Things That Do Not Work, Part One
Vignettes In Search of Coherence

Things That Do Not Work, Part Two

(Here is Part One. We figured out how to  turn off the second mystery alarm AND change the time for Daylight Savings, but it is still waking up everyone else in the house except for the person it is intended to wake up.) 

Laundry hampers. We have a lot of them! And yet. They Do Not Work. 

This is the hamper I share with my husband in our master bathroom. I bought it at Target a million years ago and it definitely used To Work. It's made up of three separate laundry bags so you can sort everything into separate loads of whites/darks/delicates/whathaveyou. Each bag has handles so you can carry them individually to the washer when full. It is right next to our shower and perhaps 10 steps from our closet, where most of our dressing and undressing happen.

THEREFORE, it should work. 


But every since we moved to this house, my husband developed a weird quirk where he consistently tossed his clothes in a random floor pile JUST OUTSIDE the bathroom door. Sometimes I would watch him come OUTSIDE the bathroom to do this, despite the hamper being THERE! IT'S RIGHT THERE! WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING?

After the pile grows into a mini-mountain, he carries it all back into the bathroom and dutifully sorts it all into the proper laundry bag.

He admits he has no idea why he does this. It's perhaps some strange muscle memory from the hamper's placement at our old house, but after THREE YEARS you'd think he'd be able to rewire his brain to handle a simple CLOTHES + HAMPER (IS THAT A HAMPER Y/N)² = BASIC ADULTING equation. He knows it's weird and makes no sense, but he's a really good cook so this is the cross I bear in exchange for not having to make my own risotto.

I also bought him a second hamper and placed it directly in the line of clothes-tossing fire. 


Surprise! It Does Not Work. 

And unfortunately, my children have all apparently inherited their father's hamper-blindness gene. They each have their own easy-to-carry hamper, and are TECHNICALLY responsible for bringing said hamper down to the laundry area as soon at it gets full, and then carry it back to their room once I've emptied it. This, of course, also Does Not Work.


The space where a hamper should be, used to be, but is not, anymore. Where is the hamper? We do not ask such questions, because the answer is: Duh, literally sitting right outside his door. Where it has been for a week. Empty. 


Who needs a proper hamper when you can just toss everything on top of a random Bilibo? It's called IMAGINATION, Mom. Look it up. 

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There actually IS a hamper in this photo, at least. Ike and I apparently have very, very different definitions of what a "full" hamper looks like. 

(Also, WTF is this? Another random floor pile? Who's getting undressed out in the middle of the hallway? If I put a hamper here will you stop?)


(If anyone needs me today, I will be doing laundry. So, so much laundry.)

The good news is that we went to IKEA this weekend! And bought all sorts of Ingënious Störage Solûtions for their soon-to-be reconfigured bedrooms, so OBVIOUSLY, all of our problems are going to be solved forever.

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Just as soon as I find my hex key. 



When my brother and I were teenagers, we shared a bathroom. Of course, him being a little brother, he found and exploited numerous ways to push my buttons, but nothing he did bugged me more than the fact that he never ever EVER used the hamper. It was right there, in our bathroom, and he would literally leave his clothes and boxers and whatnot centimeters away from it. But alas, he could never expend the extra effort to get those items INTO the hamper. And our hamper was technically just a basket, so it's not like he even needed to lift the lid! It drove me crazy and was routinely the final straw that would send me over the rage-fueled edge.


We have the same target hamper- and the same piles of clothes near the hamper.

Judy P

I have that Michael graves hamper and it doesn't fit in my new space but I cannot bring myself to get rid of it even though one of the wheels broke like, 4 moves ago so I have to physically pick up the whole thing whenever I need to relocate it. Because it doesn't actually fit/work in my current space.


I am an adult and I still can't hamper. And no one else in my house can either. IT'S A SICKNESS. PILES FOREVER.


All of this, yes!!! WTF?! And I won’t even get started on WHY there are multiple pairs of everyone’s shoes in the dining room. And the kitchen. There is a closet between the two that we literally call the shoe closet. Why am I the only one who ever puts shoes in it?! The offenders are 42, 17, and 13. These are not clueless children! BLARGHSMASHHURG Okay I feel a little better.


OMG this post gives me life. My boys make the exact same piles (including the biggest husband one). It is BAFFLING. I can't wait to hear how the rooms shake out!!


Organizational posts are my favorite!! Thank you for making me feel normal because this nonsense happens in our home too!


We suffer from Chronic Hamper Avoidance in my household as well.

My husband also loves to carefully place recyclable items on a section of the kitchen counter...........right next to the effing recycling bin.


There is literally just me and my 14yo daughter in this house. And it is small (by American standards). She has a bedroom, I have a bedroom, there's one bathroom. No walk-in wardrobes, no dressing rooms, no landings (it's an apartment). She has a hamper in her room - with miscellaneous clothes (dirty? clean? who knows) heaped around it, and just sheets in it (never removed/washed to my knowledge). There's a hamper in the bathroom that I use, and no dirty clothes in my room at all (heaps of clean clothes, yes, though, because I need to do a serious clean-out and just...can't seem to find the time/energy for it, so there's no room in my wardrobe). I only wash what's either in the machine or in a hamper in the bathroom - meaning she's meant to bring her hamper in and either empty it into the machine or at least leave it next to it. None of this happens, and then of course there is Much Eye-Rolling when her favourite Troye Sivan T-shirt isn't clean, or when she has no matching, clean socks. I have mostly given up, and mostly ignore the teenage angst.


This is literally, in about 15 years of blog reading, the first time I have commented on a blog because I loved this post so much and am still laughing deep belly laughs. You described my frustrated hamper / laundry life perfectly, down to the kids who put clothes in the space where the hamper SHOULD be and the random clothes piles in the hallway.


I see why your husband is dumping the dirty clothes outside the bathroom. The bathroom is a Clean place. The clothes are dirty, so they have to be left outside the clean place. It would be as if you had one of those sci-fi irradiation rooms and then walked into it fully clothed.

Sarah Jane

Obviously I don't know the layout of your house, but you should seriously look into whether you could put in a laundry chute. This is the thing we all miss most about our last house! It may not work for the hubby, but the three kids all thought it was such fun to drop their dirty laundry down it! This was a 1940-era house and it was in the perfect spot with doors in the upstairs and downstairs hallways and emptied into the basement. A friend of mine was able to get one installed under the bathroom sink in a more modern house.

Misguided mommy

Dude. Yes. Okay first, Jason’s new hamper isn’t working because of the lid. Remove lid, then he can baskeball toss in and you’re all good

For the boys I want you to know it gets worse. Not better. They pile it on top of the hamper until it gives out from the weight and collapses. Then they just hide it in the closet and close the door. However. I now make them carry it down stairs, put it in the washer, start it, switch it to the dryer, and help me fold. We also Marie kondod their drawers which makes folding easier. What I found though, is having them help me, stopped some of the excessive clothing use. Once they had to fold 17 shirts from a 7 day week, they got way better about putting clean clothes away, and not using a new shirt every night to sleep.

Misguided mommy

Oh. And something we’ve started doing is having a dedicated family laundry day. It’s always Sunday. We get up early, put in the first load, binge on Netflix until load 2, which just gets moved to the drier, so more binging. Then when the third load goes in, whichever kid is done, we go to their room, fold right on their bed, and watch a show together. My oldest and I are making our way through The Good Doctor. As we fold we literally put it away. No making piles and then lugging them upstairs and hoping they get put away. We open all the drawers, fold it, and put that fucker away. Again doing the kondo method helped with that too. Because the fold is super fast, the kids and I do it exactly the same, and the shirts, pants, shorts, etc just slide right in. All in all each kids folding takes maybe 9 minutes. Then I get to binge more tv before the next load dries. I also use this time to order groceries online and have them delivered. It works well having a set day. They know Sundays we can be lazy, but dammit we are folding our clothes.


Looking forward to hearing how the great room switch of 2019 was resolved!


Came to the comments for ideas. I love the idea of a lazy netflix day to be laundry day!


my absolute fave is leaving dishes NEXT to the sink, not in it, close second is putting the laundy on top of the basket and not in it. oy vey 🤦🏻‍♀️

kim too

Dunno. Husband currently has three carefully curated piles in our bedroom. I have several small heaps because ADD head means if I'm not actively thinking about them because they are no longer on my body I will forget them until I trip on them. I try, though! Yes, I do.


I love how so often you post about exactly the same stuff going on in my own life. Trying desperately to figure out a hamper solution here too. I have started keeping all my clothes completely separated from husband and kids’s clothes so that I can actually have clean clothes. But we literally have a giant pile of everyone else’s clothes on my bedroom floor, in front of MY dresser AND in the upstairs hallway. And somehow the kids bedroom floors are still littered with clothes too. Are they multiplying like clothes tribbles?


My teenager often TAKES HIS PANTS OFF WHEN HE COMES IN THE FROONT DOOR! So, I have pants in my entry and a 17 year old walking around in his underwear.


Ah! I'll totally admit to piles of clean laundry, or piles of clothes I'm pretty sure need to go to Goodwill but I can't bring myself to go through them. And I do let two full loads of laundry pile up to 1.5 times my hamper height, but it is still in the hamper, contained in the space.
But my husband, good lord. He leaves a huge pile along his dresser, and I can't ever get a clear answer to why these clothes are not in the hamper located 1 foot away. Then on laundry day, he scoops it all into the hamper, so apparently it's good enough to transport clothes, but not to hold them the entire rest of the week?!

Xat (Rabbit Style News)

My partner puts everything in the laundry basket except for underwear, which gets discarded on their bathroom floor when stepping into the shower. For unknown reasons, the underwear has to pile up before it gets moved into the laundry basket. I do most of the laundry and my partner knows that if it's not in the hamper it's not getting washed. Once in awhile this happens:
Partner: Oh no, I'm out of clean underwear!
Me: I just did laundry today, check the dryer or the clean clothes pile we're putting away tonight.
Partner: *looks in clean clothes piles*
Partner: No underwear.
Partner: *looks in bathroom*
Partner: Oh no, all of my underwear is in my bathroom! I did it again!


Wait...did I miss it?! What was the final Final FINAL decision on all the bedroom reconfigurations? Could someone have a bedroom down in the basement?

Also, this and its corresponding photo made me GUFFAW! “There actually IS a hamper in this photo, at least. Ike and I apparently have very, very different definitions of what a "full" hamper looks like.” :,-)

Amy A

My husband does that very thing where he puts his dirty clothes on top of the hamper. Is the lid super heavy? I don’t get it. He’s the same one who annoyingly will let me know that I did not put the top on the butter dish. SMDH. But yeah, he can cook, too, so there’s that.


I found that between the age of 7 and 10 the majority of children are capable of correctly operating complex tv systems and computers. They are equally capable of correctly running both washing and drying machines. I strongly encourage you to teach your husband and children self-care activities like their own laundry. I mean: particularly in a household where you have wonderful chefs and amazing gamers and lego builders ...... give your children the life skills to survive post high school!!!!!! (Cleaning, cooking, shopping, money management, credit, personal security and responsibility...)
Teaching these things really really really paid off for me as a single mom with two kids when I was working 70 hrs a week to house and feed and clothes us..............

Anne Phillips

I have one small laundry hamper. My two kids have one basket upstairs and one downstairs that they share. My husband has a hamper next to the shower, one approximately eight feet away from the one next to the shower, and a pile of dirty clothes next to the bed. I have taken photos of his dirty clothes on the floor right next to one of his TWO laundry hampers in case I ever need to be exonerated in a murder trial.


My ex-husband put his clothes on top of the hamper, and it drove me nuts. I finally removed the lid, and he'd lay clothes on the rim. *eye roll* My kids leave their clean clothes in their baskets, and dirty clothes right next to it until the next laundry day. I can't be too hard on them for that, though. I always get as far as folding mine, but then leave them in the basket. So, I have two baskets for clean and dirty that I rotate.

Like another commenter, I have a laundry day. It's been Sunday since I started doing my own laundry (except for the occasional load of towels mid-week). I get mine in the washer in the morning, then I nag my six and nine year olds to take care of theirs. I don't wait for a full hamper, if it's just half a load in the machine that's fine.

Barbara Andrews

You know what I wonder? I wonder if there's a hole in the laundry 'management' industry that's not being filled. I bet that 80% of the reason that clothes don't get put in the hamper (at least by adults) is because somewhere in the deep recesses of the brain the adult is thinking "I don't know if this thing is actually fully dirty yet and I might get another wear or two out of it so it shouldn't probably go ALL the way into the hamper". Even if that's not a conscious thought - I BET that's a thing.
Maybe we need some kind of 'place' that's not IN a hamper, but isn't IN the closet either. Somewhere that's as easy to place clothes in like a hamper, but in recognition of the fact that clothes that come off your body are a) Too 'dirty' to go back in a closet or a drawer and b) Need to be dealt with as quickly as possible because you're trying to get to bed/change into different clothes/whatever (cos let's face it - it RARELY happens that I hang/fold things and put them away when I've just taken them off even if I KNOW I'll definitely wear again before washing - like jeans or bras.)
My current spot is the chair next to my bed. It used to be the floor next to my bed until my cat decided that clothes pile=bonus litterbox and forever cured me of leaving clothes on the floor.

Can someone please invent the 'not-quite-laundry-hanger-place-shelf-thingy'?


Maybe you can have a clothing toss game for the hampers? Like making a ball with an article of clothing and tossing it in? Bring out the sporting spirit and Fun. Good luck, Amy!

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