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Why Clothes End Up Next to, Never Inside, a Hamper

You know what I hate seeing in my kids’ bedrooms? Dirty clothing lying next to the hamper.

Not in the hamper. Not far away from the hamper, discarded beside the bed or in the bathroom or in some random corner of the living room. But next to the hamper—sometimes mere centimeters away from where their dirty laundry belongs.

I can't be the only parent whose otherwise talented and intelligent kids "can't" perform this basic chore, right?

In my frustration, I’ve determined that one or more of the following situations must be turning this very simple task into an insurmountable challenge for my children.

When I say, “Please put your clothes in the hamper,” they hear, “Please put your clothes next to the hamper.”

Perhaps they hear, “I love picking your clothes up off the floor” when I tell them I hate it. Perhaps they hear, “All I’d like this Mother’s Day is to see four pairs of your underwear strewn in a circle around the laundry basket” when I say, “Just take me out for brunch. Or get me chocolate. Okay, wine. Just get me some wine. I mean, your presence on this earth is gift enough, you don’t have to get me anything. Did I mention that wine?”

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They know how important exercise is to me: they’re just making sure that I can get in my squats for the day.

Rep 1: pick the socks up off the floor.

Rep 2: get the wrinkled pants into the hamper.

Rep 3: slide the sweater a whole two inches into the basket where it belongs.

Rep 4: pick myself up off the floor because I am done with these shenanigans.

If the hamper were empty, or bigger or more inviting, they’d get the clothes inside of it. Easily.

Note to self: invest in a maid and a laundry basket the size of the Atlantic. Preferably one that gives you hugs and a mug of hot cocoa when you successfully place your dirty clothes into it.

I need to be a stricter parent.

Maybe I can refuse to do their laundry until they get all their clothes into the hamper.

On the other hand, I have at least one child who would simply wear dirty clothes every day. Including dirty underwear. That won’t do.

They’re boys, and boys will…

…no, don’t even start that sexist crap with me.

When they miss a “basket” with a balled-up t-shirt, it doesn’t bounce or roll back to them and then it’s just, you know, so hard to get the rebound and take another shot.

That’s not even a first world problem. It’s a “watch me laugh as the tears run down your face because that is the laziest thing I’ve ever heard” problem.

They’re taking some sort of hallucinogenic drug which makes them see a hamper that is 10 feet wide. With arms that scoop up dirty laundry from the floor. And a smiling face that says “thank you” whenever they toss their clothes wherever the hell they want.

And they take this drug every evening at bedtime. And right after soccer practice. And before and after showers. And any time that they might encounter a hamper.

They give approximately .00003 shits about whether their clothes are on the floor or in the laundry basket.

Well, obviously. But this doesn’t explain why they continue to leave their clothes next to the hamper. Or does it?

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My children are smart, compassionate, curious and kind. But perhaps they’re also a bunch of lazy ingrates.

But a mother should never say or think that about her children.

Or should she?

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Image via Kristen Oganowski

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