The Family Closet

I decided early on, if I did the laundry, then the children should be able to put away their clean clothes. I truly believed I was developing my children’s independence and sense of responsibility. So I devised a clever system for receiving and dispersing laundry.  The design was brilliant but not in the way I intended.  I created a three bin system for depositing soiled whites, darks, and delicates.  The plan specified that clothes were to be sorted by the wearer, after the sorted clothes were processed, I would situate all the shirts, jeans, dresses, etcetera on hangers.  Underwear, socks and sweats were folded and put into bins, clearly labeled with each child’s name. The hanging clothes were divided into sections on a large rod, which was installed over the washer and dryer, again nicely labeled with each person’s name. How easy would it be for the children to grab their bin and reach for the garments, which had been lovingly hung by their devoted mother, return to their organized closets, and dutifully put their clothes away?  

That was a sweet fantasy but what happened was the laundry room became the family closet. Like an industrialized nation, it progressed, and there was no way to reverse the trend. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to rotate the laundry, and surprised a naked child, searching their bin for clean underwear, “MOM!!! GET OUT!! I’M CHANGING!” Obviously, many things have changed. 

The children are now grown, and mostly gone, but it remains to this day a multipurpose room, harboring sick plants, soaking dirty tennis shoes, a place for private phone calls, but most fondly as the family closet, where we participate in a dry land baptism, stripping off the dirty, and slipping into the clean.  


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