This is a nuts-and-bolts post about being a mom, laundry, and packing for a trip. Because I'm always behind on laundry, that's always where I have to begin. For starters, here is my laundry room:
Ha!!! Just kidding! This is it. I have a "laundry nook" that is about 5 feet wide, and contains a washer and sink, but no dryer. I am lucky enough to have a dryer, however, it's about 15 feet away on the other side of the room...Not sure where they were going with that....
Anyway, I'm doing a lot of laundry as I'm preparing for a three week trip with all four kids. We'll be staying in a hotel--courtesy of the fact that we can tag along with my father on business, and with just an "upgrade fee", we can get a 2-bedroom suite. Now don't get me wrong, it will still be cramped, because there are still only two beds (for 7 people!) But we took this same trip last year, and it was great. I just considered it to be "better than camping," and that made me thankful for the hot water and lack of mosquitoes, and less focused on the cramped hotel, kids everywhere, and sleeping on the floor. The other thing that puts the experience leagues beyond camping is the in-house laundry facilities! So, while we're at the hotel, I like to throw in one load of laundry each night.
Now, about me and laundry: I'm a laundry sorter--always have been. (If you're not a laundry sorter, then no need to read further!) My mom was (and is) meticulous about sorting the laundry into at least several different types of loads, usually to the tune of: lights, darks, whites, pinks/reds, and delicates. That's a lot of different loads! I know some moms who swear they get around this completely by washing all their clothes together on cold. However, this has never worked for me. The clothes still all seem to turn out gray-ish pink, and they don't get clean--especially the kids' clothes, which have caked-on dirt, food, grass stains, and worse. Those need a hot water wash. So, I follow my Mom's old protocol of running many different types of loads, and washing them accordingly.
Anyway, back to my packing adventures. As I packed for our last trip, I tried an experiment that (at first) seemed crazy. But it worked, and I plan to do it again. I packed only items that could be washed in two separate types of loads. And they had to work for ALL FIVE people, including two little frilly, princess-y girls, and two rough-and-tumble, football-playing boys, and, of course, moi. So, I was surprised by what ended up evolving, but it worked!
I only packed items that could be washed in either a "pink/red" load or a "darks" load. That's it: no white t-shirts, no yellow shorts. If the item was not red, pink, orange, black, gray, denim, or something similar--it was not getting packed!! I was ruthless, but it actually worked! It meant that the boys could pack any t-shirt that was red or black. Any jeans or dark shorts/pants worked just fine. The girls could bring along as much pink as their hearts desired, and I got to bring my gray yoga pants, orange tank top, and my little black dress. We even packed underwear that was (you guessed it) black, pink or red. Black sports bra? Check! It was easier than I thought it would be.
This time, we have the added "complication" of being there over the July 4th holiday, and my kids want to dress "patriotic." No problem! They'll be wearing red and navy.
And now.....I've created this compelling Photshop masterpiece for all you Doubting Thomases.