When I was expecting our fourth child and was (yet again) weakened to the point of being an invalid with sickness, my sweet husband took up the task of laundry. One day he came into our room with another load of clothes that needed to be folded, flopped it on the bed and said, (as if this thought had never occurred to anyone else), “This laundry NEVER ends!”
It still makes me smile.
Some things you have to see for yourself before they really break into your thinking as really and undeniably true.
And so it is with a simple, but practical thing that I have done for years, that has, I believe, changed the dynamics of our family… and the laundry.
First of all, I divide and conquer. I realized early on that it was always easier to do the baby’s laundry because for some months I kept it separated from the rest of the family’s laundry. It made folding, sorting, and putting it all away so much easier to deal with one child’s laundry at a time that I decided to do it for all of them. At first we used boxes because I couldn’t afford to go out and buy a bunch of hampers. Later we graduated to “tubs” (those plastic storage tubs sold everywhere) and we still use them 20+ years later.
They’re magic. They hold about a week’s worth of laundry for each person – about a load of lights and a load of darks. You can put folded clothes right back in them and carry them to the dresser where they belong, unload and stick it back in place to collect the dirty clothes again. So beautiful.
Little bitty kids can put their dirty clothes in their tubs – we always started when they started walking. Later then can learn to put their clothes away. (This does, I admit, take a much longer time for some reason – 18 years on average is my experience.)
Everyone has an assigned laundry day, but since we’ve been many, I’ve had to do more than one person per day. Occasionally if there aren’t enough clothes in one person’s light or dark load, I’ll put them together. But to avoid looking at a million t-shirt and underwear tags I wash a big kid’s clothes on the same day as a little kid’s clothes, or a boy’s clothes on the same day as a girl’s clothes – this way it’s obvious whose things are whose and I don’t have to wear glasses to do the laundry. I’m lazy that way.
It works. It’s simple. It makes laundry in my house of many manageable and easy.
BUT, that’s not all.
It has also provided an amazing benefit that I never would have believed if I hadn’t seen it for myself.
Now that I found myself doing laundry for one person at a time, I’ve been able to use that time to pray for each member of the family in a concerted and purposeful way. Now I see each tub that the kids bring to the laundry room as a load of prayer requests. They know that each load of care will be taken to the throne of grace. Sometimes they don’t know what to ask for, but they know I’ll pray for them. Sometimes they don’t want to ask for anything, but they know I’ll pray for them then, too.
So, while doing laundry this way may not be a profound household tip – praying for your family members while you do it could bring about profound changes in your household. Because while the laundry never ends, neither do the loads of care that you will be able to carry to a Mighty God through prayer!