Household chores rank right up there with the toilet seat position when it comes to causing discord in a family.

Okay, so I don’t actually have a scientific study to back that up.  Let’s just say I have strong anecdotal evidence supporting the theory.

Shaking out who’d be responsible for which household chores was a long, arduous process that I imagine every couple who lives together works through.  Not fun, not without the occasional bickering, but extraordinarily necessary because stuff’s gotta get done, you know?

Over the years we’ve hammered out a system that works pretty well in our house, with the exception of interruptions due to illness or travel.  Those things can really throw a wrench in things…but otherwise, after twenty years of marriage, I can confidently say we’ve worked the kinks out of chore responsibilities. Probably.  Mostly.

All chores are at issue, but it’s interesting how much “discussion” has been allocated to laundry in particular over the years.  This responsibility falls under my purview and it seems pretty straightforward to me – wash clothes, dry clothes, fold clothes, and give clothes back to owner to put away.  Done and done.

Except for the debates we’ve had along the way.

** Frequency.  I’m a once-a-week laundry-day kind of person, mostly because it seems efficient, partly because washing clothes isn’t something I love to do.  (Admittedly, this system worked out better when it was just BrightSide and me.  Now that there are four of us there’s a lot more dirty clothes floating around, so the task usually spills over into Day Two.)  BrightSide’s persistence in trying to sway me into the throw-in-a-quick-load-every-night camp was unrelenting for, well, let’s just say for a very long time.  But when dinner’s done, homework’s finished, lunches are packed, and the kids are finally in bed the absolute last thing I want to do is chores.  Not gonna happen.

** Putting clothes away.  Remarkably, once or twice BrightSide actually broached the topic of why I didn’t put his clothes away for him.  Needless to say, those talks were pretty brief.

** Folding method.  I take what’s admittedly the easy way out on shirts: a symmetrical fold that matches shoulder to shoulder, bend sleeves down, fold shirt in half so collar touches hem.  BrightSide falls in the retail category: tuck both sleeves toward back of shirt and fold in half so you end up with a shirt that looks like it came off the shelf at Belk.  Bless his heart, BrightSide has taken more than one run at convincing me I should fold the shirts this way.  To be fair I gave it a shot, more than once actually, and it sucks.  It would add another 45 minutes to folding a load, which we all know isn’t going to happen.  (See “Frequency” above.)  Don’t even get me started on the jeans.

** Clothes flipping.  This is a recent issue, one that’s cropped up within the last nine months.  I hit the wall once I realized exactly how much time I wasted every week reversing inside-out shirts, socks, underwear, and shorts.  In an effort to save a shred of sanity, one day I simply stopped turning clothes right side out while folding.  If it came to me inside-out, it went back (clean and) inside-out.  I announced the change and my reason behind it, but BrightSide was still surprised when it started happening in his laundry basket, too.  And then there was the night he asked if I was turning his stuff inside-out while I folded…for heaven’s sake.

I consider myself a pretty open-minded individual, but looking back through these I realized that I haven’t budged on a single one.  But does everyone end up with clean clothes back in their drawers?  Yes.  Yes, they do.

I figure if someone feels strongly enough about it, they know where the washer and dryer are.