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It Will All Come Out in the Wash

It Will All Come Out in the Wash

I sometimes think the laundry room is the heart of the home. I saw this laundry “schedule” on a plaque recently and it made me smile:

Sort: Today
Wash: Later
Fold: Eventually
Iron: Hahahaha!

It also made me remember the days when I did four loads of laundry a day, and if I took Sunday off, I was in big trouble come Monday. Raising four kids who were all athletes, including two daughters who thought wearing the same outfit three hours in a row was a breach of fashion etiquette, I sometimes felt like I lived in the laundry room. Which would have been nice if my laundry room looked like this:

Raney (01) 6-1-15

Alas, our laundry room was in the dungeon basement of the tiny duplex where we lived. It was painted my least favorite shade of green, and it shared space with a storage room and the kitty litter box. I spent a lot of hours in this rather depressing place. A lot. (And you’re not even seeing the dozen piles of dirty laundry piled on the floor.)

Raney (02) 6-1-15

Thankfully, all those hours spent in the depths of that dungeon, up to my knees in stinky gym socks, inspired me to teach my children how to do their own laundry. As I recall, our oldest daughter began washing her own clothes when I wasn’t able to do the job to her satisfaction. If I had a nickel for every time she told me—upon seeing clean, wet laundry piled on top of the dryer awaiting its turn for a spin—“Mom! Don’t you know a chain is only as strong as its weakest link?” So I figured since I was the weak link in the deal, I’d let her take over. And she did. All four of our kids left home quite adept at doing their own laundry.

With three kids down (aka launched to college) and only one still in the nest, we bought our first home. I was just sure I’d died and gone to heaven when we moved into a house with this bright, sunny laundry room on the main floor. I was almost sad that I wasn’t spending nearly as much time with laundry by then. Almost.

Raney (03) 6-1-15

When we moved again after our baby flew the nest, I wondered if we needed a laundry room at all! We were down to two or three loads a week, and we were moving to a city with laundromats! But the house we bought did, indeed, have a laundry room. No window, but it’s on the main floor, and it is lovely—especially after my sister painted it my favorite Sea Salt color. Our oldest daughter crafted me a wonderful “Wash & Dry” sign to decorate the wall, and I added a cozy lamp in lieu of a window. If I spend an hour a month in here, it would be surprising, but it is the room we enter the house through via the garage.

Raney (04) 6-1-15


I don’t miss those four loads of laundry a day, but I do miss the people who dirtied all those clothes. Maybe that’s why, when we visit our oldest daughter, now Mom to three rambunctious boys, and I see the weak link that is her laundry room, there’s nothing I enjoy more than diving in and washing, drying, and folding the clothes of people who are so dear to me.

Raney FI 6-1-15

But ironing? Nope. You’ve got to draw the line somewhere.

By: DEBORAH RANEY’s first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title and launched her writing career after twenty happy years as a stay-at-home mom. She is currently writing a new five-book series, The Chicory Inn Novels. Deb and her husband, Ken Raney, recently traded small-town life––the setting of many of Deb’s novels––for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita, Kansas. They love traveling to visit four children and five grandchildren who all live much too far away. Visit Deb on the Web at .

Join us at for our parenting blog each Monday-Friday and for info about the Just 18 Summers novel.


  1. Awww… How sweet. Now why don’t you come for a visit so I can be caught up on laundry for once in my life!

    • 🙂 I just might do that! But why don’t you come to MY house first.

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