My Philosophy on Laundry

Note: Do you ever spend time on a writing assignment only to realize that you weren’t assigned the laundry post, you were assigned the post about messy bedrooms? No. Just me, huh? Whatever. Here is a post I wrote for BlogHer about how I am a laundry slacker.

My philosophy on doing laundry is entirely based on a two word phrase. “As needed.”

I’m not kidding. I wash my towels when they get yucky, I wash my sheets when they get dirty. I wash my underwear every time I wear it, but that is underwear. It touches my butt.
I mean it. I don’t have a laundry schedule. I have a big pile of laundry at the top of my stairs, a small pile of laundry in my bedroom and a medium sized pile in my laundry room.

My cats peed on the pile in my laundry room – this is how I know it is time to throw in a load.
See? As needed.

My mother loves to do laundry. I have no idea why. I guess we all have a pet chore. Mine is… okay maybe not everybody has a pet chore. I guess there is housework I hate less than the other domestic sciences, I don’t mind vacuuming. That isn’t to say I vacuum every day – or even once a week. Look – I hate housekeeping, that is why I hired a cleaning service. (This is also why I work so much, so that I can afford the aforementioned cleaning service.) The thing is that they don’t do my laundry. (or my dishes now that I think about it, but I would definitely pay more if they would. I hate doing dishes too.)

This brings me back to the whole “as needed” thing. I need to do the wash because my utility room (fine, basement) smells like cat urine. if my laundry room smelled reasonable I might wait until somebody ran out of underwear.

I’m not a total wash slacker. Once I actually get down to it I separate lights and darks. In fact, I usually have a white load, a black load, a blue and green load and a red/pink/purple/orange load. See? There is a benefit to waiting a long time. Load specificity.

Whatever it takes to justify it, I suppose.

Listen, it isn’t as if I am an organized human being with a laundry deficiency. I have no aversion to washing clothes I am just a generally lazy person and a procrastinator. I don’t have a schedule for anything – grocery shopping, car maintenance, doctors appointments, sex, writing, dishes, exercise, gardening, changing sheets – all as needed.
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  1. My list also includes showering.

  2. It’s not just you. I have a dirty dishes um problem, so my kitchen is always clean. The rest of it, eh.

    Even when I finally do laundry, I never put it away. My kids are always looking in piles for clean shirts. I taught them at very young age to smell it. If it smells like our detergent, it’s most likely clean.

  3. Yep, me too. I am over 40 and think it is perfectly ok to sleep with the load of towels I finally got out of the dryer piled up on the bed. Except that my do-it-now husband folds them to make room for him in the bed. Come to think of it, pretty good plan.

  4. I’m pretty sure the dry cleaning people will do you regular laundry too and fold it nicely like they do at The Gap and wrap it up in brown paper packages tied up with string. The problem with this solution is not really the cost so much but the act of lugging your dirty laundry out to your car. I’m not even sure I want other people handling my dirty underwear, I mean not if i have to hand it to them personally. Why can’t we just have full time housekeepers? How much does that cost I wonder?

  5. me too: as needed. and yeah, the benefit is that you get the black pile, the white pile, the blue jeans, the random and – only because of the girl child – the pink and orange pile.

  6. We do all our laundry on Sunday. If we run out of time (or forget) then it doesn’t get done til the next week. Hope we had time for all the socks! Also, sheets are at the bottom of the pile so they don’t get done on a regular basis either.

  7. I am constantly doing laundry, probably because my kids have only to touch a piece of clothing and it ends up in a hamper.

    Also, the cleaning service will change the beds if I leave clean sheets on them, so I do.

    But anyone who launders the towels every time they’re used? Has a serious problem. If I did that, I’d never get out of the basement.

  8. Sounds so familiar. And even when I do catch up on the clothes, the towels, sheets and other random things are always there waiting for me. I do love clean sheets, changing them…not so much!

  9. are you sure your cleaning service won’t do your laundry? have you asked? mine will for $7/load. i just have way to much to make that economical.

  10. Like a lot of people, I am VERY good at putting wash in the machine as soon as a hamper is full. I am also VERY good at trucking back downstairs a half hour later to put it in the dryer. What I am NOT good at is then bringing it upstairs, folding/hanging everything, and putting it away.

    Oh, the number of times my husband has said, “Hey, I’m out of clean socks!” only for me to say, “Oh no you’re not”, and bring up a pile of 700 unmatched clean ones.

    Yeah, he gets annoyed at me a lot.

  11. Because I am the chief laundry technician and also utilize the “as needed” method. “As needed” being defined as, dad is out of underwear.

  12. It would be as needed in our house if Ritch hadn’t taken over laundry. I’ve been banned from doing laundry (no, I am not sad about this at all).

  13. I prefer to think that I wait so long to do laundry because I’m waiting to get full loads of each of the color separations.

  14. oh shit. thanks for reminding me i have laundry in. i have NO schedule for chores and i hate them all. and i refuse to feel guilty about it.

  15. There are laundry services that wash and fold by the pound. It’s tempting. The thing is, they don’t put the stuff away.

    I wash consistently. There’s never more than one basket of dirty clothes. The piles of clean unfolded stuff have overtaken my home, though.

  16. I love the “as needed” philosophy and how you’re able to apply it to all facets of your life. I need that. Oh, hey, as needed!

  17. I consider it a win if the laundry I did on Sunday is put away by Friday. One of the few good things about having a special needs child is that some therapists come to your home. Every frackin’ week! So unless you cancel because your child is too sick for a productive session (i.e. laundry all over the dining room) then you have to tidy up the main parts of the house. Mind you, what I never put away is kid toys. Its therapy to have everything within reach.

  18. I hate cleaning! I vacuum a lot because I’m crazy but laundry is another issue. I will let it get so out of control that our bedroom will be sitting in at least three feet of laundry. I will wash & dry but putting away the laundry sucks ass.

  19. All women are in same position we all have to do household chores I hate laundry work :( nice article Just fantastic and mindblowing blog keep it up..!!!

  20. I like your philosophy – I’d also like a house keeper, a launderer and a kitchen porter! Yeah, me, I’m not so domesticated. It’s all I can do to put in a separate white wash and I pretty much do leave the laundry till someone runs out of underwear – I don’t have the benefit of a cat!

  21. My laundry hampers have not been empty yet this summer.

  22. My laundry is also on the as needed, the cat peed on it schedule too. WHY do the cats pee on the laundry? Also why does no one ever say “I’ve only got one pair of clean underwear left”?? they never tell you until they have NONE left.

    My husband bagged and hauled our laundry to the per pound place right after the baby was born – love that man – but beware it ran us about $150, some clothes like jeans and towels are heavy. Also anything white WILL be bleached, no matter what the instructions say. But it was really nice to have EVERYTHING clean…for a little while.

  23. I LOVE doing laundry. And washing dishes…by hand. Seriously. Something is wrong with me. Also, I feel I do an abnormally large amount of laundry. Of course part of that might be because I wash my sheets about 3-4 times a week because of…um…certain activities. I have three sets of sheets, but seriously? What is more annoying that folding sheets? I prefer to strip, wash & remake with the same set.

  24. Back in college, I used to buy more underwear rather than do laundry. Happy to say I haven’t done that in years–mostly because I’d have to buy the kids and my husband more underwear, too. Sort of cost-prohibitive at this point.

    Right now, I’m deciding if a shower is needed. And a cocktail. Also, dinner. So many things in life are optional when you get right down to it.

  25. I think we are the same person. Except I don’t have a cat.

  26. I do laundry at least every day. Laundry is the only chore I like. I’ll even do your laundry, provided you supply wine.

  27. DOing laundry isn’t so bad, since the machines actually do that part. It’s folding and putting away that suck.

  28. I love doing laundry. I don’t even use a dryer, I hang it out on the clothesline. In the winter I use a clothes horse to dry my clothing. I keep a hamper in the bathroom, and when it is full then I know I have about 2 loads of laundry to wash. I keep up on it and I like having the choices of what I am going to wear because all of my clothes are clean.

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