t count as “dirt” though by your son’s definition – “it’s not dirt if it comes from your own body”!!

  • http://mizzezmellymel.wordpress.com Melissa Kinnel (@TizMellyMel)

    My nine year old son thinks he doesn’t have to shower everyday because “Mommy, I didn’t do anything to get dirty today.” o_O

  • http://seriouslyseekinggrannies.wordpress.com marymtf

    I washed, then ironed three sets of shirts, shorts and trousers for decades. Then my children left home and I found myself washing and ironing only one set of the above. One day I accidentally dropped my iron from on high and broke it. I have never ironied another thing since then. The washing machine is too heavy. Good post.

  • http://chiclygreen.wordpress.com chiclygreen

    It must be something about 8 year-olds! I have heard my sister declare at least 5 of these 10 logical points of argument against baths/showers. It seems perfectly acceptable to her. Love it!

  • http://moderndayruth.wordpress.com moderndayruth

    Excellent! Congrats on being freshly pressed!

  • http://www.segmation.com segmation

    How did you know that this is what I do on Thursdays?

  • http://crystaltrulove.wordpress.com Crystal M. Trulove

    I was just having a conversation this morning about how we teach our kids to negotiate and to reason with us, then we suffer the consequences. It’ll all turn out fine. I can see you’re doing a great job with your kids, Mom!

  • mgbmdri

    This is hilariously brilliant! I love it :)

  • http://ohmsweetohmdotme.wordpress.com Allan G. Smorra

    My theory is that there are two kinds of dirt: light-colored and dark-colored.

    When I work in khakis and light blue work shirts I accumulate black dirt on my clothes. When I wear my black work pants and navy blue shirts I accumulate white dirt on my clothes.

    Both types of dirt are on us, we only see the contrasting colored dirt.

  • http://flyyourfreakflag.wordpress.com bernsduck77

    I too have the hate of the laundry….I must find small child to assist in categorising level of dirt/need to wash…

  • aviolinw

    Reblogged this on Sane by Music and commented:
    And it is the validity and lake of loopholes in this list that drives me away from a desire for children. Messiness, Stickiness, Muddiness that is not removed after coming back in your home and, just the general EEEWWWWWW!!! factor are to great for me to handle!

  • http://snappysurprise.blogspot.com/ Marianna Annadanna

    Hmmmm… i wonder where he gets his wits, that one… ;)

    I feel this way about dishes. Dishes have a 30-minute rule*. If they were only used for 30 minutes and you rinse them under the tap, they’re still clean.

    *30 is a relative number; higher than 1 minute, but less than 4 days.

  • http://vegsoupforthesoul.wordpress.com vegsoupforthesoul

    Absolutely delightful Jeni. Yes, kids ‘n’ dirt eh. My youngest son told me why he hasn’t been plagued with teenage acne… He doesn’t wash (very often)! And maybe that’s the answer!

  • http://isitstinky.wordpress.com John Maki

    Reblogged this on is it stinky? and commented:
    This wonderful post about laundry from highly irritable blog* seems to fit is it stinky?’s thematic intent. Enjoy!

  • http://mrsfringe.wordpress.com mrs fringe

    Fantastic! I hate hate hate laundry, it’s nice to find a kindred spirit. My sons are past the don’t want to wash anything phase, and are firmly ensconced in the must wash everything 563 times per week phase.

  • http://broadsideblog.wordpress.com broadsideblog

    Great post. I LOATHE doing laundry and have a lovely husband who (?!!) really enjoys doing it. Lucky lucky me.

  • http://undertheskysofark.wordpress.com under the skies of arkansas

    lol now that airing your dirty laundry

  • http://amphomma.wordpress.com amphomma

    I have a seven year old son who tries to reason his way out of far too many things. I appreciate his cleverness! Speaking of laundry…two loads to fold tonight, unless they’re already too wrinkly! Argh!

    Keep writing!

  • http://lloydlofthouse.org/ Lloyd Lofthouse

    Most of nature (forests, mountains, etc) are beautiful too but I don’t think we are going to wear them. And, doesn’t nature use rain to clean itself.

    I wonder if he would prefer warm rain or cold rain.

  • http://ineedanewman.wordpress.com Anita Neuman

    Oh so funny! I have survived three 8-year-olds so far and they won the dirt battle at that point. Now I’m using it against them and hoping that their stench will be sufficient birth control.

  • http://lusays.wordpress.com Lu

    This is a great blog! Love it!

  • http://theredneckprincess.net Redneckprincess

    I have three boys and a boyfriend…surrounded by dirt, so I hear ya. I would have a lot more time for fun stuff if I made them do their own damn laundry…just saying.

  • http://nealstotts.wordpress.com Dragonflyboy

    Reblogged this on nealstotts.

  • http://thesugarlump.wordpress.com The Sugarlump

    great post! I was just thinking how much I hate doing laundry myself as half of my wardrobe line-dries all over my apartment. :)

  • http://sannekurz.wordpress.com sannekurz

    Haha! Amazing. Reminds me my sons joking about “Only one time showering and than it’s Christmas!”. I shall email them your post…wonder if they will print it out and stick it on their wall…

  • http://literaryarms.wordpress.com Frank Garcia

    HA! I swear you sound so much like my mum!

  • http://mjwrightnz.wordpress.com Matthew Wright

    Excellent way to cut the laundry load. In our household, I’m in charge of it (my wife likes that idea, I think). The hard part is getting it dry before it rains, which it does a lot here in NZ.

  • Grace Cadenilla

    I was just about to do my laundry when I came across your blog. It’s so funny! Now, I have good reasons to tell my roommate why my laundry basket is never empty! :)

  • http://charlotteroseblog.wordpress.com charlotterose

    Ah – I envy you too. I swear my girls change five times a day. There is no tug-of-war in our house. Instead, there’s just me – plucking clothes out of the laundry basket and hurling them back at their owners with a shrill, “This isn’t dirty!!! Do you want me to spend all day every day washing?????!!!!!!”

  • http://becomingcliche.wordpress.com becomingcliche

    I’ve been gone all weekend, so I just now saw this! Congrats on FP!

    We have a laundry schedule. The two older kids do their own laundry because I can’t take it anymore.

  • http://randommango21.wordpress.com randommango21

    You’re funny :D
    Great post, and congrats on Freshly Pressed!

  • http://followechoes.wordpress.com followechoes

    You and me both. I’m not a fan of it either. Our washing machine always seems to be on. I swear I have got a bottomless laundry basket. Just as you get to the bottom it magically refills right back up again *sigh*

  • http://sportsandthecross.wordpress.com sportsandthecross

    haha funny but soo true! Great post, thanks for sharing and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  • http://marcys.wordpress.com/ marcys

    The bad news is, boys don’t outgrow their fondness for dirt. My 46-yr-old subscribes to the food-as-snack-for-later when it comes to his teeth, beard, mustache and clothing. It isn’t pretty. Me, I actually LIKE doing laundry, as long as the laundry room is clean. In fact, my own blog has a laundry picture and my signature poem is “I Write in the Laundromat.” It’s been published in dozens of places.

  • http://silvachiqa.wordpress.com silvachiqa

    Thanks, I needed that, I have been taking myself far too seriously. I have not been blogging, because I felt I had nothing worthy to share. That ends today, thanks again, keep blogging, and encouraging the likes of me. Totally funny stuff, cheers!

  • http://surrettconsulting.wordpress.com lsurrett2

    While your 8-year-old is waxing philosophical on the definition of clean vs. dirty and the various levels thereof, I think one day he’ll be president of the world. In the meantime, my 18-yr-old daughter’s room has to daily be put on the Health Department’s “Hazardous list”. Is it possible to condemn just a room of a house?

  • http://garden4therapy.wordpress.com gardengirl204

    Give your son another 8 years – my 16-year-old son now does his own laundry – daily – because I don’t do it often enough :/. I think he washes a week’s worth of t-shirts every day – the same ones. And I’m not sure what’s worse, the old smelly pile from 8 years ago, or the cologne bath he now takes before leaving the house.

    Love this post – congrats on being FP’d.

  • http://fromthedomesticbubble.wordpress.com domesticbubblewriter

    Excellent – I have two sons who are of a similar opinion!!

  • http://gravatar.com/browsingtheatlas Browsing the Atlas

    You will think I’m crazy for saying this, but I love doing laundry. It’s soothing to me. I hang it out on the line and then sit and watch the clothes sway in the breeze. In fact, I like it so much that one day my husband started carrying the basket of clothes outside to hang on the line and I raced ahead of him and took the basket out of his hands.

    I need therapy, don’t I?

  • http://facetiousfirecracker.wordpress.com Facetious Firecracker

    I love the irony of this subject matter being Freshly Pressed. :)

  • troismommy

    Too funny! I normally don’t despise laundry… I just feel like it’s my life’s work lately. I can’t imagine having more than three kids’ worth of laundry to do. I’d surely have a nervous breakdown. Especially since my dryer broke and I now have to dry clothes at the laundromat.

  • http://taliamarcheggiani.wordpress.com Talia Marcheggiani

    As a society, we’re too clean anyways. You can rest assured that your son probably won’t have food/seasonal allergies or an autoimmune disease. And, an added bonus is you have 90% less laundry to do.

  • http://fromtv2od.wordpress.com Washington, DC

    I’m thinkin’ this is absolutely hilarious. I can’t believe someone actually hates doing laundry more than me. HAH! It is a painful task. By the way, I loved the its not dirt if its food derived…too cute!

  • http://themorningmugblog.wordpress.com themorningmug

    I HATE laundry too! I don’t mind dishes, vacuuming…but laundry. BLaH!

  • http://bmoreenergy.wordpress.com naomimgruer

    Obsessively doing laundry for four kids (just trying to stay on top of that heap) has earned me the nickname “The Laundry Wench.” Since I’m a Renaissance-kind-of-a-woman, the name fits!

  • http://memoreaseorganised.wordpress.com memoreaseorganised

    Loved It! Thanks for the laugh!

  • http://www.bodhimoments.wordpress.com Bodhimoments

    How lovely! You sure your son has not met my husband?

  • http://lamentsandlullabies.wordpress.com saradraws

    I’d like to think that Sisyphus had NOTHING on the laundry pile of a family. That guy had it easy. You don’t drop socks on the way when all you have is ONE boulder to contend with.
    I have been tempted many times to donate any piece of clothing above the 7 pieces necessary to get through a week. Laundry machines are too small, as are laundry detergent bottles toddler clothes.
    Keep up the good, endless, soul destroying fight.

  • http://masalachica.wordpress.com Masala Chica

    I love the philosophical musings on “but what is dirt, exactly?” Keep on keeping on, sister.
    First time reader. Loved it!

  • http://projectpearson.com epearson

    Love this!!

  • Pingback: Tip Thursday: Scaling the Laundry Mountain « The Beige Blog

  • http://ragamuffinloveseat.wordpress.com/ Sarah

    I happened to stumble upon this, just after i huffed & puffed out of my bedroom from completing my weekly laundry, and completing the task (which i happened to have dragged out over 3 weeks) the dreaded putting away summer stuff/pulling out fall stuff/making a clothes donation pile. This was *just* the thing i needed to read after that laundry experience!

  • http://everydaytangents.wordpress.com Everyday Tangents

    This is great. I used to follow these rules with my gym clothes. Though my tenth rule would be “it’s not dirt if it can’t independently hold its own shape.” That is, if my gym shorts and shirts didn’t keep the general shape of my body when I took it off then it was good to wear for basketball practice! :P

  • http://suburbotypes.wordpress.com suburbotypes

    I loved everything you hate. That made me laugh out loud. For me, it is everything associated with dishes. Dish detergent, scraping dirt off dishes, putting them away, and the way everyone in the house puts their dishes in the sink instead of emptying it. Thanks for a fun start to my day.

  • Pingback: Laundry and Highly Irritable from Canada | Laundry Line Divine

  • http://reesespeaks.wordpress.com/ Reese Speaks

    Thanks for resharing this post! I have had this discussion with my eldest daughter a few times, too! My favourite example you shared from your criteria of what dirt isn’t was #1. You got to love when kids use your words against you to prove a point!

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