Every once in a while Oprah airs a show targeted at a very, very specific demographic. It could be dog lovers, color blind scrap booking specialists, or even male Hannah Montana impersonators. Following the lead of the talk show deity, I narrow the focus of this column toward my fellow Mountain Reduction Specialists (M.R.S.).
Now if you don’t know the definition of a M.R.S., you should bring your column scanning eyes to an abrupt halt. After all, only those who have felt the anguish of gazing at a week (or two) worth of dirty laundry can empathize with the daunting task of reducing an extreme pile of clothing. With six people in my house, Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Everest, Mount Fuji, and Mount McKinley all co-exist on the same continent located adjacent to my washing machine. Every once in a while I must rise above the temptation to question: “Is that really dirty? They only wore it once!” As a result, I am researching the trade mark rights for the bumper sticker that will read “Angelic Mother … Laundry Witch.” How can a M.R.S. prevail?
I have tested many systems but have failed to solve the enigma of efficient clean clothes processing. For example, I purchased each one of my children (husband included) a soft mesh, color-unique, pop-up hamper. This savvy Bed Bath & Beyond move did allow me to gain extra time in the post dryer sorting regime, especially with socks. In addition, it made each child more accountable for depositing their dirty clothes in the proper place. However, the net effect only transformed one big mountain into a cascading range of medium sized mountains that would mock me as I dashed past the dryer.
I also experimented with washing only dark clothes on even weeks and light clothes on odd weeks. This system failed miserably as the kids complained about not being able to properly participate in dress up for St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and the Christmas school play. In retrospect, I should have planned that maneuver a little more carefully.
I even radically scaled back on their wardrobes during the summer months so that each one only could select seven outfits (one for each day of the week). When the seventh day came I would power wash. The only failure of this grand scheme lay in the fact that I planned to complete all the other stuff I couldn’t get done in a busy week for the seventh day also. Mission Les Miserables.
My next domestic M.R.S. trial and error will occur this summer. I will assign each person in the house a laundry buddy. Each buddy will combine their dirty clothes on a pre-assigned day and will jointly be responsible to wash, fold, and put away their attire. In order to avoid unintended side effects the buddies will be of different size and gender. This will avoid the embarrassing “this doesn’t feel like my underwear” scenario.
The laundry buddy system will require an even amount of participants. So, for those of you who want to try this out but currently have an odd number of occupants in the household, get married or have a baby prior to commencing this program.
I choose to wait until the end of the summer to officially finish this column. My hypothesis will be validated that the dirty laundry of our lives will continue to pile up no matter how much we procrastinate. A true M.R.S. will take one step (or load) at a time before things become too overwhelming. Alternately, it could be revealed that the best way to deal with dirty laundry is by delegating cleanup to the individual that created it in the first place.