Hello, welcome to the Melis School of Parenting and Housewifery where everything you learn will be done the Hard Way!
Today's lesson: Taking Time To Sort The Laundry
Objective: Discover the many benefits to sorting the laundry BEFORE you wash it.
Alright, the way I deal with laundry is this: I take clothes off of various people or find articles of clothing in various places. It either goes directly into the washing machine or directly into a pile that goes INTO the washing machine. Doesn't matter if it's white, dark, delicate, etc. Doesn't matter to me. If it's cloth and the tag says I can (erm, and sometimes even if it doesn't), I will put it into the washing machine. I measure (sometimes) some amount of blue goo, chuck the cup into the machine (so that every last drop of goo makes it into the water) and add some amount of purple goo to the column in the middle of the machine. Set to whichever number grants me the most time before I have to deal with any of this again, and go. I do not look through pockets, I do not turn things inside- or right side-out. I do not pre-treat (unless it's REALLY bad) and I do not really care.
Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeell, the other night that bit me in the rear, big-time. I was getting the kids ready for bed in the living room, stripped them all, changed diapers, etc. and sort-of scooted the whole pile of discarded diapers/clothing/burp-cloths, etc. into a corner of the room to get in some last-minute, pre-bedtime dancing with Jack. Once the wee ones were in bed, I scooped up my pile, located the balled-up Pampers from the girls and put those in the Diaper Gene (next to the washing machine, of course) and tossed everything else into the washer and followed my routine.
Some number of minutes later, I opened the lid to put everything into the dryer (on low heat, again, all in, don't care) and realized that something was very
You see, in that random pile of crap from which I extracted TWO disposable diapers, was a third... a cleverly disguised diaper. It was Jack's Pull-Up. He'd been having some issues with doing #2 in the potty so I let him wear a Pull-Up. Didn't really think much of it. But now that I was staring into the machine, I was hit by the realization that you don't ball up Pull-Ups because there are no Velcro-y sides. So I never felt it like I did the Pampers. I didn't remember it was there.
I washed it.
Disposable diapers are full of super-absorbey balls of... stuff that become super-sticky balls of... stuff when they're wet. And if they get too wet, the diaper material that holds them in breaks and they get out. And under the vigors of things like "Spin Cycle", they get distributed throughout your entire load of laundry. And then you're left with a load of laundry glistening with sticky little stuffballs at 10:30 pm.
What did I do? Well, I threw everything in the dryer, of course. (See above: "on low heat, again, all in, don't care".)
My reasoning was this: sticky wet stuffballs are impossible to get off when they're wet. Maybe I can dry them out and just shake out the laundry and all will be good, no big deal. So I set it to some setting that allows me the most time (again) before having to address the problem and went to bed.
I opened the dryer and realized that super-absorbey stuffballs-turned-super-sticky stuffballs become super-crunchy stuffballs that feel quite a bit like dried paper when they're run through the dryer. So a good number of them ended up in the lint screen, and quite a few still clung to the clothing and were easily shaken loose (yay for proving a hypothesis!) but I did nevertheless have to spend some time picking the crunchy stuffballs off of things like socks and fleecy blanket sleepers etc. What I couldn't pick clean, well, I just tossed that stuff back in the washing machine to see what happens. So we'll see.
BUT what the take-away from all of this is: if I took just a FEW minutes to sort laundry, I would have come across the offending Pull-Up, realized, "Gosh, this isn't a pair of Buzz Lightyear underoos!" and avoided this whole bunch of baloney (because I now have a laundry room floor covered with crunchy stuffballs to clean up) in the first place.
And, I wouldn't end up with CLB* to the extent that I do because things would ALREADY be sorted and I wouldn't have that extra step preventing me from folding and putting away. Besides, maybe there would be the added benefit of using as an excuse: "I can't run this load of laundry because it's not a full load... guess I'll have to wait"...
*Chronic Laundry Buildup
So, you see, beyond running white in hot, dark in warm and delicates in cold, pre-sorting the wash would probably save me more hassle than it would create.
There you have it: simple lesson learned the hard way.
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