You know things have reached some sort of crisis point when you start writing letters to your family from imaginary creatures...
It all started very innocently. Lolly Pop and I used to share doing the washing, before we had kids. Then because I was at home most of the time when they were small it made sense for me to be putting on the wash as part of the daily domestic routines (that makes it sound more organised than it really was). And even now, as the parent more at home, the one who does most of the drop-offs, and pick-ups, and clubs and general child wrangling, as well as working, the laundry is mostly my department. But as the kids have got bigger, and as their clothes have got bigger too, I realised that we have all fallen into some pretty bad laundry habits, and I need a bit of help. I have also realised that everyone seems to think that clean clothes arrive in their drawers, clean and folded as if by magic...So I wrote my family a letter.
"A letter from the Laundry Fairy...
Darlings, as I’m sure you realise, you are some of my favourite people in the whole wide world, but...
We need to talk about LAUNDRY.
Did you know that every week this household produces a minimum of 28 pairs of dirty pants and 56 socks? Add to that extra pairs of pants and socks for sporting activities, plus all the clothes worn for school, tennis, gymnastics, work, trapeze class and yoga. Not to mention towels to dry with and sheets to settle into at the end of a long day. That’s a lot of laundry. A LOT.
I am happy to do the laundry, its part of the whole ‘living together as a family’ deal. But let’s be honest; I’m busy, you’re busy, we’re all busy people. I cannot keep up with all this laundry without a couple of changes. Could I ask you, ever so politely, for a little help?
FIRSTLY, when you take it off... try this quick checklist:
- Is it pants or socks? Into the washing basket! (Fresh every day is a really good idea.)
- Does it smell? Give it a good sniff. Can you smell armpit, food or anything else yucky? Into the basket, please!
- Does it look dirty? Can you see pen, food or other muck on it? Into the wash it goes!
- Is it inside out? If it’s going into the wash, can you turn it out the right way first? I know this seems silly, but it doesn’t magically do this in the wash. I do it. Without the powers of magic.
- Has it got any holes or is it coming unstitched anywhere? If its socks then put them in the fabric recycling bag, I just can’t fix ‘em. If its other items of clothes please show me, I’m pretty handy with a needle and thread, but only if I know where to find the holes.
- Have you grown out of it? Please let me know, so I can work out whether to recycle, repurpose or hand it on to someone smaller. DON’T just put it back in the drawer or leave it inside out on the floor. Please.
- Does it have any oily stains on it? Did you drop curry, oil, salad dressing or pizza down your front? Again? Let me know before it reaches the basket so I can tackle it. After it has been through the wash will be too late, it will be an un-shift-able, permanent, forever stain to remind you of that curry/salad/pizza. Ugh.
- Empty. Your. Pockets. Seriously. Tissues, coins, stuff. All these things are bad for the washing machine, and super annoying for me, so leave them out, please.
- If your bedroom is not very close to the laundry basket, and your dirties gets left in your room till the next morning, maybe sometimes you could carry it down to the laundry basket? Just sometimes? Thanks.
- And if it isn’t actually dirty/smelly/holey/too small? Keep it in your room, tidily, and wear it again another day. I will thank you, the washing machine will thank you, the environment will thank you. Thank you.
Now, that wasn’t too tricky, was it?
After things have been through the wash you can lend a little hand, too. I quite like folding the washing, (I know, I’m a bit weird like that), but if you see a pile of clean washing on the sofa waiting to be folded, why not help the socks find their buddies? Even that little bit of help would be ace. If you see a pile of your clean, folded clothes on the stairs or in the basket, please put them in your drawers, in the right places. All this helps.
Also, if you are running low on clean pants or socks, or need something specific to wear for a particular class, activity or meeting please let me know in advance. I can’t magic things clean in the mornings, but I can do a quick wash the night before.
I am here to help, but I don’t have any magical powers. None at all.
Love from The Laundry Fairy*
*Obviously not a real fairy. If I was I could just magic everything clean."
My daughter just read the letter, laughed and said, "That's good, but I think we might need some more copies so we can each have the list to check."
Worth a try...
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