Need parenting advice- laundry mess

tvguy

Question anything the facts don't support.
Joined
Dec 15, 2003
DH is starting to throw a fit because he just can’t understand how a family of four has almost 8 loads of laundry a week. That is a lot.
Only 8 loads a week? When our kids were home there were some weeks we did 20+ loads a week, 3 loads a day. Family of 4. Kids had school uniforms, their clothing for baseball/soccer and then what they changed into when they got home. DW and I had work clothing, gym clothing and what we changed into after the gym. And the doesn't include PJs and sheets.
 

DLgal

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 12, 2013
I like this idea in theory and it's working for your family but I've been doing my own laundry for many many years and honestly how much dirty clothes I have varies and changes all the time. In the summer yuck I'm washing things more frequently because you're stepping outside and you're a sweaty mess but then when it's cooler less so. Sometimes we've got a ton of activities especially on the weekend and then other times we're mostly homebodies.

I know for your children there's a different component but with both my parents (which somehow they both were like this rare) they just taught me to do laundry and that was it, there was no controlling when I did and didn't do laundry, no "you must do it on this day" because that wasn't how our lives were or how many loads I could do in a week. Laundry just didn't pile up on a schedule. But I think the tools were there to make it work. No one just controlled the washer and dryer all the time, you worked with everyone not against everyone.

I suggested the schedule because the situation in the OP requires a significant level of intervention.

Obviously, you can adjust the laundry schedule to accommodate changing situations. It was just a rough outline of how to get things under control.
 

DLgal

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 12, 2013
I also agree that 8 loads a week for a family of four isn't a lot. That's what we do. But that includes everything.
 

Bianca and Bernard

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 12, 2015
So I have a 15-year-old DD and DS 16. I am attaching a picture of what our typical bathroom/laundry situation is. DH is starting to throw a fit because he just can’t understand how a family of four has almost 8 loads of laundry a week. That is a lot. Especially, see below, how the kids treat their clothes. There’s no way to tell what his actual laundry and what can be worn again. There’s really no overview on what’s really dirty and what is not. Yes we are a family that does try to wear outside pieces of clothing more than once. Attached is our downstairs bathroom and the one upstairs is the same. The kids will take off a piece of clothing and just throw it in the bathtub or on the floor and as you can see the laundry basket is right there. Or when they actually do use the laundry basket they’ll throw in something that doesn’t need to be washed yet. So I’m trying to think of some strategy here. Get them to realize how much stress their mess is causing me. I’ve done enough yelling and threatening. So what would you do?

My one thought this morning is that I no longer do laundry for them. I will give them each two laundry tabs - that’s the contingent for how many loads they can do. I have a feeling if I don’t do that they’ll just make piles in their bedrooms and not sort them out and just throw everything in the machines and in the end have actually more loads of laundry per week. They just need to learn how much additional workload this is causing all of us with their disorganization, laziness and how they handle their clothes. My DD is a complete other challenge because she’s the type that likes to change her tops three times a day and just throws the ones she already had on before wherever she happens to be. I could also go the route of collecting whatever is lying about the house and charging money to get pieces back. I don’t know any ideas?

I stopped doing my klds laundry when they were about 14. They also cooked at least once a week, had daily and weekly chores (besides their bedrooms), and required family time.


For our family of 3, we do 4 loads of bedding (from 2 beds, comforters are each one load); 2 loads towels (I make the loads smaller, so they clean and dry quicker); 2-3 loads of clothes for DH and myself (heavier clothes like jeans, lighter clothes like undergarments, and misc if needed) and 1-2 loads from DS (and about the same for each girl, when they were at home). The clothes loads are all small loads; it seems like it's a lot of laundry, but it's not. I do get the towels from him (and when the girls were here, from them) when I do ours, because I'm a nice mom.
 

barkley

DIS Veteran<br><font color=orange>If I ever have a
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Apr 6, 2004
i'm thinking back to when our household was 4 people-2 f/t working, 2 f/t in school. 8 loads a week was the minimum i was running-

2 loads of towels minimum-everyone showered/bathed AT LEAST once a day/twice if yard work/other physical activity/going out in the evening, so that was at least 28 bath towels and 28 washrags at the lowest end.

1 load of bedding

2 loads of 'sports wear'
- kid's gym clothes, sweat pants we wore as comfies...

2 loads of whites minimum

2 loads of colors minimum

1 load of 'dedicates' minimum
(not nesc. delicate clothing but stuff i prefer to do as a separate load in colder water and initially air dry b/c it's prone to shrinking or pilling up).

winter required more loads b/c people layerd up clothing wise, were more apt to wear socks, needed gloves, beanies, scarves run every week or so and migrated to wearing their fleece pajamas which required separate laundering from traditional sleepwear (fleece is a hair/dust magnate so i wash it separately to keep it from transferring fuzz and such to other clothing).

THAT SAID-

i look at that bathroom and it hurts. i went through the same battles with my kids over how dh and i have a level of expectation on how ALL rooms in our homes be maintained, their rooms included-despite their desires, those rooms are in the home dh and i own and they WILL be maintained in a safe, healthy and accessible manner (a former friend, a fire fighter was injured responding to a fire in a home that had a bedroom floor clutter with clothing and odds and ends, i once wrenched my back tripping over items in one of my kid's rooms-that established the 'clear floor' policy).

op-only you know what collateral you hold with your teens. are they the type that will respect your directives (or your dh's)? if not then there have to be some type of consequences put in place. for some it's the loss of the clothing, for others it's the loss of some type of privilege. you know best what works with your kiddos-but you have to put something in place b/c either you have a whole lot more bathrooms such that you can afford one entire tub being a hamper or you are stuck clearing that tub repeatedly (and praying noone outside the household ventures in there).


good luck-let us know what happens.
 

cedricandsophie

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 8, 2014
My adult daughter with Down syndrome has been doing her own laundry since she was a teenager. She has a hamper in her room. The hamper for my husband and I is in the laundry room. When it overflows she knows it’s time to do laundry. When my two step daughters were living with us, they were both responsible for their own laundry. If it ended up on their floors, oh well. As long as their doors were shut I didn’t know or care. If they ran out of clothes, not my problem. If they run out of clean underwear a couple of times, it’s a life lesson.
 

PollyannaMom

I was a click-clack champ!!
Joined
May 16, 2006
If you're able to throw a little money at the problem, I think the first thing you need is a home for all those "in between" clothes that have been worn briefly, but could be worn again before being washed. They're likely leaving them on the floor out of indecision more than anything else. I suggest something like this in each kid's room:
615699
along with a very strict discussion that the mess will no longer be tolerated. Tell them in no uncertain terms that Items to be washed must be placed in the hamper and items they are unsure of must be hung on their hooks.

I agree that giving away items still left lying around will end up haunting you in the long run, but I'm definitely all for bagging them up and not returning them 'til the end of the month or something.
 

tvguy

Question anything the facts don't support.
Joined
Dec 15, 2003
Hogwash. Machines these days are impossible to purposely break. They are full of sensors and whatnot and will simply shut down if they are overloaded or unbalanced or have too much soap or whatever.
Fabric softener in the soap tray, or vis versa, you are looking at a repair call. And wrong setting, ruined clothing.
 

Lilsia

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 17, 2018
Our kids have a hamper in their closets. We have always had the rule that you don't leave your clothes in shared areas. So if you want to dump your clothes on the floor in your room, that is fine, but don't leave it in a place where other's are. Our coats are in the hall closet. You are the adult and you should stop allowing them to leave their clothing where you don't want it. If you want them to put their dirty clothes in a certain space, then tell them that those are the rules and if they can't follow the rules, whatever you find in a common area will be now yours to do with what you want. They are old enough for you to talk to them about what you want and have them follow your wishes. We have them put their hamper with their dirty clothes in the laundry room on laundry day or they can find a time to wash their own. Your post is a good example of why parents should make their rules clear from a young age. If they grow up thinking something is a certain way, then it is normal behavior for them.
 

Gramma&Papa

Earning My Ears
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Feb 28, 2021
I totally get why. She doesn't want the washer and dryer broken! I'm 64 and I'm only allowed to touch the washer and dryer with written instructions.
This reminds of when I was traveling out of state a lot for a year helping an older relative. Inevitably, I would get the phone call from DH that started with “I’m standing in front of the washer with a load of (sheets, lights, darks). What do I do?” My answer always started with “from left to right, select…” Eventually, he put notes on his phone that he could refer to so he didn’t need to call any more for instructions.
Btw, our pantry also had rubbermaid containers with different kinds of rice all of which had cooking instructions on the side.
 

DLgal

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 12, 2013
Fabric softener in the soap tray, or vis versa, you are looking at a repair call. And wrong setting, ruined clothing.

No one should be using liquid softener anyway. It's a great way to shorten the lifespan of your machine AND your clothes.

Nevertheless, if you can read you shouldn't make that mistake often. The different trays are labeled. If you mistakingly pour bleach into the soap tray in my machine, you can simply lift out the tray and dump it. And if not, remove the clothes and run a machine cleaning cycle instead.
 

Weedy

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 2, 2008
Good luck. Teens are hard and then they’re gone. Believe it or not I loved when my
kids came home from college and brought their laundry.💕
My wonderful son is now married
My daughter is working her first job. I never knew how much fun it would be having adult children 💕💕
As I said in my PP I was the mean mom and fussed at them to clean up. When they were at college they complained about messy roommates 😂
 
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ronandannette

I gave myself this tag and I "Like" myself too!
Joined
May 4, 2006
Fabric softener in the soap tray, or vis versa, you are looking at a repair call. And wrong setting, ruined clothing.
You seem like a pretty clever guy. Is there any reason to be worried that you'd put softener in the soap tray or use the wrong settings? :confused:
 









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