Laundry quandary

Here's a typical load of laundry at my house: 17 black T-shirts, all approximately the same size.

My sons wear black T-shirts all the time. My wife wears oversized T-shirts around the house or under sweaters. And me? I work at home. My whole life's built around T-shirts.

I do the laundry around here, and I follow the rules on the detergent box: Wash like colors together. But that inevitably results in one load that's all black cotton T-shirts.

Even under the best conditions (strong light, perfect vision), it's difficult to sort black T-shirts. I do it in the dim laundry room. Because I love a mystery.

Tags might give a clue, except that we mostly shop at the same stores, and a label that says "Old Navy" won't narrow the field much.

The teens' shirts often have insults or rock band logos or both displayed on the front, but the shirts are always inside-out in the laundry. I either have to turn them right, or peek inside to read the logo upside-down and backward. And then remember which kid likes which band.

I end up guessing. Various black T-shirts end up in various wrong drawers, only to cycled through the laundry again later. ("Hey, this isn't mine…")

In this manner, the T-shirts migrate around the house, from dresser to floor to washer to dryer and back again. Our shirts get around more than we do.

This might seem a minor annoyance, and it is. So, naturally, I've arrived at a grandiose solution that requires government funding:

Families should become color-coded. Each person would have a color that's strictly his or hers, and each family member would wear a different one.

Newborns would be assigned a color, and that would be their color forever. If they draw "green," then it's all green for them. Green clothes, green linens, green toothbrush, green everything. You name it. Green.

They don't like green? Tough. That's their color. They're green until further notice. They're green and that's it. They're green until they turn 18, and move out of the house and wear only black like the rest of the college students. But for now, one color per person. No givesy-backsies.

Color-coding would solve many household problems. No more sibling accusations of "stealing my favorite sweater." No more fighting over which toothbrush belongs to which child. No more trying to recall which sheets fit on which bed.

Laundry could be sorted in no time. Anyone (except the colorblind) could do it, and it would be easier to shanghai children into doing their own: "That's your pile there, Greeny. Get busy."

Imagine how cheery family dinners would be, with each person dressed in one bright color head to toe, and using the same color plate and cutlery and place mat. We'd look like the Teletubbies.

The government funding? We'd need a national publicity campaign to "raise awareness" of the simple Family Color Coordination solution. Then government should butt out. No need to take it farther than that. Congress shouldn't dictate that all moms wear blue, or every fourth child must wear yellow or whatever. That would be overreaching. Families should decide for themselves how to best approach color assignments, if any.

I call dibs on black.

No comments: