Why you can’t afford to do your own laundry (and how to outsource housekeeping & maintenance to save time)

Last summer my kids returned from a couple weeks in Los Angeles where they stayed with their aunt.

Me: Why does Lucas have all new underwear?

Helena: All his underwear had skid mark stains in them, so Aunt Tina bought him all new chonies at Target.

Why didn’t I, his own mother, know that my son’s underwear was all stained?

Because I refuse to do laundry. So I don’t ever intimately handle my kids chonies. Including the poopy ones.

That’s a bit of an overstatement, but I really, really hate to do the wash, and I really, really hate to fold.

The sorting and cycling and hauling of this never-ending chore so tedious, so mundane and omnipotent that it's a joke for moms everywhere.

Except that it will make you poor. Nothing funny about that!

When you are a single mom, money and time are especially precious.

Our professional lives, our kids and we ourselves simply cannot be weighed down by regrouting the tub (unless that is your thing, of course) or keeping your kids undies sparkling white. You are better than that.

When I get on my soapbox about this topic, I often hear people – and by “people,” I mean “women” – who cry:

“Laundry is just a part of life, you spoiled asshole!”

Not so long ago dying in childbirth was just part of life. Economies and technology changed since that was a valid point, and you are now free to unload unsavory tasks to people who want to earn a living doing them.

“Laundry doesn’t take that long, I don’t see what the big deal is, jeeze! So lazy!”

One, two hours is a lot of time for me — as you will see below my long list of other things you might do with those minutes. Second, it is actually far more than just two hours of labor to do your laundry. Because you spend countless hours thinking about and remembering and stressing about when and how you will do the laundry. You might fight with your spouse or kids about the laundry. Get annoyed with yourself if you forget the wash overnight — or the drying and wind up with a crumply, wrinkly mess.

So it is two hours, plus countless brain cells and energy and emotion spent on laundry.

It’s a big-picture thing.

“Oh, but doing laundry is just a part of life. I’d feel guilty for sending it out.”

Do you feel guilty for using a dishwasher, instead of cleaning every grimy fork and sippy cup by hand? Do you feel guilty for not washing your clothes on rocks by the river — because you are already outsourcing their cleaning to a machine made in China, that sits in your garage / basement / laundry room and does 99% of the work involved in laundry. In other words: You already outsource, so why not take it just a fraction of a step further and offload that task completely?

“I feel it is my duty as a parent to teach my kids to mop the floor.”

Really? Do you really think that your child will grow up incapable of knowing how to mop a floor in an emergency? For real?

“You are such a snotty, rich bitch. Not everyone can afford spending all their money on house cleaners and laundry service. I hate you.”

Muah back atcha!

Look, no one has ever gotten rich without outsourcing some tasks. No one. You can’t do it all — I don’t care if you are sculptor slaving away in your attic, you rely on an agency, a gallery, someone to publicize your shows and host boozy after parties where hedge fund guys will feel all important and buy your stuff. Or if you are a tech entrepreneur, you simply cannot work alone in a Starbucks and create a bazillion dollar enterprise. You are one person. Successful enterprises consist of people doing what they do best, and being wise enough and humble enough to pass along other tasks to others who are more competent and enthusiastic about those things.

If you spend your energy and time on sorting and washing and drying and ironing and sorting and matching and folding, your energy is on a low-skilled task that fosters resentment. I don’t know of one fabulously successful person who does his or her own laundry. Do you?

I often hear from blog readers or friends incredulous cries: “How do you get so much done all the time! Do you ever sleep?!”

Actually, many nights I’m in bed by 9 p.m. (not proud of that, it is what it is), and I spend plenty of time dawdling on Facebook. But it is true: I produce a lot of creative work I am very proud of, make a handsome living, pick my kids up from the bus most days, hit the gym, jogging path, or yoga studio five times per week and enjoy a hot date or evening out with my friends once or twice weekly. Not to mention day trips, vacations, weekly Movie Night and family dinners every weeknight with my kids and guests. No complaints.

My secret – the one all those incredulous friends do not want to hear? I outsource shit I don’t like to do. I even outsource stuff I DO like to do, because it makes more sense for someone else to do it! In my business, I hire people in my business to do things I can do but am not efficient at — like podcast production and editing, web design and marketing.

How to find a laundry service near you

On the homefront, my gorgeous house cleaner takes care of my apartment, I rely on the occasional sitter to give me freedom to balance work, home and a personal life, and since becoming a single mom.

I am adamant about not ever doing laundry. I send it out. I live in New York City, where every neighborhood has wash-and-fold services for around $1 per pound. Most places will pick-up your filthy sack of poopy, pee-y, spit-up-y, avocado-y, spaghetti-saucy, grass-stainy laundry in the morning, and deliver it after work, neatly folded, sorted and smelling fresh as your baby’s butt that you just washed.

That same bag full of laundry would cost me about $8 to do in the coin laundry, including detergent (I live in an apartment) each week.

I figure it would also cost about $10 per week if I had my own washer and dryer, factoring in detergent, water, electricity, and wear and tear on a Maytag.

For the past few years, however, I have been paying my weekly housekeeper, Sandra, an extra $20 to take on the task. I also pay for the coin laundry and detergent, but by having Sandra means that I am saved the extra task of rounding up all my filthy things, or even putting away the clean items.

Plus, I prefer that Sandra (of whom I am very fond) earns the money over the laundry service (nothing personal guys, you do great work! But I don't know you personally).

If you live in my area, give me a shout and I am happy to refer Sandra!

Not every zip code has these amazing wash-and-fold services (I live in NYC), but you can find someone to do your laundry in your home through sites like Care.com or TaskRabbit.com.

But all this outsourcing really isn’t about the saved $15 or the extra $15 or the wear and tear.

Wash and fold laundry service is about economizing time and energy.

Investing in laundry service makes me richer because it makes me happier.

What if you invested just half all those loaded hours in your career, a business or freelance gigs?

That $20 weekly could be worth thousands monthly. Take it from me.

We haven’t even mentioned the happy factor. Some people just love laundry. I have never met one of these people, and I suspect I would not like her.

For me, wiping laundry off my weekly to-do list has been the most incredibly liberating exercise.

Before, it was a constant gnat swarming around my mind – what was clean when, when would I schedule a load, when to haul the dripping sheets into the dryer and to remember to take out my lacey things to air dry.

Now, I spend a fraction of that mental energy to coordinate a visit with Sandra.

Another example of outsourcing of unsavory tasks?

Recently my assistant, who manages my social media accounts because she is better at that than I am, said: “You know you get a bunch of dick pics in Instagram messenger, right?”

Actually, I had no idea!

That is because I outsource that unsavory task, and my assistant takes on all the burden of managing penis portraits, bless her heart.

Now about laundry, housework, and gender equality:

Couples fight over housework, so just outsource it

People keep getting divorced. A lot. Rates have been around 40-50 percent for more than four decades.

Younger people aren't getting married, as marriage rates hitting historic lows.

Married women are pretty freaking unhappy. Researchers found: “The average married woman is less happy than the average married man, less happy than single women, less convinced that married people are happier than single people, and more likely to file for divorce. Once returned to single life, women’s happiness recovers, whereas men’s declines, and divorced women are less eager to remarry than divorced men.”

Why? One big reason:

Women keep doing far more housework than men — even as earnings increase

No. 1 reason: Women do way more housekeeping than men — 72 percent more, in fact. Things get especially interesting when you learn that the more she earns than her husband, the more housekeeping a woman does, and the less her husband takes on.

Mothers keep dropping out of the workforce, which is bad for everyone, including kids and marriages, which suffer higher divorce rates than in marriages where both partners work. Reasons are often that life was just too bananas to have two parents working fulltime, as well as shuffle around the kids, and keep the house clean. We know that in marriages in which the wives earn more than their husbands suffer higher rates of divorce.

Anecdotally, I hear lots of stories about the resentment about housework that simmers between even the most enlightened, progressive feminist spouses or romantic partners. Usually, the complaint comes from the woman: I come home from busting my ass all day, and then have to manage the kids and house — and he doesn't do a freaking thing!

In single-mom families, women are killing themselves to keep the house clean — spending precious energy and guilt on a task far beneath their abilities, and which competes with their work, joyful parenting, hobbies, health and a social life. All in the name of fulfilling some preconceived idea about what it means to be a woman and mother.

Does he need to do more housework — or does she need to do less?

The studies around women doing so much more housework than men usually evoke cries for men to step it up, already. I suggest: Just because someone is cleaning and laundering and cooking all the time, doesn't mean that all that cleaning and laundering and cooking needs to be done. Maybe she needs to clean less? Or lower her standards? After all, in the study in which the amount of housework a wife does correlates with her professional success suggests that this is a far more complex issue that meets the eye — one mired in ancient, if not biological, gender norms, the need for romantic love and acceptance — nevermind sparkling countertops.

You and I are not going to sort this out in our lifetimes. The answer? Outsource housekeeping using Care.com or TaskRabbit.com. It is good for cohabiting relationships, and, as a recent Harvard study found, makes people happier:

People who spent money to buy themselves time, such as by outsourcing disliked tasks, reported greater overall life satisfaction,” said Ashley Whillans, an assistant professor at the Harvard Business School and lead author of the study, which was based on a series of surveys from several countries. Researchers did not see the same effect when people used money for material goods.

I call to take this a step further. You can lecture the public all day long that paying someone to clean, cook and launder for you is the answer, but our culture must first, change. As the Harvard researchers noted in the New York Times, in response to the low rate of Dutch millionaires who outsource unsavory tasks:

 In the United States: a Protestant work ethic that values being busy or guilt over paying someone for a task that people could easily do themselves.

Add to this working-mom guilt, and women's complicated relationship between our femininity and household chores. Turning this around will take far more than Ivy League research and New York Times articles laying out the facts I elaborate on the cost-benefit analysis of outsourcing laundry alone in this post, which is one of the most-frequented on all of this blog. People get really, really defensive about why they should clean their own toilets. This calls for a life and societal-altering culture change.

The answer?

Save relationships and close the pay gap by giving gifts of housecleaning

Give housekeeping as a gift for weddings, housewarmings, house guest stays, and when people decided to move in together. Give it to people when they have a baby, divorce or to celebrate a new job or business. This is one part giving the family a gift that science proves will make them happier, and likely improve the chances their relationship will be harmonious and lasting. The gift is also an act of resistance, one freeing women from the shackles of our own — and others'  — expectations of wifely, domesticity, and equal that playing field for once and all.

Find a housekeeper whose services you can give as a gift at Care.com (or TaskRabbit.com), or if you live close to your loved one, pay your own cleaner to attend to their home — and relationship.

Here are 50 things both single and married moms can do while all that damp and filthy laundry is being manhandled by a more qualified person than you:

  1. Play checkers with your kids.
  2. Host a dinner party.
  3. Have a glass of chardonnay while watching (single mom) Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Prime.
  4. Hit the gym.
  5. Go to yoga, zumba or pilates.
  6. Go for a jog, hike or power walk with a friend.
  7. Finish your degree.
  8. Get a new degree or designation that will give you a new direction and earning power in your career.
  9. Take steps to launch that new dream business.
  10. Grow your business. Or, find a great work-at-home career to start.
  11. Find cool, quick ways to make money from home.
  12. Attend a networking event.
  13. Browse the list of course topics at Udemy or the list of course topics at Coursera and take an online course.
  14. Network online via LinkedIn, professional associations, Facebook groups, following up on email communication or setting up meetings.
  15. Call your parents.
  16. Teach your kids how to jump rope.
  17. Just hang out alone together in the same room with your kids without engaging in electronics. Maybe some of you are reading, or doing a puzzle or Legos.
  18. Cook as a family.
  19. Fire up that online dating site or app, if you haven’t. (Here's my list of best dating sites for single moms.)
  20. Go on a date.
  21. Read. A book. An actual real, paper book. Fiction even! (Here's my list of the best books for single moms.)
  22. Have sex.
  23. Listen to podcasts.
  24. Get a massage.
  25. Give a massage.
  26. Work in the garden.
  27. Declutter and feng shui your home like a mad woman. Go nuts! Feels so good!
  28. Get sun on your body. Even in the winter, just some sun on your face and hands is amazing.
  29. Bath. Take a great, long bath.
  30. Nap.
  31. Catch up with that best friend or cousin who lives far away.
  32. Visit loved ones.
  33. Write birthday cards, and send them!
  34. Thank-you notes!
  35. Gratitude. Start and maintain a gratitude practice, whether sharing by email your thankful thoughts each day, or writing them down in a special notebook, or verbalizing them on a voice app on your phone.
  36. That skill that you always wanted to learn but did not? Do that. For me: I’m going to take tennis and acting classes. Maybe you want to learn to ride a motorcycle, use power tools (that kind, or that kind, too) or juggle.
  37. Volunteer. Animal shelter, teen center, nursing home.
  38. Mentor someone. Officially, through a program at work or in your community, or informally offer your guidance to someone you know.
  39. Listen to a friend who needs to be heard.
  40. Create something. A craft, a poem, song or essay.
  41. Make your home prettier. Paint a room (better yet: go to the paint store, select a color, and hire someone to paint), hang a few new pictures, rearrange the furniture, change up the bed linens. Make it pretty, make it yours.
  42. Library. When was the last time you hung out at the library?
  43. Help a friend reach her dreams.
  44. Go to a service where you worship. Or, if you’re in the market, find a new house of worship.
  45. Do a new activity with your kids — learn to rollerblade or pogo-stick together. Take a community college class on woodworking or CPR.
  46. Start a family give-back project. Raise money for a cause, give volunteer time, or reach out to people you know who need company, help around the house or meals.
  47. Attend live performances – music, theater, dance. Free outdoor summer concerts, college and high school productions, Broadway or community theater.
  48. Stroll the streets of a neighborhood or town you’ve never visited.
  49. Visit a travel site, and brainstorm and daydream and drool – then budget!
  50. Dream! Dream big and beautiful and outrageous! Write those dreams down! Create a dream board, tell your mastermind group, a trusted girlfriend, your cat! Spend those two hours each week teaching yourself to believe you can and will fill those hours will more wonderful incredible life than any top-loading, energy-saving appliance can afford you.

Don’t just take it from me, here is a guest post from single mom Danyel Clarke, who lives in Claremore, Oka., with her two-year-old and a puppy. Consider hiring out household tasks to nurture your relationship with yourself!


Listen to my Like a Mother podcast episode on this topic!


Outsourcing laundry as self-care

Danyel's story…

If you were to walk into my house, you’ll almost think I have my crap together. My son's room and bathroom are always perfect. Living room, kitchen and dining room are almost always perfect: things put away, clean, where they belong.

Then you open my bedroom door and realize that I have been putting all of my energy into the rest of the house and I actually haven’t done my laundry since September. You read that right. SEPTEMBER. I have enough clothes to make this is perfectly feasible. My son's laundry gets done, towels are always clean, sheets are washed, then I lose energy and say “screw it” by the time it’s my turn for my clothes.

I’ve been so exhausted with work, family, the “to-do” list, putting absolutely everyone and everything before myself. Nothing and everything gets done all at the same time.

I haven’t made it to church in two months, but it was my New Year's resolution to quit using exhaustion and chores as an excuse and just GO!

But ladies, today, the first Sunday of the year, I ran out of clean underwear. Completely out. Not a thong, faded or period-granny-panty one left in the drawer. Completely out.

So I freeballed it to church. Yep, I sure did!

On my way to church and during worship I was making a mental list of all the things I needed to get done today: top of the list was wash a load of underwear. Take boxes to recycling, go to the grocery store, remember that I'm supposed to bake a pecan cheesecake for that lady at work (add ingredients to that grocery list), take those glasses to my mom, I really need to steam clean that carpet, oh! Get a light bulb for the fridge, don’t forget to close the vents outside the house, trim the dog's nails as he’s really starting to leave marks on the kid, clean up the playroom…you get the picture.

Most people wouldn’t show up to church without underwear. But I’m sure glad I did, because today I was reminded of imperfection and grace.

After church I had planned to head home, make lunch for me and my little, and get started on my list.

After all, I should save the money. But instead I headed to one of my favorite places in town to eat. Just the two of us. Ordered (two) MANmosas, an appetizer, a tasty grilled chicken club, a meal for my little that I knew he wouldn’t eat, but hey! Now, he has dinner and I don’t have to cook at all today!

I had every intention of getting home right at the time he goes down for a nap so that I could nap, too.

And I don’t feel bad about it.

Like many single moms, I do it on my own. No breaks, no every-other-weekend, or any day at all that the kid goes to the other parent. I’m exhausted. And between a strong-headed 2-year-old and a puppy (hellooooo, just another toddler. What was I thinking?!?) I'm usually at my wit's end. That is definitely not to say I, or any other mom, or that I have it tougher than any other mom, I don’t mean that at all. It’s all hard. Momming is hard. Period.

For all of us, it’s important to remember that perfection isn’t required. It’s okay to splurge. Not cook. Don’t do the laundry (but yes, I did put a load in when we got home), to nap, and go to church commando!

That’s my long winded way of saying that I was “selfish” today. Blissfully, happily and wonderfully selfish. Little one finally fell asleep and now I’m going to nap as well.

Happy Sunday, mommas. Much love! 

Danyel

Services that can help you outsource

Ready to outsource? Not sure where to start? Thankfully, thanks to technology and a mindset shift towards efficiency and better quality of life for moms, women and families, there are some great options that are affordable, and easy to use. Here are a few of my favorites:

Care.com — what is it?

Care.com is a website that connects caregivers, with people who need care. So, if you need a babysitter, an elder care provider, housecleaner or pet sitter, head to Care.com now to find someone near you who has been vetted by Care.com, as well as via reviews of people who have used the service provider.

Care.com also has services to help you manage the payroll, taxes, benefits and HR logistics of hiring a nanny or other caregiver.

Care.com gets what moms need because it was founded by Sheila Lirio Marcelo, a mom herself, and winner of Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Care.com has a Better Business Bureau rating of A-

Looking to make extra work? Care.com is the place to list and promote your services.

Care.com can help you with the following professional cleaning and care services:

  • Babysitting / nanny / childcare / after-school care / tutoring / special needs
  • House cleaning / maid / housekeeper services
  • In-home elder care / senior care / adult day care
  • Pet sitting / dog walking

How does Care.com work?

To use the site, go to Care.com, and navigate to the services and timeframe you need the service. The site is very specific, and asks questions about exactly who you are looking for, including years of experience, age of child, languages spoken and other special skills, like CPR certified.

From there, Care.com provides a screen with all the care providers in your area that match your criteria. The individual’s profile specifies their availability, experience, reviews, fees, transportation options, whether they smoke, whether they are Facebook/email/phone verified, and any safety certifications or training. The is also a bio and photos.

For a fee starting at $12/month, you can run a background check through Care.com on any care provider.

Then, once you hire a professional from Care.com, you can pay them through the site safely, or, for a regular care provider like a nanny or housekeeper, run full payroll and tax services through Care.com.

How does Care.com get paid?

Care providers can pay premium rates to ensure their profiles are highlighted. Also, Care.com makes money from its payroll and background check services for those hiring caregivers. Care.com also has a service to help larger companies provider backup care and other caregiving benefits to their employees.

What is HomeAdvisor?

Just as Care.com is for all things caregiving, HomeAdvisor is the go-to site for any and all home remodel projects. Yes, you are a smart and capable woman, but unless you have endless time and a budget to repair rookie mistakes, it likely makes more sense to outsource tasks like:

  • Roofing and gutter cleaning and repair

How does HomeAdvisor work?

Go to HomeAdvisor.com, and click through the service categories to outline the job you need done. Questions will include whether the job includes a repair, replace or remodel, extent of job in mind, time-frame, whether you need financing or storage, and whether this is an emergency repair.

HomeAdvisor then generates 4 to 6 qualified services providers near you. It is up to you whether you prefer to have your bid sent out to contractors in your area, or if you want to hand-select from the list of contractors to send you a bid.

Not sure how much a home improvement or repair service will cost? HomeAdvisor’s TrueCost Guide is a highly accurate tool based on tens of thousands of actual services to help you know exactly what to expect to pay.

How does HomeAdvisor get paid?

Electricians, carpet and rug cleaning services, plumbers, handymen, repair people, lawn maintenance companies and other service providers pay HomeAdvisor a small referral fee for qualified leads.


What is TaskRabbit?

Just as HomeAdvisor helps you locate specialists for home repair, renovation, and construction projects, TaskRabbit is the go-to place for less skilled tasks like assembling Ikea and other furniture, as well as laundry, packing and moving.

Here is a list of common TaskRabbit services:

  • Handyman
  • Help Moving
  • Interior Painting
  • TV Mounting
  • Light Installation
  • Hanging Pictures & Shelves
  • Furniture Assembly
  • Yard Work
  • Furniture Delivery Services
  • Delivery Service
  • Grocery Shopping
  • IKEA Services

How to find laundry service near me?

There are any number of ways to find reliable, affordable laundry service near you. Popular options include:

  • Check with your local laundromat or drycleaner about ‘wash-and-fold service
  • Ask around about any individuals in your neighborhood who provide this service out of their home
  • If you have a regular housecleaner, ask if they will add laundry to their services
  • Find someone to take on your laundry through Care.com, a website that connects people who provide people who need services like housekeeping, nannies, elder care and dog sitters — with people who provide those services.

How does TaskRabbit work for furniture assembly, and other tasks?

  1. Go to TaskRabbit.com — or use the handy app — and select the task that you need completed. The form is easy to use, and you will be asked about the task, your location, and how soon you need the job done.
  2. You are then provided with a list of “taskers” — eligible people you can hire, complete with photos, bios, reviews, and the hourly price each charges.
  3. Select a tasker, and book their services. You can communicate directly within the app to specify location, task, and time.
  4. Once the task is complete, you can pay with credit or debit card directly through the site — no need to mess around with cash or check.

Using TaskRabbit to find moving companies

Whether to pack only, move your household or a single item, you can find thousands of moving companies on TaskRabbit — including those with a van, and multiple workers. The process works the same: Start at TaskRabbit.com, and find your mover!

Cool TaskRabbit perks:

  • Each tasker undergoes extensive background checks, and is on-boarded in person. These are not random, anonymous people coming to your home.
  • Cancel with at least 24 hours notice and reschedule for free
  • TaskRabbit insures each job for up to $1 million.
  • TaskRabbit has a 24/7 customer service team available should you have questions or problems.

Schedule your tasker today, and outsource!!

About Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.

163 Comments

  1. Rhoda on March 10, 2015 at 11:23 am

    I’m reading this with interest, as I’m thinking of buying a neighbourhood laundromat that’s been for sale forever (I’m thinking I can beat the owner down a bit on price because of that).
    This is not a wealthy neighbourhood, in fact much of the traffic at this laundry would be from university students living in basement apartments that homeowners/landlords have created from older houses. This is the typical demographic of a coin laundry customer, especially low-income single mothers.
    What sort of services would attract a wealthier demographic, apart from pickup and delivery? Hand-washing and flat drying of wool sweaters? (Don’t know about you, but I can never find enough flat surfaces to lay them all out at home.) Hand-washing silks and other delicates?
    Please give me feedback about what sort of things you’d happily outsource to a laundry even if you normally do the laundry at home!

  2. A. R. on March 15, 2015 at 7:56 am

    I love the idea of outsourcing monotonous everyday tasks. I’m chronically ill, I work from home, and I have limited energy. I’m not keen on wasting my time.

    That unclutter.com laundry schedule was repulsive.

    I seem to have a laundry routine that works for me. I do it once every 2 weeks, and have a closet system in place that allows for quick hanging, no folding.

    But DISHES. Dishes are the bane of my existence. I’m definitely researching my options for outsourcing this incessant, mind-numbing task.

  3. Dee on March 15, 2015 at 9:33 am

    My problem is not with the idea of sending laundry out. Indeed, I think this is a great solution, especially for a single parent.
    My gripe is with the title of this blog entry and the aggressive tone against anybody who may not feel as the author does on this issue. I’m thinking the author is either just bad tempered or that she somehow feels the necessity to defend her choice but harbors a bit of guilt about it for whatever reason.
    Whatever the reality is, the tone is off-putting and I wouldn’t be likely to take this person very seriously.

  4. Victor H. on March 17, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Very informative. But i can’t help but feel that this is the reason why so many people are getting more and more lazy. Disney’s Wally hit it right.

  5. J on March 30, 2015 at 11:31 am

    We just moved to a larger city because my company transferred me, and our new place has no hookups for our washer/dryer. Laundry has always been a big bone of contention in our marriage; finished laundry would sit on top of the dryer for MONTHS, with us just grabbing what we needed. It was awful.

    I stumbled onto Wash/Dry/Fold services in our new city, and did the math. I drop it off and pick it up, because the cheapest place is conveniently located right by my office. I do about 20 dollars worth at a time, twice a month.

    I don’t care that it’s 40 bucks a month; I’m thrilled I don’t have to do laundry. My husband is thrilled he doesn’t have to do it. That, to me, is worth it.

    While I agree that there’s some serious condescension in the title of the article, the author’s right. Outsourcing a chore you don’t like or want to do will make your life easier. Granted, I’m NOT using my extra free time to build a business or anything; I just don’t want to do laundry. Period. What I do with that extra time is my business, and no one else’s.

    So, if you don’t LIKE doing laundry and you can afford it, outsource it. If you enjoy it, or can’t afford it, keep on doing it. No one is right here and no one is wrong; it’s about what works best for you and your lifestyle.

  6. Bob on April 1, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Lazy cunt. Not only do I do my own laundry, I hand wash it and hang it to dry. No wonder there are so many fat fucks in the USA. Cheeses fucking Rice I have never heard so many lazy cunts in one place. It’s like someone dropped a bomb of whiny miserable fat fucking soccer moms in here.

    • Muffy on August 28, 2016 at 9:20 pm

      @Bob — Vocabulary: F minus (sic).

  7. Felix Erude on April 6, 2015 at 11:41 am

    1. Buying a car is outsourcing transportation
    2. Paying for cable is outsourcing entertainment
    3. Paying for a cellphone service is outsourcing communication
    4. Shopping at a grocery store is outsourcing production, processing and delivery of food and other products.
    5. Going to college is outsourcing education.

    The list goes on and on…

    People need to get off this high horse, claiming misguided nobility for doing things the hard way. The Industrial Revolution of the 18th Century was about moving away from antiquated, slow, inefficient and primitive means of production.

    Keep wearing the “I’m better than you because I can do hard, boring, menial tasks better than you” attitutde as a badge of honor. The world is moving forward and leaving you behind, Amish Boy!

    By the way, Third World people would laugh at your fake “hard worker” act. Dude, you use a washing machine and drier to do laundry. Third World people do it all by hand!

  8. emmawilson on April 8, 2015 at 8:40 am

    Apart from all activities laundry is always critical job. Doing own laundry is seriouly stupidity while we have options for professional laundry near our city.

  9. romuel on April 22, 2015 at 11:08 pm

    i place a smart tv near the washer and dryer so everytime i do the laundry i just stay over there and watch while waiting for the laundry and watch whole folding

  10. Bob on May 18, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    Here at Dropofflaundry.biz we only charge $1.00 per pound for drop off laundry. That is washed, dried, and folded , buy the time you buy soap, softener and or dryer sheets you cant hardly do it for $1.00
    Your time is definitely worth something.

  11. Mo on June 2, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    I’m sure this post has been living longer than you imagined. And there are quite a few folks that have some less positive way of communicating and aren’t able to envision your message. I get it prioritizing where you and how you spend your time is important. You can build a career, be with your family, make more scratch, enjoy the quiet, make a joyful noise. I don’t outsource as you do bit I recognize the value and impact in can have or your life or situation. Apparently, there are a number of people that haven’t found Zen with this concept. Their comments are entertaining but the disrespect they throw your way is alarming. Calling someone a fat lazy cunt shows that person is incapable of supporting their argument with logic or reasoning. Thanks for sharing it all.

    • Emma on June 4, 2015 at 7:58 pm

      It’s part of the territory of putting an opinion out there — it really is about creating a format for discussion — it’s about them, not me :) thanks for your support and reason.

  12. Kevin on July 28, 2015 at 3:44 am

    I completely agree with you doing your own laundry sucks every last bit of it, thanks for the post i really enjoyed reading it :)

  13. Michelle on September 7, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    I’m a SAHM, so cleaning and taking care of kids is kind of what I chose to do with my life, but when there is a job that I just don’t want to do or can’t do, outsourcing is great! My nephew used to mow our lawn, but then there was always some reason why it wasn’t getting done. Now we pay a service, and all I have to do is put out a check once every two weeks. Such a relief!

    The only place I disagree with you is in saying that you don’t need to teach kids to do chores. For whatever reason, I did very few chores growing up. Maybe my mom felt it was her job to clean the house (despite being a single, working mom), maybe it was easier to just do things herself rather than try to make us do it. I do know that there were these underlying expectations that a) I was going to be a career woman, and not spend my life on the drudgery of housework; and b) the things I did need to know were obvious and simple and didn’t need to be taught.

    Both of those assumptions were huge mistakes. Even before I quit my job to stay home with the kids, I felt lost and unprepared to take care of myself, much less a family. As I learned to do even basic tasks, I made frequent mistakes that eroded my self-esteem and made me feel like I would never figure things out:

    * More than once, I flooded our kitchen because I kept forgetting which soap was for hand-washing dishes and which soap went in the dishwasher.

    * I LITERALLY blew up a microwave because I’d been told that you could cook eggs in the microwave, and didn’t know you couldn’t boil them in the shell. And I was 9 months pregnant and standing in the kitchen when it blew up, so lucky I wasn’t injured!

    * I caught the toaster oven on fire because I didn’t know you were supposed to clean it out on a regular basis.

    * I ruined MANY of my husband’s expensive work clothes while I tried to figure out laundry. I had this idea that you had to read the label on each piece of clothing and ONLY wash things together if they had the exact same instructions. So I got overwhelmed, gave up, and just started washing everything together (setting both the washer and dryer to “normal”), even things that should have been dry cleaned.

    The worst part was how stupid I felt all the time, especially when people would tell me things were “common sense.” It’s not common sense if you have NEVER had to clean or cook for yourself! For years I refused to even make dinner for my family unless it came from the grocery store’s freezer section and had explicit instructions on the package, because I hated trying to decipher the instructions in a cookbook or wondering how I was supposed to know if the meat was cooked all the way through.

    (And BTW, I have heard many stories from other women who chose to be SAHMs when that was not the expectation their families had set for them. Even when you’re not talking about baking fancy cakes or making your own clothes, or whatever, there is a learning curve when you go from someone else taking care of everything to everything being your job.)

    So, yes, I do think you actually need to teach your kids to do basic chores. Even if you can afford to outsource your laundry, and usually do, your kids will probably have to do their own at some point and you should do them the courtesy of teaching them how.

  14. Rachel on September 13, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    I’m super late to this party but I have to laugh at some of the replies here. They don’t get the realities of city living and/or the self-employed life. Time has a different meaning when you work for yourself whether you make seven figures or a pretty modest amount. But moreover, a lot of people think you “have to” do these things even if there’s alternatives available to you. Pshaw, the beauty of adulthood is that you don’t have to do things you don’t want.

    I can’t stand doing my laundry. And I’m a busy single professional who doesn’t want to sacrifice both potential billable hours AND time I could spend relaxing or hanging out with friends. My building has two dryers and washers, the former which never work. It’s okay for doing a little load of delicates but I send all the other stuff out. For how much the laundromat around the corner costs for self-service plus buying my own detergent, I only have to spend about $3-8 more for 1-2 giant loads depending on what’s being washed and they fold it WAY better than I could and even use fabric softener (I have never bought a single bottle of the stuff in my whole life.) No pickup or delivery but it’s close and still saves me the 3-4 hours of schlepping back and forth, folding it all, ugh. They even wash my daunting queen comforters and pillows!

    Way I see it, if no one wanted to outsource this stuff, these businesses wouldn’t exist. FWIW, I’m in the Bronx, a predominantly working class neighborhood, and the dropoff area at Sam’s Suds is always sky-high with laundry bags for pickup! My neighbors clearly hate doing their laundry too and we’re definitely not rich. Time erodes the same for everyone no matter how much you make.

    • Emma on September 13, 2015 at 5:15 pm

      Thanks Rachel. Either you get it, or you feel some kind of pride in suffering for menial labor. Whatevs.

      • Alanda willis on September 29, 2015 at 9:13 pm

        Hi Emma

        My name is Alanda willis im kind of getting off topic but im 22 years old and i have kids of my own. I really need your advice on getting rich though i want them to live a better life then i ever had if i give you my number will you call me i need a mentor that can guide me in the right direction. I know you have better thing to do specially cause you dont know me but if you just find some time i will really appreciate it. Please dont judge me

  15. Mary on September 24, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    My grandma, even with having no children around–just her and Grandpa—sent their restaurant/diner (and they had a few “rooms for rent”) laundry to a service, in their small town—even their personal laundry. Everything came back sparkling clean. She passed away when I was fifteen. I never knew her to own a washer/dryer. I and my three siblings lived with them for a few months after my mother passed away. Only then did we go to a laundromat, that was less than a block away, across the alley from her house. I used a laundromat for several years when I first got married. I hated it, for the most part. But I had a great place to go, so I could get all OCD on my laundry, like I like to do. I’m one of those people who loves (or used to) doing laundry and ironing. I’M the person you would be lucky to get to do your stuff, so I would think you would want to meet me (and hire me), lol. Trouble is, I grew up doing the family laundry (my Dad’s stinky work clothes and snotty hankies). I don’t want to handle other peoples’ laundry; just my own family’s. As I get older, and we live a simple life, I find myself thinning out the clothing that we have to the bare essentials. I occasionally have granddaughter’s clothes to wash and they get just as dirty—if not dirtier—than boys (we live out in the country and there is lots to do outside). I just started a new job and I’m glad I have a “dress code” to abide by that keeps it pretty simple: khakis and nice shirts.

  16. Outsourcing your laundry chores - on September 26, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    […] was doing a bit of light laundromat reading tonight and came across an interesting article. This article about a single mom and her laundry outsourcing. I didn’t necessarily agree with all of it but […]

  17. cacama on October 9, 2015 at 1:20 am

    I should be writing a blog about how low income mothers spend their money. It would be way more fascinating and informative. I am baffled that people need to read a blog to come up with these solutions.

  18. Plo on March 24, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    This would be credible if it weren’t riddled with spelling and grammatical errors…

  19. Vanity Huffingdale on May 13, 2016 at 10:03 am

    Why would I wash clothes at all, worn clothing is for poor people! I never wear the same thing twice, and my old clothes go to charity cases.

  20. Katelyn on May 15, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    I stumbled across this article while looking for a laundry service in my area actually.

    I totally agree with you, Emma, and I think the whole point of this is lost on people. It’s simple economics. The opportunity cost of an activity is the next best alternative of your time/money/etc. If you are spending 3 hours a week doing laundry, or housework or whatever, you are giving up 3 hours you could be spending taking a class or spending time with your family or growing a business like you mentioned. Is 12 hours a month worth $100? I can make more money in that 12 hours than I would pay out, so yes.

    I think people missed the point. It’s not about entitlement, it’s about working smarter and utilizing time better rather than working harder. Your time is precious and if you could be doing something more constructive than laundry, send that shit out. Don’t be content with mediocrity. My job as a woman is not to clean up after people or to do my partners laundry. I choose to work smart, not hard.

    • Emma on May 16, 2016 at 3:57 pm

      People either get it or they don’t. Sigh. :)

  21. Rachael on July 22, 2016 at 12:14 am

    I came across this somehow… and honestly cant really picture that type of life. I work, raise kids, shop all the mom stuff which includes 5, yes 5 loads of laundry a day. I put in the washer, hang iron, daily, all with only the help of a 4 year old who has been taught to hang, and put the undergarments in drawers. While I’m not single, my spouse works out of town and even if he was here, when it comes to domestic work…10 years of marriage he has never washed a load of laundry, cooked a meal, washed dishes (two years my dishwasher was broke) Not sure I would know what to do with my nights if I wasn’t washing clothes interesting anyways to see how others live.

    • Emma on July 26, 2016 at 6:18 am

      “Not sure I would know what to do with my nights if I wasn’t washing clothes” says it all — I’d love for you to fill those hours with something meaningful – reading, taking a course, exercise, watching wonderful movies, building friendships, learning a new language, anything but laundry!

  22. Jane on July 25, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    While the article is interesting the whole thing sets off on the wrong foot by calling people stupid for doing things a different way. With a large family it would be prohibitively expensive to outsource laundry. Laundry service is not common where we live so it would involve nearly four hours of driving our big passenger van just to drop off then go back and pick up the laundry. I can account for utilities, detergent, and washer/dryer maitenence just in what it would cost me in gas and vehicle wear and tear. Even with a high end gigantic capacity machine I’m still coming out way ahead money wise washing everything myself. All total it amounts to a savings of at least $50/week (and that’s low balling if it) even when taking into account the cost of the machines. I’m able to do my 2-3 hours of active laundry time each week in short 10 minute tasks that I can accomplish while doing other things. I can talk with the kids after school while folding. I can start dinner and toss in another load of laundry while waiting for the water to boil. Time spent on laundry isn’t even noticeable. Sure, sending out laundry is an option for some but I’m certainly not stupid for doing it myself and it’s outright offensive that your suggest it.

  23. G on July 26, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    Not sure what the big deal is about doing laundry it’s not like you wash it by hand, you throw it in the washing machine, go watch TV, it buzzes, you throw in the dryer, you go watch TV, once done you take it out and you fold it up during commercial breaks. What a superficial and lazy lifestyle. Obviously you didn’t get wealthy by working hard. Did you pay someone to take your exams in college also?

    • Curls on August 15, 2016 at 11:45 pm

      Here’s a trick I love taught by my mom. Take washed clothes and put in dryer for 10 mins. Then sometime in the next few hours, hang up to dry. They’ll be dewrinkled with nearly no effort! A simple grab off the rack a day later, and quarter fold, and done. No ironing needed. Works with nearly every material.

      ——–

      If I’d outsourced everything I’d have liked to outsource, it’d have cost a tidy sum each month.

      Instead when I hit life’s hard winds (significant, disabling illness), I still managed to have enough tucked away not to go bankrupt, nor borrow from anyone, nor eat cat food (instead I switched to organic and it helped with my health issues. That was my permitted splurge.).

      I’m glad I was frugal. It’s a matter of trade off. How much effort is it costing?, how much more money does it cost?, what else would that money go to (and saving account is one important place.)? Maybe it’s about getting a machine installed in your house, teaching the kids to grab their clean clothes.

      Then decide.

      I’ve met plenty of people who work hard, are healthy, and are in much worse financial condition than me. Financial health is also important to one’s ability to relax, feel and be healthy, and avoid eating food only your cat would purr about.

  24. Rebecca on August 25, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    My daughter and I along with our linen and towels only have maybe three loads of laundry a week as long as I stay on top of it. So to me personally I would rather do my own laundry than spend $25 dollars and have some else fold up my unmentionables. I do enjoy your other ideas.

    • Mrs. Barnett on February 21, 2017 at 7:13 pm

      My thoughts exactly. I don’t want anyone folding my unmentionables nor even seeing what they look like. Does that make me retarded?

      • Mrs. Barnett on February 21, 2017 at 7:21 pm

        Oh, by the way, I hope I don’t offend anyone by the use of the word retarded. I was just trying to find a word that could also mean stupid, but actually on thinking about it I chose the wrong word. Sorry if I offended anyone.

  25. GSD 3: – The HelloSolve Blog: Life, with Solutions on September 20, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    […] things – there’s no one to delegate to.” I’d challenge you to reconsider this idea. Maybe it’s just sending out your laundry or hiring a cleaning service a few days a week. Maybe it’s finding things your spouse or kids or friends are better at than you and asking them […]

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