The 10 Feelings Everyone Has While Staring Down a Giant Pile of Laundry

updated May 3, 2019
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No household chore is particularly fun, but few things are more stressful than doing laundry when you’ve gone so long between washes that you’re on your last pair of underwear. It’s like waiting until you’re on your last fork to do the dishes—it doesn’t seem like an issue until you realize you’ve got nothing left, and then suddenly it’s a disaster. Days of dirty clothes go by until suddenly your closet is empty and your hamper is holding on for dear life… but you can handle it, right?


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It all starts the night before, when you know you won’t have any clothes left if you don’t do laundry. “I’ve got this,” you think to yourself, as you figure out your foolproof plan in your head. You tell yourself you’ll get up a little earlier than usual—but not too early—separate your clothes, and head over to the laundromat (or into your laundry room, if you’re so lucky). What could possibly go wrong?


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Fast forward to the next morning—your alarm is going off, but you’ve hit the snooze button twice already. “Ten more minutes” you say, but it comes out in groans instead of actual words. You hit snooze one last time, then groggily get out of bed… only to plop yourself right back down on the couch, convincing yourself you’ve got plenty of time.


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“I’ll go after I make breakfast,” you tell yourself, taking your time to get started. Before you know it, you’re browsing Netflix. “I’ll go after this episode,” you promise out loud to no one. But one episode turns into three, and you still haven’t made any progress on your laundry. “Are you still watching?” pops up on your screen. “It’s like it knows…” you think, but you still don’t get up.


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Maybe you don’t have to do all this laundry after all. Maybe you should just hand wash a few things and put off the giant laundry pile for another day or two. “What if I just buy more socks instead?” you wonder, as your laundry becomes a math problem you can’t quite figure out. All you know is, you’ll try anything if it means getting out of doing laundry today.


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This is the part where you realize that hand-washing and going out and buying more socks require just as much effort as doing your laundry, so you may as well just get it all done. And the faster you do it, the sooner you don’t have to worry about it anymore. Thinking about all the clean clothes you’ll have—it begins to motivate you, and suddenly you’re ready to go. You separate your clothes with speed and focus you didn’t even know you had.


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Despite your laser focus and perfectly sorted clothes, your spirit feels broken when you actually lift up your laundry basket: it’s so heavy, you have no idea how you’ll make it to the laundromat without collapsing. (And even if you only have to lug your laundry to another room or downstairs, it’s still not fun.) “Where did all these clothes come from?” you ask yourself, promising to pare down your wardrobe when all is said and done, knowing full well that you probably won’t.


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Your spirit is only broken further when you get to the laundromat and realize all the machines are taken. Stressed, you start to question your judgment. “Why did I think Saturday afternoon would be a good time for laundry?” you wonder. “Maybe I should come back later,” you think, but then you remember all the pain you just went through. No—you decide to stick it out, even though you’re not pleased.


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Then you remember you forgot to bring a book to read while you wait for your clothes to finish, and your phone battery is almost dead. You’re stuck just sitting there, waiting for your clothes to dry, with nothing to distract you from it. “That clock is just slow,” you think as you try to convince yourself it’s almost over. (It’s only been 5 minutes.)


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You’ve made it back from your laundry excursion with all your clothes, ready to plop back down on the couch… except you still have to fold and put everything away. Every fold feels like it requires your last ounce of energy, but you keep going slowly but surely until it’s all done and in its rightful place. It only takes a few minutes, but it feels like hours.


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Doing your laundry may have been a struggle, but the moment when you realize it’s all done is priceless—that is, until you remember you’ll just have to do it all over again next week. But we can pretend that’s not happening! For now, you’ll put on your favorite clean clothes, curl up in your clean bed, and bask in the cozy glory of being a real adult who gets things done.