This is my fourth installment of "below the radar" things I have noticed and learned by being the at-home caregiver. Now, although I have written about laundry activity before, such as in How Do I Fold A Camisole?, I've never dealt with the nuance of the male approach to laundry. So, if you're curious of what goes through our minds read on.
It's been said that guys know that it's time to do laundry when they're down to having to wear last year's Halloween costume. And, there's an element of truth to that because men are just, well, we're men. We're the ones eating soup right out of the can, not heating up left-overs before we eat them, and enjoying the sports that create smelly locker rooms and gym bags. So, with that background, I'm not sure if it's our increased familiarity for a little dirt or a mild odor that transfers into how we accomplish the sorting activity in the laundry room, or if it's just our desire to do less work.
When you think about it, one of the great things about doing laundry is the ability to be the ultimate judge of who makes the cut and who doesn't. Grass stained knees? Okay, yep, some pre-treatment and you're going in. A perfectly fine pair of jeans with no visible stains or dirt that was worn during a day-long car ride? Nah. You're going back on the hanger to live through another day my friend. A shirt with a milkshake stain on the front? Yep, hop on in, you made the cut. A shirt that was worn the night before for an hour while watching TV because you were too cold in your short-sleeve shirt? No way. Back in the drawer for you. I guess that's laundry lesson #1 that I've learned: Everything in the dirty clothes bin 'aint dirty.
So, why do most people just toss in everything? Because it's easier. After all you're there, the clothes are there, and the machine is there. "It's all right here," you say, "and I'm not stopping to take things back and put them away." I understand. I just don't subscribe to that theory. Part of that is driven by laundry lesson #2: the folder/sorter trumps all.
My thought process is this: I'm taking my time and effort to sort and fold everyone's clothes and I'm happy to do it with those clothes that are dirty…but I'm not going to create additional work for myself. The rejects get put right back in the folded clean clothes and no one is any the wiser. One benefit is that you can go longer between washings and a second is that those favorite 'gotta-have-them' items seem to almost always be available.
However, I have my limits. Lots of people subscribe to the sniff test. I'll pass. You're at a whole 'nother level if you're sniffing crotches and socks. To me those are givens to be dirty. Nothing but smells come from those areas. But jeans and pants and tops and shirts are all fair game. And men, women already do this. Most wear their bras multiple times before washing them (so I've been told) so why not their jeans? You would think they would apply the rule to the whole of their laundry. I do. Wash an' Wear needs to actually be Wash an' Wear…and Wear again.