I have been doing laundry for other people for over twenty-two years. It can wear on a woman. For the last ten or so, I have embraced the art of cutting corners where I can in an effort to preserve my sanity.
Take my laundry room (please). I will gather the dirty clothes. I will sort them, wash them, dry them, fold them, and put them away or at the very least on the end of the owner’s bed. This task alone can be time consuming enough; I’m pretty sure I have given a solid decade of my life to the Tide Gods.
I draw the line, however, at matching socks.
Every parent knows that as soon as you have a child, something mysterious happens to socks. Much has been written about the sock vortex that forms in households across the globe once you start laundering those tiny, goldfish cracker-sized infant socks.
No matter how diligent you are, no matter how careful, socks will disappear. And if by some miracle they don’t, your children are there to remedy that. Socks are pulled off while sitting in shopping carts or strollers. They are discarded in the third row of your Suburban, only to be recovered months later covered in the coagulated remains of a long-lost sippy cup.
I’m here to bear witness to the fact this doesn’t change when they get older. I recently found a discarded and well-worn sock on my pantry shelf. If my maternal forensic decoding skills are still sharp, it appeared that my eleven year-old went in for a light afternoon snack of chips, fruit snacks, turkey jerky, and a juice box and was so overcome by the weight of additional clothing on his feet, he decided to shed the offending article (that bore the distinct eau de boy which is a cross between stale corn chips and sweat) and leave it for me to find as a courtesy. Next to the newly-emptied box of fruit snacks, of course.
My children are givers that way.
My strategy for socks is they all go into a giant bin in the laundry room. It’s up to the kids to cull through it each day. Only once has this bothered me. I was watching one of my sons play on the school playground, and noticed a rather tattered lacy ankle sock of his sister’s peeking out from his pant hem, and a baggy tube sock of his father’s pleated beneath the other. It didn’t deter me from switching up my method, however; I simply purchased a few packs of appropriately sized socks and waited for the cycle to repeat itself.
It’s important to draw firm boundaries when running a household.
My girls became so inured to wearing mismatched socks it stopped registering with me until a friend of mine called. She said her daughter had come downstairs for breakfast in egregiously clashing socks, and when she instructed her to go back and change, her daughter protested, citing my daughter’s footwear habits as something the cool girls did.
My ineptitude as a laundress was spun into social gold, thus forever cementing my policy of no matching socks.
So, PlanHero Nation, what corners are you willing to cut to save yourself time? Please share your tips in the comments.