Teaching teens the art of laundry. I've never heard it put quite that way. I have four children. Three teenagers and one who thinks he is. The first step is to help them understand clothes do in fact need to be laundered. I didn't wash any socks for a week once, I didn't have to, they never took off the socks I gave them at the beginning of the week. It's not that I am a bad housekeeper or an inattentive mom, believe me, the smell of teenage feet is enough to drive you out of your own home. I was trying to prove a point. It didn't work. It never does. All I got out of it was stinky socks.
The second step is getting them to bring the soiled items into the laundry room. If not reminded, my children will have laundry piles tall enough to climb. Not long ago I was near giddy when I checked the baskets and found barely enough for one load. I thought I had a do no laundry pass for the day. I made the mistake of checking their rooms. I spent the next five days sorting, washing, drying and folding. No fluffing. I don't fluff. Heck, I rarely even sort half the time.
Okay, the third step is teaching them how much laundry to put into the machine. My daughter, sweet kid, a little on the "my favorite color is fluorescent clear" side of life, but sweet, actually did a load of laundry once. She said she was just trying to help. Turns out she just wanted to wear a certain pair of jeans, even though she had twenty thousand clean pairs in a pile on the floor in her room. I exaggerate, slightly. I would never have known if it weren't for the strange sounds and overflowing water coming from the laundry room. She had stuffed that thing so full of clothes it's a wonder the lid closed. When all was said and done she told me they needed to be washed again because she had forgotten to put in the detergent.
Fourth step, clothes need to be removed from the washing machine and placed in the dryer. I had a load of wash going one afternoon and needed to run to the store so I asked the kids to put the clothes in the dryer when it was finished. Sure thing mom, no problem, will do. The next evening the smell of wet clothes left too long in the washer filled the room. Sorry mom, forgot, I was gonna do it but I thought he already did, well I thought she was gonna do it.
Step number five . . . wait, I need to add something to step two. Check the pockets. I do not enjoy washing crayons, hot wheels, pens, pencils or gum. I don't mind laundering money though. That just sounds wrong, anyway, I am on my way to becoming independently wealthy thanks to all the loot they leave in their pockets. Alright, back to step five, once the clothes are in the dryer and the lint trap has been cleaned the timer must be set. The right setting is always a plus, towels to not dry quickly on the fluff cycle. Listen for the buzzer and neatly fold what needs to be folded, hang what needs to be hung, match up the socks and put it all where it belongs. Yeah right. Be careful to give very clear instructions because for some reason they sometimes think you said wait until the clothes are all wrinkled then throw them on top of the dryer, stuff the socks in a basket next to the dryer, take what belongs to you and don't forget to leave the light on when you go.
On to step six, forget it, there is no step six and steps one through five take ten years to sink in. In all seriousness, laundry is important, the cleaner the better I always say. No I don't, I don't really say that. I do try very hard to teach my children the fine and noble art of laundry and I have faith they will one day be quite skilled in the care and keeping of clothes.
This was written several years ago . . . the kids are older and I am sad to say none the wiser when it comes to all things laundry but I have not given up hope . . . who the hell am I kidding. I have. I've given up. Teach them when they are two, when their spongey little brains might just absorb the training :o)
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