My youngest daughter is a cleaning maniac. She has 4 children. She's been known to do dishes at 6:30 a.m. and to drag out the rug shampooer multiple times in a week due to the occasional spill or a 3 year old that has taken to "marking his territory" behind the left arm of the couch in the toy room. Never has another species of God's creation ever had so much fun with urination as the 3 year old boy.
I swear she was not this tidy when she lived at home. In fact, their room (the one she shared with her sister/s) was notoriously a mess of epic proportions. She says this started when she had her first child and didn't want to be the mom with a messy house... ???!!!! (I would have appreciated this kind of conscience when they lived at home and I was constantly closing their bedroom door to prevent guests from seeing the heinous crimes of filth that were taking place in there.)
I believe parts of the cleanliness illness started while she was in the army. It was while she was in the army that ironing was introduced to my youngest. When she came home, she ironed (and starched... yes, I said starched) her t shirts, she ironed her jeans, and to this day - you will not see a neater looking t-shirt in the tri-state area. (There is apparently no correct way to spell tristate/tri state/tri-state) She visited her single sister and was overcome with a desire to iron the clothes that have a permanent residence in the clean clothes basket. Her ironing board is set up in the living room... at all times.
Let's take a trip back... back into time... I'm younger and less dimply, and look tremendous in the midst of those wonderful 30's, putting various teenaged apparel into the washer when I realize that some of the clothes are folded.
"Are these dirty?"
"They are folded. Why are you folding your dirty clothes?"
"We aren't. You folded them."
"I folded them when they were clean."
"Well, they were on the floor, hanging out with the dirty clothes... so... they are dirty again."
I'm trying to be a clean, non-cussing blogger... so we will leave my reply up to your imagination. Please be sure to include in your imagination that I had 2 teenaged daughters still at home, and that they wore at least 2 different outfits every day. My eldest daughter would've been considerate enough to rumple the clothes thoroughly before putting them back in the hamper. Consideration is relative term in the world of teenaged daughters.
Here is a great place for a sock tip. You know how your kids always lose one of their socks? Perhaps you have kids that fight over their socks... one child shoves all of her dirty socks under the bed, the other one puts only 3 pair in the hamper and then a loud physical altercation takes place when both claim ownership of the 2 1/2 freshly laundered pairs of socks (no matter what, one sock always wandered off)... I wrote her initial on the toe of each sock, then provided safety pins to attach one to its mate before dumping into hamper - you have no idea how long it takes to match socks for 3 teenaged girls when each deposits only 1/2 of each pair into the hamper and then one screams because she has one of her delicately worn and not at all ever smelly blue socks paired up with one of her sister's big stretched out smelly, she wore them outside on the porch, blue socks. Voila - tattoed and matched up. It was a thrilling 30 day experiment, after which I had to buy more safety pins because they mysteriously disappeared without a trace. Your mileage may vary.
"Hey, I was putting your clean clothes on your bed and I stepped on something in there. You girls need to clean that room, I'm breaking stuff that I'm sure is buried at least 4 inches deep!"
"Didya hear me?!"
"Oh, yeah. It's ok."
"How do you know it's ok? You don't even know what I broke."
"Well, it's the "on the floor" rule. We decided that if we step on something and it breaks, we don't even look at it. If it was important, it wouldn't be on the floor, so no sense in looking for it and maybe finding out it shouldn't have been on the floor."
The one time they work well together and this is the result.
If this sounds unbelievable... OH YEAH!!! I was hit with stone cold disbelief, thank you very much! I paid for that crap that was no longer even worth looking for! I had wondered why so much stuff was piled permanently ON the foot of their beds. I thought perhaps they had some weird thing they were going through where they needed to sleep up close and personal with their most beloved worldly possessions. Nope - just the last safe place in the room.
So, about 5 weeks ago, my baby girl gave birth to her youngest son. We were sorting clean clothes on one of the days that I stopped in to help out.
"Ok, the clothes with green marker on the labels go in this pile to get ironed, the ones without are play clothes and go in that pile." She instructed. "I iron all of the adult T-shirts."
Her children are - boys ages 4, 3, & 1 month, and a girl of about 16 months.
"You iron the kids' clothes?"
"Only the ones I hang up."
"You hang up size 3T clothes?"
"Only the ones that aren't play clothes."
"You iron this Penguins T-shirt?"
I just didn't know what to say to that.