At one point in my life, laundry was one of my favorite things to do…seriously. (Photograph courtesy of

Once upon a time I was a compulsive neat-freak and organizer. I would clean the boys’ rooms, my own room, have the laundry cleaned, dried and folded, toilets cleaned, and trash cans disinfected daily. I was a cleaning tornado. (I am sure my husband wonders what has happened since then!)  I am not saying anything is wrong with that, but without over exaggeration, I drove myself insane worrying about placing “Mr.T’s” clothing on the blue hangars, “The Hulk’s” clothing on the green ones, and “Axl M’s” on the red ones, not to mention my own clothing being sorted on different colored hangars for particular reason (short sleeved t-shirts, long sleeves, dresses, blouses—you get the idea). Yes, it was that bad—it got even worse.

At one point when my husband was deployed things got REALLY bad.  Besides the clothing identification system that my mother so lovingly coined the term “the dot system” and the hangar mania, I even went as far as bagging COMPLETE OUTFITS right down to undies and socks into gallon freezer bags. I had this crazy idea that my two year old would pull out ONE bag and dress himself…ha! The only time one bag was removed from the drawers for any of the boys, was when I was the person dressing them. One would have thought I would have put a screeching halt to this useless attempt of ‘’teaching my children independence” after walking into each of their rooms and seeing all my hard work strewn from wall-to wall and freezer bags being used to hold a variety of things ranging from Super Heroes and Rescue Heroes , water from the bathroom sink, and even one of their favorite stuffed animals and leaking Sippy cup—together!  But NOOOO!

I needed an intervention and I needed it before the boys learned this weird laundry sorting, hanging, outfit putting together ritual…or even worse, what if they decided this routine was too hard and they decided to live with me forever?FOREVER! Yes, that simply had to be fixed pronto…or at least, that is what the few people I trusted enough to come into my house said. I just imagined I was like Bree Van De Kamp from Desperate Housewives….she HAD  to be an OCD closet laundry freak like myself. So, I used the hangars (and by then the boys knew whose color was whose) and I used the dot system (two of the boys wore the same size of clothing forever..and apparently it’s against an unwritten boy code if they wear each other’s undies (but they can walk in each other using the potty, have ‘light saber wars,’ and smack each other on the rear with a ‘good game?), but I got rid of the freezer bag idea. We did, however, recycle the salvageable bags and used them for something that I am sure did not hold food items (I am a bit batty-but not THAT batty!).

As the boys grew older; their clothes grew bigger, their individual styles came out, and clothing became more easily identifiable.  Sadly, the famous “dot system” has been retired from this household, but I’ve told a few younger moms about it with kids that are about the same size in clothing. I will NEVER tell anyone to use the hangar or the freezer bags ever..and I mean ever–that is just opening up an invitation to hours of intensive therapy on an uncomfortable pleather couch secretly  attempting to convince yourself that just because you lay your head on the pillow on the sofa you aren’t going to catch head lice while trying to listen to the questions of the therapist and develop coherent sentences that aren’t going to make you sound even more out of control than you already feel.

In the end, I just figured out that as long as the boys were wearing clothes that were clean-it didn’t matter if it matched or not. And I soon found out that the boys would not wear clothing that were two sizes too small—well, they wouldn’t until this past year until “Axl M’’ and his brother-from-another-mother found the footed sleepers—but that’s a whole different story….