Laundry: To Fold or Not?

“Fold the laundry,” was a familiar mantra of my mother’s when we’d come home from school and there would be a few chores we did before starting homework or eating dinner. And one of us four did it; another put away. Someone else might have made the salad or swept the floor. No big deal, really.

But folding laundry apparently is one of the most despised tasks, creating a niche for manufacturers to invent machines to take over the dreaded chore. Get yourself a “Laundroid” and the job is done.

Almost. You still have to collect the laundry, load the washer and dryer, and put clothes away. And for many, that folding chore and putting away have taken on new appearances.

I’m perfectly happy to fold laundry. Now with only two of us in the house and not that much laundry a week, it takes a few minutes. I’m not worrying that the time spent folding could be spent learning a language or otherwise increasing my intellectual prowess. When the kids were home, I enlisted them to help, assigning them the “sock helper” title and they honed their matching skills. We’d sneak a baby t-shirt inside their father’s drawer, just to be silly.

Curious about the changing attitudes toward folding, I conducted a very unscientific poll among my sisters and daughters-in law.

It only takes me about 15 min to fold a load.  Don’t know what all the fuss is about.  Have to unload/load the dishwasher too. What’s the difference? (one sister, mother of 3 grown children)

Hahaha I like our method (which they actually mentioned briefly), which is where we have a bin of clean clothes, which we dig through every day. If I have extra time I’ll sometimes even throw the clean clothes into everyone’s correct drawers (obviously still in a ball). We do at least two loads of laundry A DAY. On the weeks we are busy and don’t get a chance to wash during the week we have the laundry machine going literally all day on Sunday – we usually just do the “everyone dig through the clean clothes bin” method – it’s a form of family bonding as we help each other find sock matches. 🙂 (daughter in-law, mother of 4, ages 5 and under)

Show me a machine that can sort the family’s laundry, then fold, and then put in the correct drawers.  Then I’ll take it. 😉 (daughter in-law, mother of 3, ages 7 and under).

My other sister said her husband obsesses about laundry and folding. A friend reported she folds her own and leaves her husband’s in the basket for him to do. Her children folded their own since they were 11.

And so it goes. Everyone does something different. Habits and methods change. My mother used to iron pillowcases and my father’s handkerchiefs; I don’t. Technology contributes wonderful inventions – a laundry-folding machine isn’t one of them.

What about you? To fold or not to fold?

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About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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18 Responses to Laundry: To Fold or Not?

  1. I actually like doing laundry, even folding it and I like doing the dishes too! I hate cleaning windows and washing walls Lisa. ❤
    Diana xo

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  2. I enjoy folding towels. Easy and quick. Shirts and polo shirts were always harder but once you got the knack it was quick.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. susanissima says:

    I love the meditative quality of doing the laundry, and the sweet smell of freshly washed clothes, towels and bed linens. Need a bot? NOT! By the way, have you seen the new Amazon video series, “Humans”? The synths (human-like robots) do all the housework, including cook, childcare, and much, much more!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I hate folding. For me it’s all about hanging out on the line in the sun. Folding off the line good – folding out of the dryer, not so good!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love hanging the wash out at my parents’. I don’t have a line in NJ– just not enough room and no one does it. I do it in PA sometimes but so many trees there it can take ages.
      Yes much more fun to fold from the line.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. lisakunk says:

    Since I do not iron…shutter at the thought of it, my husband or I make a mad dash to the dryer when it sings. I hang most of the shirts and some of them while wet so often it’s just socks and pants in the dryer at folding time. Lot less with our four kids either married or in college. Two are home for the summer and they both help or do their own. They’re used to doing their own now at college. Nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. mercyn620 says:

    I try to get clothes out of the dryer and folded and put away, otherwise too wrinkled – and I don’t like to iron. But admit was not so conscientious when kids were home.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Margaret C says:

    I’m with the sister who compared folding laundry with emptying the dishwasher. Actually, I’d much rather fold than put dishes away.

    Favorite laundry memory: When sons got to be a certain age, I would leave their hampers of clean clothes in the basement for them to carry up to their rooms. One (nameless) declined to schlep, but would zip through the kitchen and down the stairs in the mornings wearing a towel to grab the day’s outfit from his hamper.

    In principle, I’d love to hang things out, and did for a while in NYS, but you’re right, nobody seems to do that in NJ. Here in Wisconsin, we just have 2 lines, AND I’m not motivated to carry everything up from the basement, so just a few things go out.

    Happy summer, Lisa, and watch out for bears!
    fondly, m

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a funny post, Lisa! I don’t have strong feelings about folding laundry. As with any mundane task, it can be therapeutic. I dump my laundry out on the bed as a reminder that it needs to be folded. Sometimes Thom and I do a frenzied folding just before bedtime, and sometimes it goes back into the laundry basket at the foot of the bed. We are such unpredictable creatures!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes, I dump on the bed too- but in a different room than our bedroom! So it can stay there a day or two if needed. I don’t see this craze taking off really– who has room for another large appliance?

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  10. Marsha says:

    I have to say that I enjoy folding and putting laundry away. When we were kids, Mom left all the laundry in a pile on a table in the dark, dank basement. You can imagine what happened to them. I love having my washer and dryer handy, take it out, fold it and put it away. Twenty minutes tops. If I do five loads in a day, it’s 100 minutes away from my desk writing or doing other chores. No biggie. 🙂

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  11. lisakunk says:

    Just want you to know I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Award. Check out my latest blog (not shared on facebook this time) for all the information you need to know and to accept (or not) this nomination. I’m a fan. Lisa Kunkleman at https://lifestoriesandbeyond.com

    Like

  12. Leah Singer says:

    This may sound odd, but I don’t have much to fold. I will fold the pants and shirts I wash. But I hang the majority of my clothes. And I never bother folding socks or little things.

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