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 Post subject: When did you start doing your own laundry?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 11:15 pm 
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I ask because I always assumed everyone started around the same time I did (9-ish) but I just had the following conversation with my 10-year-old sister, while I was spot-treating a shirt she got some oil on:


sister: wait! isn't that staining the shirt?
me: what? i'm just putting some soap on it so the oil doesn't soak in to the fabric
sister: yeah soap and water! it's staining the shirt! look! (at this point the shirt is wet, and therefore darker)
me: sammy, it'll dry. that's exactly what happens in the washer, how do you think laundry works?
sister: but how will it dry?
me: in the air?
sister: don't you have to put it in the dryer for it to dry?
me: what? I mean, I can if you want to wear this shirt today, but I was just going to hang it up.
sister: wait, you can dry clothes without a dryer? things just dry on their own?
me: hell yeah kiddo, the dryer just speeds things up, half the folks I know don't even use a dryer at all
sister: woah.



in her defense: she has a different mom and as such has had a VERY different childhood. it's probably a safe guess that my kid siblings have never even operated a washer or dryer and that TOTALLY blew my mind when I realized it!

like, hell, I was doing my own laundry at a laundromat by their age!


when did y'all start? am I weird for thinking this is weird?

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 Post subject: Re: When did you start doing your own laundry?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 11:28 pm 
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I didn't do my own laundry until college. I didn't know how to do anything for myself. I was 85% incompetent. I have reduced that to 55% incompetent.

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 Post subject: Re: When did you start doing your own laundry?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 11:29 pm 
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I did not do any of my laundry until I was 19 and left home ... my mother always did it.

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 Post subject: Re: When did you start doing your own laundry?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 11:45 pm 
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I was 13ish, and it was by choice. I was very independent, and didn't want my mom doing my things for me. Now I'm living at home again and have no problem taking her up on the offer on the occasion she asks haha

Most of my friends didn't learn till college though. I had to show a good chunk of them. They were amazed I had done laundry on my own before. Not even kidding.


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 Post subject: Re: When did you start doing your own laundry?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 12:16 am 
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Hmm. I didn't do all my own laundry until I was on my own at age 18, but I helped with the family laundry from a pretty young age. My mom is actually opposed to people doing their own laundry in her house because she thinks it's wasteful to run loads that aren't totally full, and she didn't think we'd run full loads if we each person did their own laundry.


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 Post subject: Re: When did you start doing your own laundry?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 12:21 am 
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probably when i was 11-12... ~*coming of age story ahead*~ i started because i discovered one of my parents had been inspecting my underwear for cleanliness or something and had soaked the crotches of all the period ones in bleach, ruining them. i was very disturbed and embarrassed to learn that they were looking in my underwear while doing laundry and demanded my own hamper.


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 Post subject: Re: When did you start doing your own laundry?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 12:37 am 
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I did laundry as a kid, usually with my mom, but when I was older I just did whatever needed laundered. She never let me fold things because she is one of those perfect folders and can't stand imperfectly folded clothes.

When I got my first jobs as a teenager, I started buying nicer clothes and had to learn how to take care of them properly, so I was pretty good at laundry by the time I moved out.

I've regressed. Now I do easy stuff like towels, sheets, etc. Stuff that needs to be hung up (most of my clothes) my mom does because I have trouble. Mostly though mom ends up doing all of it just because she does it during the day while I'm at work.

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 Post subject: Re: When did you start doing your own laundry?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 1:01 am 
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helbury wrote:
Hmm. I didn't do all my own laundry until I was on my own at age 18, but I helped with the family laundry from a pretty young age. My mom is actually opposed to people doing their own laundry in her house because she thinks it's wasteful to run loads that aren't totally full, and she didn't think we'd run full loads if we each person did their own laundry.

This is pretty much what I did. I didn't do my own laundry as in just mine and mine alone, but I knew how to load the machine etc and would do a load from the washing basket as part of my household "jobs".

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 Post subject: Re: When did you start doing your own laundry?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 1:03 am 
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I didn't do my own laundry until I moved out to go to university. ..so at age 17. Before that my mom would give me a laundry basket of clean clothes to fold or whatever, but that was it.

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 Post subject: Re: When did you start doing your own laundry?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 1:08 am 
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Probably around 14 or so in an official way, but similar to helbury, laundry was kind of a group activity starting at a much younger age.

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 Post subject: Re: When did you start doing your own laundry?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 1:14 am 
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Yeah, we all (my mom, my sisters, and me) kind of shared laundry when I was younger, but one of my rotating responsibilities was starting the washing and transferring to the dryer, then we would all fold it together. That was from around age 7 or 8? I started doing my own separately when I was around 12, I think? And I also used to have to starch and iron my dad's work shirts as one of my chores starting when I was 10. It's one of the reasons I never iron anything now, ever.

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 Post subject: Re: When did you start doing your own laundry?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 2:05 am 
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I remember helping grandma out when I was small (middle school and younger, with 4-5ish as my earliest memory), often just by folding laundry. I know that by the time college started, I knew what to do. Not sure what happened in between. Maybe I had to launder my bed sheets? Maybe grandma did everything because she was home? Maybe grandma got annoyed by so many small load requests (by my mom and sister) that she put her foot down and everyone did their own? .......I don't know.

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 Post subject: Re: When did you start doing your own laundry?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 2:56 am 
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I think I was probably 12ish or so when I was doing just my own. though, I was a bunch younger when I would hang/bring in the washing for Dad and I (like..7? I dunno)

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 Post subject: Re: When did you start doing your own laundry?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:21 am 
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I didn't wash my own clothes when I was a kid. I have two siblings, if my whole family washed our own clothes we would have spend a fortune on water and electricity with the washing machine! Sure I would do the family washing sometimes, as would we all, but taking my own clothes and doing them separately seems a bit of a waste.

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 Post subject: Re: When did you start doing your own laundry?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:22 am 
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I don't know how old I was exactly, 10?11?12? but before that my mother did all of our laundry and then we all started to do our own. I think my mother just hated that for me that meant no more ironing of clothes since I didnt (and still dont) see the point.

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 Post subject: Re: When did you start doing your own laundry?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:29 am 
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I grudgingly helped out with putting stuff on the clothesline/bringing it back inside. I don't think I was permitted to use the washing machine. Not that I was clamboring to. I can't really remember?

Anyway, I've done my own laundry since I got my first apartment. A lot of people in this city, this god damn city, send their laundry out. An idea I find abhorrant for some reason. I'm either a laundry conservative or a laundry leftist.

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 Post subject: Re: When did you start doing your own laundry?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 4:16 am 
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When I was 11 and went to high school. My sister and I had to wash our stuff by hand in buckets, including our school uniforms. We had a very old fashioned top loading washing machine but we children weren't allowed to use it which always struck me as completely unfair. No dryer - things got hung on radiators or the washing line outside (I have never had a dryer in my life!)

What was also unfair was that my brothers never had to wash their own clothes. Growing up on the late 70's, early 80's I was developing feminist ideas and would often challenge this as sexist only to be told it was 'because they weren't old enough yet'. . . but of course they never did become 'old enough', even though one was only 2 years younger than me.

My much younger siblings were not allowed to get involved in any household duties but I suspect this was a control thing, to prevent them gaining the skills they needed to feel like they could leave home - unlike us they had no idea how to cook or wash their clothes. (I left home when they were toddlers.)


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 Post subject: Re: When did you start doing your own laundry?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 4:44 am 
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I didn't do my own laundry properly until I left home at 19 BUT we did help my Mum if she asked. She'd usually put it the washing machine in the morning then we'd take it in turns hanging it up when we got home from school. We didn't iron then, and I don't iron now. I'm a scruff bag.

When I was really little and we were poor and didn't have a washing machine, my poor Mum had to wash all our clothes in the bath. Three kids worth. Dayum.

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 Post subject: Re: When did you start doing your own laundry?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 4:57 am 
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We didn't have a dryer and only limited hanging space (apartment living), so my mom had a pretty optimized schedule and didn't like us to do our own separate loads and mess it up. I think I learned to operate the machine when I started staying home by myself on weekends or vacation, at the end of high school (so, 16 years old). I would then wash and hang whatever was in the family hamper, not just my stuff. But I did learn to pre-soak, spot treat, and hand wash when I got my period, at 11. And I helped with hanging and folding before that.

My brother, 25, still brings his laundry home for my mother to wash. For shame.


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 Post subject: Re: When did you start doing your own laundry?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 5:10 am 
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I went from never doing laundry to being the exclusive laundry person in my household at 13-14 when I started living exclusively with my dad.

I'm not very good at it, I never get stains out. Even though I'm aware of all the stuff you're supposed to do/use, I'm unsuccessful. The beige pants I was wearing yesterday are probably ruined

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 Post subject: Re: When did you start doing your own laundry?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 5:23 am 
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I was 10 I think? My mom made it about growing up but really I think it was because I'm the only person in my family not allergic to horses... I knew how to do it earlier than that though from watching my grandfather do everyone's laundry all the time. By the time I was 13 or 14 I was totally grossed out by the idea of someone else touching my laundry (as well as touching other people's laundry) so I never let my parents do my laundry when I'm home even if they want to. And now I have nice clothes that I don't trust other people not to ruin anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: When did you start doing your own laundry?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 5:52 am 
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8, but I think I was too young to make sure that I did laundry enough that I had clean clothes.


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 Post subject: Re: When did you start doing your own laundry?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 6:01 am 
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As soon as I could reach the top of the washing machine. Same with cooking. My parents did a pretty good job of raising an independent child.

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 Post subject: Re: When did you start doing your own laundry?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 6:20 am 
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We all had to help out with household chores when I was a kid, so I did the family laundry pretty often from when I was around 8. That included separating the different types of laundry (my mom helped out with that part to make sure it was done properly), carrying it to the laundromat, making sure I went back to put it in the dryer and then folding.
Around the same age, I had a weekly cooking day and once a week I would walk to pick up my 2-3 year old sister and do a little grocery shopping on the way. I would help out with vacuuming and washing floors etc. as well. At the age of 14 I a pro cook and cleaner and I did volunteer work at a vegan soup kitchen an hour from my mom's place at least once a week and when I moved away from home at 16 I was completely capable of all of the practicalities that needs to be taken care of when you live on your own.


As much as I sometimes hated having to do practical things around the house, I really value being able to do things on my own as an adult - even as a teen. Today I feel pretty capable of managing all types of household stuff and I am definitely a much better housekeeper than most people I know. I am the one people ask for advise, when dealing with these types of things. As much as I hate to admit it, my mom taught me to judge people who can't keep their house tidy and clean. I can get really annoyed when people don't know how to separate laundry or how to clean a hardwood floor so that it actually gets clean.. But I am also aware that I find those types of chores way more fulfilling than most people. Nothing feels nicer than the smell of a clean wooden floor or the feeling of freshly ironed sheets.


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 Post subject: Re: When did you start doing your own laundry?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 7:14 am 
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My mom worked 2 jobs for many years so I remember doing laundry when I was pretty young. We didn't have a dryer so I had to hang out clothes on the line. I'd wash not only my clothes but everything (towels, sheets, etc). My parents moved into a house with a dryer when I was 20 or so (I went to college at 18, which was the first real time I used a dryer but we had used them occasionally at a laundromat).

So I'd say I was doing the household laundry by 10/11, maybe started younger like 8 but not 100% and I'm sure there were things I helped with by the age of 6.

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