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KidTip: Don't be so quick to put those dirty duds in the hamper

Dscn2811 I really let my kids get away with murder. They don't make their beds. Ever. I do give them the evil-eye every time they kick their shoes and socks off in random places all around the house -- which of course leads to mismatched shoes and much frustration trying to find a matching pair when getting dressed. It isn't a big problem with socks, however. There seems to be this trend in my 6-year-old daughter's school of wearing mis-matched socks. Maybe like Michael Jackson's one sequined glove, but hopefully the mismatched socks thing won't lead to other weird Michael Jackson-esque habits. And although it has the potential to drive me crazy on a bad day, the kids always take off their clothes at the end of the day leaving dirty t-shirts, skirts, jeans, underwear, etc. in little heaps mostly in their room, sometimes trailing into the bathroom, or often the hall. You know how you are supposed to pick your battles as a parent? I guess I've never chosen to die on the hill of dirty laundry piles, mismatched shoes and unmade beds.

Today being the first day of summer break, we didn't have to rush to get out the door. So I took a little time to sort through the piles of clothing in their room. And I discovered a bright side to this little dirty clothing problem. It's that I get a second chance to remember to spot treat their clothing before throwing it into the hamper (and if the spots are taken care of, the clothing stands a chance of getting handed down to another person). I also get a second chance to decide if it's even clean enough for a second wearing, or third, or fourth. Thankfully, my Thing 1 and Thing 2 are young enough to not get very stinky. Sometimes they even manage to make it through the day without their art project or meal ending up on their clothing. Lastly, we are not weirded out or driven to wash everything after just one wearing. There are people who can't deal with that.

Evidently, it's one of those cases of seeing the glass (or hamper) half empty or half full. If you can stand the piles of clothing that are somewhere on the continuum of being clean and dirty, you'll save a lot of water, laundry detergent and perhaps some parental grief in just letting the kids throw it on the floor. It mostly works for me.


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