Before we get into this I have to start with some real, if you don’t currently have a clean clothes couch than this post is most certainly not your cup’o’coffee.
You can just click away with your awesome self because nothing I am about to say is going to resonate with you on a level so deep that you start believing that we are cut from the same cloth.
If you heard about the clean clothes couch and you’re like – woman, that’s what the dining room table is for! Or maybe you use that treadmill you bought with the expectation that by now you would be nothing short of a marathon runner (the kind that are like gazelles and gracefully fly through the course as the rest of us normal folk round the 19 km mark on our first half marathon …) than you are my people.
Please, grab your reheated coffee and let’s talk about the greatest little tip of wisdom I received from a mom one step ahead of me. The kind of mom you should reach out to here and there when things are getting funky at your house and you need someone who is a kindred spirit but has been through this mess and survived (even if she is in her own new mess).
We need to lead other moms, other women, through the trenches and so I wanted to share some wisdom with you.
Alright, so a tiny bot of context.
I used to sort and fold all of the laundry in our home – as you can imagine with a family of 6 – four of who are under the age of 5 and all boys … we have a lot of laundry.
Anyway, I would dedicate an afternoon nap time almost twice a week to folding and sorting the clothes that had piled up over the days on our clean clothes couch.
It was getting to a point, however, that I was far enough along in my fifth pregnancy that I required a crane to get up off the floor and folding, sorting and doing the regular routine was just not cutting it.
At this fateful moment when I was stuck on the floor wondering why on earth I was sorting, folding and allowing my butt to go so numb I began to doubt I would feel it even a week from now, that a girlfriend called.
We chatted for a while and I decided I needed to commit to getting up, as I groaned a sound that was so guttural a could hear the snort of laughter from my friend despite her best efforts to remain cool, she asked what I was doing.
LAUNDRY, always laundry.
She chuckled and asked a couple more questions. The conversation turned into an interview before I could see where she was going with it. It went something like this:
Her: How often do you do laundry.
Me: Everyday pretty much, but I only fold when we can no longer see the couch or we’ve completely run out of clean underwear and the boys digging through the pile has set my nerves on fire.
Her: Do you sort and fold everything.
Me: Yup, by child and then by article of clothing … all the pants together, shirts together, PJs together and then the boys put it all away.
Her: What does it look like after you’ve folded it but trusted them to put it away.
Me: A mess, I don’t know why I bother folding and sorting.
Her: Then why are you still doing it??
There was seriously a long pause as it sunk in. Why AM I still doing all that? What does it matter if the boys pick clothing that is mismatched or wrinkled? Who is judging me? Does their opinion of me mean I am a bad mother?
It took me like 15 minutes to do then what I should have been doing from the start. I unpacked ALL THE CLOTHES. I’m talking ALL of it, from the four organization bin things we had for the boys (each boy had his own mini plastic dresser and GIRL, the drawers were forever pulled out, the clothing was shoved in wherever it fit … how did I not think of it sooner).
I mustered the energy to drag the chest of drawers from the nursery into the boys room.
I PURGED so many items. So many items *shaking my head* >> WHO needs 10 pairs of jeans!? Seriously!!!
I let the boys pick their favourite shirts and then I shoved the minimized wardrobes into drawers. One for the underwear and socks (which I never pair up BTW) and then one for each child.
The change has been extreme!
I sort the clothing now and the boys put all of it away, does it matter that it is shoved into the drawer? NO! Except in that, if it is overflowing still, then I may consider getting rid of even more of the excess.
Does it bother me that the stuff they chose to keep doesn’t match – NO, they are children for goodness sake. When I was a child I was dressed head to toe in hand me downs that were supplemented with Wal-Mart specials (PS – when I was a child Wal-Mart clothes were OBVIOUSLY cheap, it was a mark on the family if you shopped there).
I get it, if you have one or two children and you enjoy a matching set of little ones, if it bothers you when the clothing appears wrinkled and your children are the special kind that don’t actually MOVE … or PLAY in their stuff … then by all means, wash, dry, iron, fold, and put them away *ps, we probably aren’t friends if I just described you … and you probably aren’t reading this post …*
But if it bothers you when you kids haphazardly toss their clothes in the drawers, or if you get anxiety when they pick their own outfit, tossing shirts, shorts, socks left and right and then piling it all together in the wrong drawers, OR if you were just waiting for someone to tell you FINALLY that it is OK to reduce the amount of clothing options you have and just put all of it in one place.
Here you are.
You DON’T HAVE to sort, fold, and maintain a drawer for each child and for each type of clothing. It can all go in one drawer unfolded and ready for your child’s selection of attire.
Keep it real moms, as your children grow up they will eventually learn what looks together, what fits, and how to keep their drawers more organized. They will start to develop an appetite (possibly) for being more clean or orderly (possibly) and then again, they may grow up to be like your husband who can’t seem to hit the laundry basket with the dirty cloths if his life depended on it, who tosses all his clean laundry in whatever drawer he can squeeze it in, and who proceeds to wonder why he can’t find clean underwear, socks or his favourite shirt even though you INSIST that all the laundry has been done.
^^ hopefully, we can raise better children than that *wink* it is our aim isn’t it!