Friday, February 27, 2009

17 year olds in Ice Age underwear

This is the 3rd post in the Never-Ending Story of how I conquered the laundry monster. I mentioned earlier that getting control of this beast was truly the hardest part of having 11 children. Even if you don't have a mega-family, tuck this information away to wow your friends and neighbors. They might even start calling you Heloise.

The last 2-3 posts explain the system and the regularity (nothing worse than irregular laundry...Even Maalox won't help that.) This post will be about how to sort all those look-alike socks, undies, polos, jeans, etc. - so that everyone has the correct clothes in their tubs and drawers.

Turns out my Super Secret Sharpie Laundry Tip is not quite as Super Secret as I thought, since according to the comments it sounds like Elizabeth also uses it. It does make sense that we both do this, since we are both doing laundry for (what seems like) 57 boys.

I think my guys would kill me if they knew I was printing this, but some (as in, almost all) times we pass down their underwear. Which is why there is Ice Age underwear in the picture above even though the Ice Age (movie) ended long ago.

Enough with the suspense -Let's get straight to it, shall we?

The Sharpie is used for these:

Can you see the four dots? (again...I'll blame the blurring on my Inferior, Needs-To-Be updated so I can be a decent blogger and family historian) Camera. The four dots mean that these underwear belong to Alex. So, when I sort clean clothes.....I don't have to remember who owns Fruit of the Loom, and who now wears boxers, and who is still into Spiderman.

The dots tell it all.

And the best part is that when we pass down clothes, like the polo above, we just add another dot to show the garment has changed hands....or butts, as the case may be.

The oldest son has one dot, when he outgrows it, we add a dot and it becomes the next boys, when he outgrows it, it now has 3 dots, etc., etc. (Although occasionally, since all the previous owners have been boys...the garment has an early demise before it ever sees 5 dots.)

Actually, since our youngest is Daniel, when/if it gets to him - We usually just put a D on the tag. When he outgrows them, they go to Goodwill for some truly unfortunate boy (who probably refuses to wear Ice Age underwear.)

The only down-side to this system is the overzealous Sharpie-er, as seen below. It appears that there are 8 dots on this pair. That would be Some Amazing Underwear that could last through 8 boys, so I'm naturally suspicious (plus....we only have 7 sons!)

I must also warn you that there is a conspiracy afloat to thwart my Super Secret Sharpie tip. Have you noticed tags on clothing are becoming extinct? As you can see on this sweat jacket, "where there's a will, there's a way."

I am Woman. Hear me Roar. I will NOT go back to being a victim of the Laundry Leviathan. My Sharpie and I will prevail. (I have heard of women who sew a different piece of thread onto their children's clothes.....but I prefer a one-step solution.)

I was ashamed to show any of the boy's socks - but Sharpies work fine on them, too. The older boys prefer I put their dots on the bottom of the toe area, but the younger ones could not care less if anyone notices marker on their socks. In fact, they'd probably think it was cool. They'd probably take complete credit for the whole idea.

Even if you don't have a slew of boys or girls that need help distinguishing their clothes apart, the dots also help in identifying lost clothing. My kids go to a school where everyone has identical clothing, similar socks, same color jackets, etc. When we're in the carpool line and someone holds up a jacket to ask it it's one of ours.....I just say..."How many dots does it have?"

Last week, I missed the Nester's 10 Minutes To A Room You'll Love Finale. Click on that link to see all her quick ways to spruce up a room, then follow the series to the Finale post. In the comment section of that post you can read about how 120+ women spruced a room up quickly.

But you can read and see mine on Monday. Cause I believe in being fashionably late. Even to a Finale.


Moriah @ Please Pass the Salt said...

You did not just put photos of your sons' underwear on the internet.


I think you now get the title for most brave blogger, handed over by yours truly.

Jason and Gretchen said...

Thanks for the tips, I have five little ones and got your blog site info from Moriah (Please Pass the Salt). I've enjoyed reading your tips.

Jules said...

I wish I'd thought of this when I still had five sons at home. Now with only three I can tell their underwear apart but when Son#3 comes home for vacation and brings his laundry I'm going to start going dotty. Thanks for the tip!

busymomof10 said...

Great minds think alike! (or maybe slightly insane, overwhelmed, pre-menopausal minds think alike!) I started using the dot system on socks and underwear back in 1998 -- about the time Luke was born and Brite came to help us out -- and quickly branched out to dotting all of my boys clothes! Hey, I bet you got this great idea from ME! I bet Brite went home and told you about it and you thought you came up with it all by yourself!!! LOL!!! Anyway, with 6 boys close together, it has truly been a life saver for me!!!! But, I could never have blogged about it quite so eloquently!!! Loved your post! :)

~CC Catherine said...

Dear "Cheaper by the baker's dozen blog owner"... ;) I came across you by ~blogaccident (wink) when reading the comments on Kimba's subject of whether we are blogging too much., or how to keep it within healthy parameters. I was particularly struck by your comments., (How totally true) and my friend Claudie, "Bubblin Over" & I just talked about how we have to create some healthy boundries on this "Blogworld". So, I do think your comments were totally in line. are a smart lady! This post is ingenious., and I love your sense of humor. ;) ~CC Catherine from "Catherine de th`e Cups"

Laura said...

I like the dot idea. Since I only have two boys nearly the same size, I just buy them different brands of underwear. That has helped me out a lot.

allhisblessings said...

Great idea! I only have two daughters, ages 7 and 3. The 3 year old is on the tall side and the 7 year old is on the smaller side....wanna know how I deal with socks and underwear? They share! LOL!!!

jodi said...

i grew up with a mother who did this, and have done it since i had 2 or more kids. that and color coding the bathroom (though it's harder for me to find 7 different colors of towels/toothbrushes/cups than it was for her to find 3). she should've written a book long ago with all her common sense.

you know my girls read your blog too, right? i should've reminded you before you posted these pics...

busymomof10 said...

I wanted to invite you to the Titus 2 Blog Party that is going on this week. It is hosted by Michelle at

It is a great way to meet a lot of new like-minded ladies and explore their blogs!

There will be new posts each day and daily giveaways for all who participate. Check out my posts from yesterday:

Hope to see you there!

Come Join us!

Kelley said...

Great system! If we happen to ever have more than one child I'll totally keep it in mind!

Jenny said...

Great idea. I did something similar for my husband's socks.

It seemed like all of his socks had grass stains on them from cutting the grass, so I put a green X on the bottom of the socks that he could wear to cut grass. That way, he wouldn't ruin his new ones.

Pretty Organizer said...

I think we have teenage Mutant ninja turtle undies... Follow this pass down... From my BROTHER who is 16 to my 12 year old son, to my 10 year old to my 2 nephews to my now 6year old son... as one might expect... the rears a little on the thin side. Definitely the summer "cool" underwear. It was finally retired. I should have buried them somewhere to become fossilized.

We do the sharpie thing too. Who wants to go inspecting and guessing undie sizes. The dots though are genius!

Great post:)

kari and kijsa said...

Love the dot system!! Great tips!!

kari & kijsa

Anonymous said...

Love it! Your musings on laundry and underwear and ordinary stuff like that thoroughly amuse me. You are inspiring!

Christi Wildman said...

I'm so sorry to let you know this, but Debbie, you shared this years ago on the WS loop...and I snagged it up, even though I ONLY had 5 children!

You are one BRAVE blogger, that's for sure!

Kahlua Keeping Koala said...

Oh Oh Jenny, I mark all DH's old white t's with a great big X so he knows they are not "white" enough. Dang USMC training!

Kristin said...

I am laughing laughing laughing. This is more hilarious than helpful, and that's saying a whole lot cause it's pretty darn helpful! I'm interested to know you allow underwear to be shared because that's the one place this thrifty mom draws the line! Clearly thou art thriftier than I.

PS It's 2011 and my 2 year old is obsessed with Ice Age, so where can I get some of them dandies?!