Seventeen years ago, my daughter, Emily (born with Down Syndrome), had to have open heart surgery when she was six months old. I also had a four-year-old and three step children I was caring for. Needless to say, I felt overwhelmed and felt my life was out of control. I called a friend and she said to me, “Sara, how is your laundry?” I replied it was a mess. Dirty clothes were everywhere. She said, “Focus on your laundry. There are 5 steps: sort, wash, dry, fold, put away.” By the end of the day I had my laundry completely caught up. My life hadn’t changed. I still had a child needing open heart surgery, a four-year-old, and three step children. However, I felt more in control and able to handle things.
Fast forward to the development of Money & ME. As I was teaching a Money & ME program one day, I remembered the wise words to get control over your laundry. I began to think that if Money & ME can help people take control of their laundry, they could take control of their money, and ultimately their lives. I was super excited to add this to the curriculum. As I spoke with my focus group at the time, they reminded me how challenging it is for low-income people to do laundry. All I had to do was sort it and take it to my laundry room to put it into the washer. People who don’t have a washer and dryer have to coordinate a time to take it to the laundromat. If they don’t have transportation, quarters, or if they have young children, it is even more of a challenge. It was an “aha moment” for me to see how challenging it could be to get caught up with laundry when a washer and dryer are not easily accessible.
I added taking control of laundry to the curriculum for participants and outline the five steps. I also added tips like having enough socks and underwear for each person for a least a week so they could plan on going to the laundromat once a week. The curriculum also discusses hand washing and air drying as an alternative to have clean clothes. I also added the challenges that low-income people face to the Online Train the Trainer. I want trainers to be sensitive to the multiple barriers that can make it challenging to stay in control of your laundry. My theory is that people who are in control of their laundry are more in control of their lives. I have talked about this with many women, and it appears to be like a barometer as tor feeling in control. Women feel much more capable (and less emotional) if their laundry is done. This feeling can transfer into helping with a budget. If a person can gain control of their laundry, they can also gain control over their money.
How is your laundry…Is it time to go sort? Money & ME can help you get started! Check out our program today.