Mike Julianelle, the Brooklyn dad behind the popular @DadandBuried, shares his take on why kids have so much laundry.
I don't really have a question; I have a problem: laundry. I have two kids under 8 and I've barely seen them all summer because I’ve been loading and unloading the washing machine and dryer. Why do kids have so much laundry? Oh, and I do have a question: Can you come fold it for me? I'm tired. –Meghan, Bay Ridge
I feel you.
I also have two kids, one is 10 and one is 5, and they generate an almost supernatural amount of dirty clothes. At the risk of sounding like a bad parent, my kids aren't even particularly active. They prefer to play video games, read books, and build LEGO sets to going outside. My 5-year-old is downright dainty! The dude won't even eat Doritos lest his fingers get yucky, let alone go in the backyard and dig or whatever we used to have to do back before tablets. And yet, somehow, he still needs three outfit changes a day!
This was one of the hidden perks of last year's quarantine. We all mostly sat around in our pajamas all day and had a lot less laundry to do. No, my kids didn't get to see their grandparents, but I wasn't spending my nights only able to half-watch Tiger King because I had 800 pairs of dinosaur socks to match up.
We live in Brooklyn, and despite the (small) backyard I mentioned, we don't have a ton of space. My wife and I share a closet and a dresser, and we manage—mostly because neither of us has bought any new clothes in a solid year and a half. Meanwhile, my kids have continued to accrue new outfits. It’s almost like they’re feeding their clothes after midnight or something.
Among them, they have countless superhero shirts, 11 pairs of jeans (and every single pair inexplicably has holes in both knees even though we bought them last week and the most strenuous thing they’ve done in them is play Minecraft), multiple bathing suits for some reason, and tons of hand-me-downs from other families who actually buy name-brand clothes for their children. As a result, my 5-year-old has more hip outfits than I do. It's almost like he's the Cher of Brooklyn, switching into some new elaborate outfit as he goes from “I Got You Babe” to “If I Could Turn Back Time” to “Believe.”
Despite your claim that you aren’t looking for advice—and the fact that we are in the exact same boat, so I have none to give—this is an advice column. I feel obligated to offer some sort of solution. So here you go: If you want to have less laundry, have fewer kids!
I know, I know, that’s not funny. But I honestly can’t think of any other way for parents to lessen the laundry load. Maybe just buy a set of potato sacks that can be re-worn and tossed out every week or so. At least you don’t have to fold those. Which reminds me: No, I will not do your folding for you. The folding is the worst part!
Read more advice from Dad and Buried: