Happy Homemaker Tip #2

First, before I officially start this post, I have to tell you that if you came by for a visit yesterday and found that the link at the end of yesterday’s post didn’t take you to the place you were thinking, it has been fixed now and you will be taken to the right place. Or the wrong place. Depends on how you think about it. Long story short, it’s been fixed. Click away. I dare you.

Today’s Happy Homemaker Tip is not something I personally came up with, but it has saved us lots of time and arguments around this house.

The boys, though once were in sizes far enough away from each other to distinguish whose clothing was whose during the “folding clean clothes process”, have quickly become nearly twinsies. Although I was very good for a long time at remembering who the funky orange t-shirt Grandma brought home from Guatemala belonged to or who was the owner of the carpenter-style Gap jeans, I am less so these days. Jim is chronically laundry-confused (Just sayin’, though I must add that I am ever-so-lucky that my husband does just as much laundry as I.) when it comes to “shipping it off” to their rooms for them to put away.

And then I read a tip that I put into action immediately and our laundry frustration improved immediately.

Are you ready for the secret?

No, it’s not an Ancient Chinese Secret.

(But I couldn’t resist posting that)

We put a dot (with a Sharpie pen) on all of the younger boy’s clothing tags. That’s it. Older boy? No dots. Younger boy? Dot.

If you have more than two kids partaking in hand-me-downs (or if you just want to keep it all straight), the oldest kid would, again, get no dots. Kid #2, one dot. Kid #3, two dots. And so on. Each time you hand a clothing item down one kid, you add a dot. So easy, and it keeps a person from pulling out all their hair over something as ridiculous as laundry!

You’re welcome.



  • terri

    Great tip… except have you noticed that the newer shirts are absent of any tags? Tagless is the new craze. But I think it’s still a workable solution… my husband and sons can’t keep my daughter’s and my clothing straight. (Personally I think it’s obvious that I wouldn’t wear much of what she wears, but it’s merely the similarity in sizes that throws them off.)

  • Michelle

    Melisa, you’re brilliant! Granted, I have a boy and a girl, but I can never remember which pjs have been handed down yet and which ones haven’t. I’m so going for that one 🙂

  • nonnasnonsense

    great idea. i don’t need it as it’s just hubby and i but, still, a great idea 🙂

    now if you could just figure out how i can keep straight which sock goes with it’s mate i’d be forever grateful. i have to match up hubby’s socks and he is surprisingly particular about which ones go together. they are ALL grey sweatsocks. one might have a slightly, barely identifiable, different knit or just be older than another one. drives me batty. any suggestions?

  • WeaselMomma

    That’s brilliant! Now wonder I never thought of it.
    Oh, and how sad is it that I actually remember that commercial, and fondly too.

  • NukeDad

    This is an awesome idea! Now, NukeBoy2 will never get teased again for walking out of the house in NukeGirls hotpants! Whoo Hoo!

    Just kiddin’. I am going to try this; the boys are starting to get closer is size and I hate being called out for putting the wrong clothes in the wrong stack.

  • Sarah

    That’s an awesome tip.

    We’ve got an easy way to tell laundry apart in our home; my son doesn’t wear pink, flowers or frills. 😉

    I lucked out in that department, for sure.

  • Mags

    My ex-boyfriends mom used to do something similar to gym socks. He and his sister both played lots of sports and wore the same kind of socks. So she marked all of Sean’s and kept Kelli’s dot free. Worked pretty well.

  • Tom

    Genius! So far we’ve been able to distinguish the small boy clothes from the teenage girl clothes. I hope that distinction never changes.

  • Anonymous

    Ha Ha… ancient Chinese Secret! Good point … errr… dot. Well done. Now I just have to start producing some kids…
    -Weather Kim in DC and on TV

  • The Microblogologist

    My family could use this one, sometimes we have trouble telling my niece’s clothes from her mother’s (not kidding, 5 v 24 year old, sad). My mom used a different method with us, she stopped doing our laundry so we had to learn how to do our own! She is pretty lazy and procrastinates (I take after her) and so I often ran out of the clothes I liked so in like 3rd or 4th grade I’m guessing I asked how to work the machines and have been doing my own ever since =).