Monday, September 22, 2014

From the Tiny House Files: The Laundry Is Multiplying!



     It happens every three to six months. I will have a marathon laundry party, then find that when it is all clean at the same time, it doesn't fit!
     Generally, it's the younger children's clothing that seems to multiply in the laundry basket. Somehow, as I am sorting through a closet, I come up with 25 complete outfits, plus extra shirts. Always with the extra shirts! There are often, I don't know, three or four shirts to each pair of pants or shorts.
     How does this happen? I go through the clothing twice a year making sure that there are 10 outfits per each child, with two extra long sleeve and two extra short sleeve shirts. That's it. We live rather casually, dressing even semi-formally for only a few occasions, so just one dress-up outfit suffices. Really, who needs more than seven changes of clothes each week? We keep ten because things happen. Paint, clay, bleaching, grease (which I have finally learned how to take out. You can find a link to the incredibly smart blog post about that at wegotreal.com ) , excessive dirt that must be changed out of for an evening activity, etc.
     If each person in our household wore all ten outfits each week, we'd be washing 90 sets of clothes! That's besides bedding, towels, and cleaning rags. Now, imagine that all of the expected laundry needs to be done, plus another fifty or so articles of clothing that have been dumped on the ground while a child is searching for something specific, left and trampled on, then eventually stuffed into a hamper.  We don't have room in the house for that many clothes! When there are FOUR tall hampers overflowing with dirty laundry, plus five smaller baskets overflowing with clean laundry, the washer and dryer are both running, and there are still clean clothes in the closets, that's a problem.
     It baffles me sometimes because I spend days going through our outsized clothing bins in storage, making sure that every stitch of laundry is done in order to accurately move the clothes from one season and size to the next. Our house looks like the backrooms of a second hand shop! It feels so good to have an abundance to choose from. Knowing that through other people's generosity either directly to us, or donations to thrift shops where I can purchase great quality items in fantastic shape, is a blessing! Rarely are we desperate to clothe our younger children.
     So, I do it all again. Sort through, count up the outfits, put the excess away for the next sibling up. Recently, however, I have found an activity just as exciting and full of blessing as receiving hand me down clothing for my children. Giving some away! The younger two are growing, as they should, and there aren't any behind them. The girl's clothing is often in excellent shape as her sisters are 7 and 14 years older than she is. I don't hold clothes for seven years. Baby girl's clothing usually comes from people that have one girl, or from a consigment or thrift store. She usually gets brand new tights and shoes.  It's lovely to be able to put aside those excellent condition clothes and bless someone else.
     We are at the point right now where summer weather isn't quite finished, we're still having eighty degree afternoons, but fall weather is imminent. There are shorts and summer tees fighting for space with the sweaters and hoodies. I'm looking forward to another round of closet cleaning. Already.
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