As we venture down the learning the art of laundering road, a family meeting is critical. Just last week, I asked TTO to transfer some of his camp clothing from the washer to the drier and was barraged with push-back, “Not the laundry TOO!”, “Is this part of that blog thing??!!!”, “This must be Mrs. Silva’s fault!” (He knows I admire her approach to chores.)
Even though I dreaded crossing this bridge as much as he, the reaction (and let me just say, he wasn’t the only one) confirmed our need to plunge into the water and learn to swim in Lake Laundry. Goggles on. Nose clip and ear plugs in place (for obvious reasons). We’re diving in.
As with a few of our other chores, step one begins with ….
Our laundry room is more of a laundry closet. A monumental step up from our last house, the space is pretty small. Since we have no closets downstairs, I use every available space to pile “extras”, many of which are not essential. Our laundry “room” is off our kitchen (and has a door) – so it hosts whatever overflow can’t find a spot in a kitchen cabinet (or trash can). Then, the “out of site, out of mind” adage takes over. An old art project from school could find respite for months, maybe years.
Decluttering has been one of the keys to success in our equipping activities. I’ve noticed that with the kids, the less clutter the better (… okay, so maybe with me, too. I guess I can chalk clutter control issues up to offshoot of my procrastination recovery efforts). The other fact of the matter, considering the extra “stuff” and space size, only one body can fit in our laundry room. So decluttering is necessary.
Step 2: Strategize.
Thanks to great advice from our MOAT community, I’m giving the kids 2 options, both of which start with each child taking one day a week to wash, dry and put away clothes or towels (no sheets or bedding).
1) On their assigned day, they handle whatever laundry needs washing. This would hone skills of serving each other, foster teamwork, but also open the blame door (I can hear it now, “Where are my black shorts??!!” directed to brother or sister. “It was YOUR day to wash…. MOMMMMM!!!”) and offer ample opportunities for pity-parties (“He only had to do towels. I had to wash four loads of shirts, shorts and UNDERWEAR … EEWWWW!!”)
or 2) they can have a day when they wash their own items. The buck stops with them.
At this point, I like option 2… seems like the path of least resistance. Maybe one day we can mature into option 1.
Step 3: Implement.
We’ll start on Tuesday. The World Cup thwarted my Sunday decluttering efforts. So Monday’s my day. I’m planning on pretending like we’re moving. Sometimes I try to trick myself in order to really clean things. Our living room gets much better tidy time if I act like guests are coming over. … Aaaahh, the little games in life.
Step 4: Incentivize.
I’m not having much luck sticking to the $1/day while I keep adding jobs. I’m thinking I might add a buck each day they launder their loads. This will take them to a whopping $34 per month … if, by some chance, they fulfill their daily obligations (bed, bathroom clutter, bathroom cleaning and room clutter). Any suggestions are welcome :)
FYI, don’t be fooled into thinking we’ve got it all together over here. I’m so far from perfect in keeping the iron to the fire on our efforts, it borders on pathetic. My problem?… I’m a fairly laid back person. “Type A” would never be used to describe me. So, it’s hard for me to stay on top of all the jobs. I’m trying to remember that my goal in the effort is to equip rather than enable… to teach them the very real and applicable benefits of hard work. Perfection is (and really never should be) the goal.
The further we move from the “serve me” environment so prevalent in homes today, the more I am convinced that it is critical for us take the bull by the horns family by family. I think we would like for apathy to be a political or governmental issue. But the only effective way to curb it is by starting at our own address. Teaching our kids that life, abundant life, really isn’t about them, but about working to the best of abilities (as we are each divinely gifted to do) and serving. Equipping and hard work (although counter-intuitive on the surface) actually remove the burdensome chains of entitlement that strangle rather than give life.
For now, I’ll step off my soap-box and get on to the duties at hand. Clutter busting and laundry. Two of my all-time favs (NOT! :)
Thanks for walking the road with me.