Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Teen Boys Mismanagement of Clothing

Oldest Son's laundry receptacle. He does pretty good job getting dirty clothes actually into the container versus the floor.

"I'm Done." Mommy with Commuter Husband (me) said with finality.

The topic prompting the declaration (this time) was "Teen Boys Mismanagement of Clothing." The offenses took on several variations and include but are not limited to:
  • Usual and customary is the lost clothing item which is typically a jacket but could be other things too.  
  • Missing clothing that we KNOW is in our house but cannot find when needed. Of course, this is frequently some vital sports accessory so we are sent into a search frenzy ten minutes before walking out the door to the targeted sports event.
  • More often than not, I find an article of clothing belonging to one of the boys in their school's embarrassingly huge pile of abandoned clothing put into parent view on conference days.
  • And there is the random bag find which means we have found clothing in some backpack or suitcase that was left there since goodness knows when!
  • A recent development is that the four people in our house wear similar sizes in certain types of clothing. Thus our closets and drawers often contain misplaced apparel. The weekly housekeeper, that we are fortunate to employ, tries to determine the right person but she cannot possibly know. Commuter Husband also seems challenged in figuring out what belongs to whom. My pleas to the boys to return items to the proper owner when found go ignored.
  • One teen, not to be specifically identified, seems to wear three times as many clothes as the rest of us creating surplus washing.


For years and years and years .... we have utilized financial consequences as well as rewards to encourage or punishments to ... well ... punish.

At this point, it was clear that a different approach was required.

Oldest Son and Youngest Son are now doing their own laundry every weekend. They first gather then separate into colors followed by spraying the stains. The washing stage includes detergent and fabric softener and bleach if needed. Drying requires determining what to hang dry (almost everything!) and what goes in the dryer (not much.) The final step is putting away their own clothes in the appropriate places in their rooms.
Youngest Son's laundry basket number one. So why is his stinky soccer uniform on the tile floor two feet away?!??
Youngest Son's laundry basket number two (yes he has two.) Similar results in that dirty clothes are all about ...


We are about one month into this paradigm.

"I hate doing laundry!" has been heard to echo through the house once or twice. Who doesn't?

Even so, we are pleased with the outcomes so far. Some of the household work distribution has shifted from parent to child - whoop! The boys are doing a great job and willingly accomplishing their laundry tasks each week. Nothing has been ruined in the laundry ... yet. There has been almost zero confusion about where clothes are or are not. And Oldest Son and Youngest Son are learning a valuable life skill.
The dreaded Laundry Room.
I am a total weirdo about hanging clothes to dry. Oldest Son and Youngest Son are stuck doing it my way ... for now. 

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