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Monday, August 27, 2012

Another Laundry Solution

A year and a half ago, I wrote this post in response to a friend's question.

Things have worked smashingly since that time. Kids forget their laundry days, but you know what? It's not my problem. I love it when their problems truly start to become theirs. They have, from time to time, had to come up with some creative solutions to those problems. That's even better. I love to watch my children's wheels turn as they figure things out for themselves.

The one problem I've had since we implemented this laundry system, has been trying to figure out what to do when a teenager, who has his/her own laundry day, has laundry showing up in the laundry I'm responsible for. This has been on-going and growing since I handed laundry control to the older kids.

At first, I thought I'd charge a quarter for every piece of laundry of theirs that I washed. That didn't work--at all. It was too hard to collect and keep track of who owed.

Then, I thought I'd charge them with extra work. I mean, since I was doing the work they were completely capable of doing, shouldn't they do part of mine? Well, that didn't work very well either. Some days are just too busy and then with so many, it's easy to forget who is supposed to be doing what.

This morning, as I sorted laundry, I found way too many items that weren't belonging to #5 on down. I know they were just some of those "Oops. Well, I just threw them in the laundry room on my way from the shower" kind of items, but still....

As I sorted through this, it hit me....The solution to this on-going problem. Here's what I've shared with my kids...

"I am happy to wash your clothes that end up in the laundry room. I am even happy to dry them, fold them and put them into piles, but I no longer make piles for children older than elementary school. So, I'm going to assume that, if your clothes show up in the laundry room, you have handed them down to #5, 6, or 7 or that you suddenly assume that your dad can fit into them. This is very nice of you."

Ah! Freedom! So, when my older children show up at things with no socks on, and my little ones are wearing huge socks and running around with assorted sock "mittens" and sock puppets to spare, you'll know that the system's working.

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