Laundry Project

The shopping list included:

  • Round bucket
  • New plunger
  • Tide
  • Egg timer (analog preferred)
  • Drain box

His preparations included:

  • Cleaning out and tossing his old toys that he doesn’t play with.
  • Emptying one Lego bucket (5-gallon paint bucket).
  • Moving the train set.
  • Creating two control panels (using bottle caps and painters’ tape and cardboard).

The end result:

A laundry area so he can wash his own clothes by hand. Ish.

washing_machinesMy younger son has had a fascination with washing machines for many years.  His preferences change, but the interest lingers. He cycles through hyper-involved study of them and then just basic knowledge, but this interest is a part of who he is. (He’s amazed the folks at Home Depot with his comprehension of the basics.)

After studying washing machines (again) on YouTube and investigating hand washing methods, MSG came up with his plan. He had Christmas money standing by and decided that he would use some of that to finance his project.

Sensible fellow.

Armed with his list of what he wanted, he and I shopped for hours. Literally. In and out of cars, in and out of stores. Waiting in lines. Being disappointed when he didn’t find what he was looking for…

He was wonderful. Patient and thorough and even flexible.

Autism is characterized not by a look or a behavioral style, but by a host of different wiring issues in the brain.  Sometimes, these issues can make my son lose it in public. Just waiting in a line has been known to make him throw himself on the floor and kick and flail and scream.  So taking him out solo to go shopping tends to fill me with a bit of trepidation.

Yet, yesterday, it was a delight. He was focused, determined to finish what we started, and was eager to put his new hand washing apparatus to use yesterday. He didn’t complain when he had to tote water up the stairs. He didn’t complain about the difficulty of establishing a drain in place that had none (hence the water toting). He was, instead, thrilled that he had accomplished what he had set out to do.

dirty-socksHe is currently content to use the dryer to dry things. He is accepting my advice that he should keep his hand washing to items like socks and underwear and t-shirts, leaving the heavy stuff (jeans and sweats and sweaters) to the machine.  I’m amazed.

Might seem odd, this kind of contentment, but it’s wonderful to me.

And you know? Having your pre-teen son willing to hand wash his own socks, for however brief a time, is not a bad thing. 😉


  1. Warren C. Bennett · January 27, 2013

    I tried hand washing stuff here. It did not turn out so well… I’m content to just make the money needed to use the coin laundry machines two doors down, heh.

    • Sandi · January 28, 2013

      Hey, that works too. 🙂 I’ve had to hand wash and it’s a lot of work. I didn’t resort to a laundromat, but I did consider it on occasion.

      • Warren C. Bennett · January 28, 2013

        Part of the issue is the sink is so small, I couldn’t fit much in to it. And I don’t have a bathtub…. Ah well. I get my laundry done via a couple of ways. The aforementioned washing machines or at my friend’s house. I usually take a load over when I go over there.

  2. Jack Flacco · January 28, 2013

    I’ve had my kids begin washing their clothes from an early age. I think my second wanted to start washing his clothes when he turned six. Crazy, really. But he’s always been independent. I’ll never forget him pulling his clothes from his room, dragging them downstairs, separating the lights from darks and filling the machine with the lights first. Of course, we’d help him with the detergent and the dials. But, being who he is, he learned the settings on the second or third go.

    • Sandi · January 28, 2013

      That’s extremely cool. I am all for kids learning basic life skills early on. 🙂

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