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    The Laundry Tax

    April 10, 2010 by Brandy Vencel

    There was a day when I was baffled by the title of the Rocks in my Dryer blog. Why in the world would she do that to her dryer? I asked myself. And then it began to happen. You see, I have a little girl who is inclined to collect rocks…and put them in her pocket. I suppose the phrase rocks in my dryer should have been obvious, but it wasn’t until recently that it all clicked for me.

    Of course, it clicked when certain garments came out with holes because there were so many rocks in my dryer.

    In addition to rocks, I began to find small rubber balls, paper clips, and money.

    Lots of money.

    Pennies, dimes, nickels, and even dollar bills from time to time.

    I could be rich, I thought to myself.

    And then I scolded, oh, how I scolded. I told them all emphatically that they simply must clean out their pockets before putting anything in their hampers.

    And then I pleaded, oh, how I pleaded. I begged them to clean those pockets.

    Nothing changed. If anything, it got worse.

    One day, instead of having a conniption fit {something I was seriously considering}, I decided to institute The Laundry Tax.

    The way The Laundry Tax works is this: if you clean your pockets, you get to keep your stuff, and if you don’t, Mommy keeps your stuff.

    The Tax didn’t have much effect in the beginning because no one seemed to realize what it was they were losing.

    On a particularly frustrating day of laundry, I discovered not one, not two, but three dollar bills in the laundry. I went to put it in my stash when I decided I’d use the opportunity to drive home the lesson. I lined up three children and counted out one, two, and three dollar bills. I told them they had been left in pockets, along with an odd assortment of toys and trash, which I also showed them. {One child whimpered to have her trash back!} And then I told them we were all getting in the car because today was the day they all treated Mommy to Starbucks.

    How would they do this? They wanted to know.

    Simple. I was going to spend their dollars right then and there. And they were coming along for the ride.

    Oh, the cries of anguish which ensued! They were horrified.

    I, on the other hand, could feel my victory approaching.

    We drove. We spent. I drank. They watched.

    We returned home, and laundry continued that week. But something strange happened. There were no more rocks, paper, scissors, money, trash, etcetera at all.

    Clean pockets daily.

    A couple weeks later, I gave a twenty dollar bill back to my oldest. Even I am not that heartless.

    Now, if I could just get them to turn their socks right-side-out.

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    10 Comments

  • Reply Jennifer December 23, 2015 at 10:27 am

    BRILLIANT!!!! What a great lesson for them!

    I am going to start this TODAY.

  • Reply Rachel R. April 15, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    LOL I love it!

    I don’t turn my children’s clothes right side out. (Well, the younger one I do, because she’s still too little to do this without great difficulty.) The clothes are folded and given back however I get them. If I get them inside out, they go back to the children folded – and inside out. Socks, too.

    Fortunately, we haven’t had too much “stuff” come through the laundry yet. They collect it – but apparently they rarely think to stick it in their pockets.

  • Reply Brandy Afterthoughts April 11, 2010 at 4:39 am

    KM, Sounds like you have a good system so far!

    Rahime, Knowing my children, they will hope others leave their pockets brimming, just so they can take the treasures for themselves! 😉

  • Reply Rahime April 11, 2010 at 3:55 am

    Love it. 😉 I wish it would work with husbands.

    We always had this rule when I was growing up. I remember several times doing the laundry and getting $5-10 out of it.

  • Reply Kansas Mom April 11, 2010 at 3:46 am

    We started an allowance for First Son when he turned six. He gets one dollar a week. (He also receives a second dollar to put in the church envelope, but we don’t really count that as part of his allowance.) It’s turned out pretty well for us, I think, because now if he says he wants something, we suggest he buy it with his own money. And sometimes he does.

    I’m not sure how it’ll work as he gets older and the allowance gets bigger. We haven’t decided if we’re going to “force” savings and tithing. Or how much he’ll get. Or how it might be tied to work he does around the house or garden. I think those questions are a few years down the road, still, though.

  • Reply Brandy Afterthoughts April 11, 2010 at 3:36 am

    KM, We do not give allowances. To be honest, we are undecided on the whole issue, but I still believe we have a few years before that is very important. Funny, though, after writing this I thought that it sure sounded like my children had a lot of money! You know, we have a lot of out-of-state family and when they send cards they tend to send a dollar bill for each child.

    My oldest does odd jobs for his grandparents and great gran, and once a year he usually has a soda stand at my garage sale. That 20 dollar bill was from working a very tedious odd job. 🙂

    Mystie, Encourage them to ask for money for their birthdays. Maybe that will help. 😉

    BadgerMum, I only go to Starbucks when someone else is paying (like a giftcard), so this is really working out nicely for me. HA! 🙂

  • Reply The BadgerMum April 11, 2010 at 3:04 am

    LOL! Oh, that’s wonderful. I’ve always let the laundry person keep whatever they want of what they find in the laundry, but I sure wish I’d thought of the Starbucks thing way back when.

    Well done!

  • Reply Mystie April 11, 2010 at 2:27 am

    Crumb, all I ever get are pennies and nickels — and lots of Legos.

  • Reply Kansas Mom April 11, 2010 at 2:17 am

    The only one who leaves anything in pockets here is Kansas Dad, and that not very often. I always turn the pockets inside out, though, so they can get clean. As an added bonus, I find anything that might be inside. This is particularly important because any of those items you mentioned would require taking our front loader apart to empty the drain pipe. Kansas Dad has done this twice and it is not fun.

    I can’t remember. Do you give allowances? Have you posted about that? I’d be very interested to hear how your family handles it.

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