### Laundry Mathematics

In much of my advertising, I often say that the average American woman spends about 22+ hours a week doing household tasks. Some people have doubted this statistic, so today, we are going to take just one of those tasks - laundry -  and do some quick math to demonstrate where my numbers are coming from.

So according to a recent (and unscientific) poll, the average family of four (2 adults, 2 kids) generates between 60 and 65 pounds of clothing per week. (To give you an idea,  depending on the size, and whether or not they are kid's clothes or adult's , about 9 - 10 pairs of jeans weighs about 12 pounds.) The average size washing machine holds about 10 - 12 pounds of clothing, so 60 - 65 pounds of clothing would break down into about five to six loads of clothing. Not too bad you say. But wait. It gets better.

In addition, when you add in a load or two for all of the bedding for a week (that would be two sets of sheets per load), and another two loads for towels (so figure about 10 - 12 washcloths, 2 to 4
hand towels, 6 - 8 bath towels, 2 -3 kitchen towels, plus 2-4 dish cloths ) then a typical family of four probably generates between 8 and 10 loads of laundry per week. (For now we are not counting the additional loads generated by kid's baseball/swimming/soccer uniforms and such.)

So, let's take this math equation a bit further: about how much time does one spend doing 8 - 10 loads of laundry each week?

The answer will vary slightly, and will depend on the size and set up of your washer/dryer, but in general, a full (short) cycle in the washing machine is about 35 minutes, and it takes about 45 minutes to an hour to dry a load - maybe a bit longer for towels (and my daughter's sweatshirts). So, a single load from start to finish in the machines takes roughly 1.5 hours to wash and dry. My husband's work clothes take a bit longer because I wash them on a longer cycle, so that number could reasonably be closer to 1.75 hours - but being conservative, each load taking "only" 1.5 hours, for 10 loads of wash...you have just spent 12 - 15 hours washing and drying your laundry.

BUT WAIT...the math goes on...

Let's take another 10 - 15 minutes (per load) for folding and putting away. While 10 - 15 minutes is not much time while standing alone, when multiplied by 8 - 10 loads of wash, it adds an additional 1 - 2 hours to the chore for a grand total of...13 - 17 hours PER WEEK on JUST the laundry. We will not add in ironing or mending... or running to the dry cleaners, or whether or not if you have pets (which will increase these numbers by another hour or two) because I don't want your head to explode.

But-let's follow through: taking an average of 15 hours a week for laundry-that is 60 hours a month and 720 hours a year-of time lost in the laundry room. Time you can never get back and time you could spend on so many other things: baseball games, dance recitals, "me" time...

How much do you or your spouse earn hourly for 15 hours? At \$20/hour, (the average wage) that would be another \$300/week, or \$1,200 a month earned if working instead of doing laundry.

So-what would you do with all that time if you could reclaim it?

Eclectic Domestics: Housekeeping & More:  www.eclecticdomestics.com
Stress-Free Spaces Professional Organizing:  www.stressfreespaces.com
Kitchen Concierge: Party Staffing & Help:    www.kitchenconcierge.net

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