Picking Your Battles – or Surviving Laundry Day

Laundry DayRemember that saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff”?  It really is good advice. Learning to apply that philosophy was a turning point in my life, and I remember the inciting incident clearly.

I was a very young, inexperienced wife and mother of two boys. And yes, I was still under the delusion that (at all times) I could be a perfect wife and mother to my three guys. I was sitting on the floor sorting through the white clothes and grumbling to myself about the fact that I had to sit there and turn all the yucky, smelly, dirty socks, underwear and t-shirts right side out before throwing them into the washing machine.

As I sat there, frustrated, I decided to entertain myself by timing how long it took me to turn a pair of socks right side out…then I multiplied that times the number of days a week that I did laundry…then the number of weeks in a year. Of course I ended up with an enormous amount of hours – hours of time “wasted”, each year of my life, just to turn dirty laundry right side out again.

The more I thought about it, the more I complained (okay, whined) to myself. I’m not proud of this, but I began to think about the fact that no one really cared that I went to this trouble…that I was not appreciated. Yeah, I began to feel generally sorry for myself…
Then it hit me

I was right–the guys in my household didn’t care diddly about the fact that I did this tiresome chore. In fact, they just willy-nilly pulled off their clothes and tossed them into the hamper with no further thought about what would happen after that, right? I mean – these are guys we’re discussing here (sorry men if this offends you, I don’t mean it that way – it’s just that, well…guys are just guys) but I digress…so, I decided, if these guys could complete this act with such wild abandon, with no care about the outcome, just why did I think it was so important?

I mean, really!

Right then and there, I decided, “no more”.

I gathered up the dirty whites, just as they had been deposited–turned inside out, twisted like pretzels, wadded into balls, and every other fashion you can imagine, and plopped them into the washer. To my surprise they came out clean. So into the dryer they went (still wrong side out) and then I folded them (Still wrong side out) and laid them out for the guys to put away.

And you know what?

NO ONE said a thing!
Not one guy complained about their clothes being wrong side out. No one mentioned it at all. They seemed perfectly content to receive their clean clothes just as they were.

That valuable lesson, many years ago, has served me well. I save the big, important stuff to stress about–I mean, there is plenty of it around–but life is just too short to worry about wrong-side-out socks.

And the truly amazing thing is that I never once caught one of my guys wearing their clean clothes still wrong side out. Miracles – they do happen.

What’s your favorite Laundry story? I’d love to hear it!!


  1. JJ

    My grandmother was horrified if anyone in the neighborhood hung out sheets in any color but white; had something to do with what kind of people they were but I was too young to figure out much more than that. Her friend ironed her sheets and pillow cases and tablecloths. My mother ironed every blouse she ever wore, permanent press or not. I don’t even own an iron, and the sheets on my bed today are a red Imari pattern. Either I didn’t learn any lessons — or learned some things very, very well.

    Thanks for the great post, Indy.

    • indy

      I love this story! It brought back memories of my grandmother “letting” me iron handkerchiefs and pillow cases. I wasn’t experienced enough to iron anything else, I guess!
      And I say that you learned some things very, very well! :0)
      Thanks so much for sharing this ~

  2. Gayle Carline

    One of the hardest, best lessons I learned from my (happiest, this-is-the-one) marriage to Dale was that there are certain household things that are only important to ME, and that my priorities aren’t more important than his priorities. For example, he doesn’t care if there is clutter around. I do, but why should I demand it of him? If I want it picked up, I pick it up FOR ME. I also don’t care if his clothes are ironed – if he wants them ironed, he does it himself!

    • indy

      Thanks for sharing Gayle! I always love hearing about you and Dale and your abilities to adapt – you are so down to earth and such an inspiration! (and funny, too) :0)
      For those of you readers who don’t know, Gayle has two fun books that I loved reading: Are you there Erma? It’s me, Gayle and What Would Erma do?


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