In a household of "7" filthy people, there tends to be a lot of laundry, my sole responsibility. Each step of the laundry process, and we all know that it is a many step process, is just fine with me, except the last step, the ‘putting away’ step. It is not uncommon to find all seven of my laundry hampers full to busting at the top of the stairs. For some unknown reason, probably mere inefficiency on my part, this is my perennial stumbling block. The very best thing to do with stumbling blocks is to blast them into outer space.
Personally, I’m sorely tempted to convert the garage into a holding pen, fill it full of racks and shelves, and house everyone’s clothing in one spot, right next to the washer and drier. This would streamline matters considerably. Since the average American already uses the garage for storage purposes, with cars parked out on the hard drive, we would just be that little bit ahead of the curve and start a whole new trend.
I think it would also foil burglars who would break and enter through the weakest safety point in the average house, the garage, and would then be distracted from the task at hand by a tempting display of clothing. It’s a trick used by most store keepers, put the most attractive items near the entrance to lure in the punters. By the time the burglars have picked out just the right size, style and colour, the police will have arrived and the game will be up.
But I digress.
Here is where the art of delegation comes into play. What is the point of having children that create work if you can’t tap into their ability to contribute towards the smooth running of the family unit? Call it child labour if you will, but if we ever hope to develop independence in our children, it’s a step that’s hard to resist.
Here I must confess my main objection to teaching my children independence, namely, that they do not meet my exacting standards when it comes to putting away the laundry. This is why a few little visual pointers can help them navigate the way and keep them on the right washing line. Labels my friends, labels. If your children can read, then all well and good. If not, then little icons or PEC’s help smooth out the bumps and indirectly save on ironing. Folding is well beyond our current skill set but hangers work well.
I’d like to don my environmental hat and cut down the laundry, wear clothes more than once or dab off stains like my mother used to do whilst the occupant is still inside. I’d like to curb the three or four changes of clothes whilst they attempt to approximate the costume of their favourite characters, but at the same time, I am also dumbstruck by this extension of pretend play. Suddenly they’re happy to attempt dressing. They’re motivated enough to overcome some of those fine and gross motor challenges. Do I really want to choke off and stifle such tender new growth?
Sadly, although we started this new campaign over 18 months ago, what with one thing and another, I have let matters slide. However, that’s no good reason why we shouldn’t start again, renew the campaign and continue to tackle our own particular mountain, or failing that, "regroup" and take "cover."