The Burden of Laundry Inspires a Return to the Simple Life

There is something about laundry that puts everything about life into perspective.  After spending a few hours doing six loads of laundry for my three boys, I started to reminisce about my own childhood growing up in Jamaica. All my clothes could fit in one drawer.  I had two shoes - the first was my school shoes and the second was my "good" shoes.  I wore the good shoes to special occasions, such as weddings, funerals and other special events. 

The same was true for clothes.  There were quite a few dresses that were not worn because they were being saved for a special occasion that did not come. Sometimes, shoes were saved for a special occasion only to find that it no longer fit my growing feet.  I was not alone; most kids in my community were having the same experience. We knew that we didn't have it all but we were grateful for the few things that we could call our own.

How did we handle laundry? Well, that one, maybe two school uniform was hand-washed and pressed a few times per week and I went off to school looking clean, neat and wealthy in spirit.  Conventional wisdom tells us that more material things result in happier kids and a easier life for parents.  If the kids have a different outfit everyday, then the parents will only have to do laundry once per week.  If the kids have more toys, they will be happier.  Well, my kids are blessed with a room filled with toys and they ignore most of them and concentrate on one or two.

The kids return to school in August so August is a great time to return to the simple life.   All the toys that have not been played with over a two week period will be given to charity.  If they only play with a few toys, why not give another child the opportunity to play with the rest.  Recently, I have attended  a few birthday parties where the kids (likely with the nudging of the parents) asked for a donation to their favorite charity or supplies for a charity such as the Ronald McDonald House.   I have mixed feeling about this so I usually bring supplies for the charity and a small gift for the child.  However, I do believe that this is a step in the right direction.

As for clothes, I am seriously considering giving away all but eight days worth of clothes.  We probably do not need more clothes that what we would take on a week's vacation.  Frankly, I don't know if this will make the kids any happier but it will definitely make this mommy's life simpler.