Sunday, October 16, 2011


Some of you may know that the GEMS have been participating in a “clothing challenge.” It is continuing through October 24, but I am declaring a loss for my family. We have quit. I have a gagillion excuses, but that’s all they are – excuses. But, even though all I have are excuses, I’m gonna list them anyway.

1. I failed at this challenge because of the laundry. Wearing only 15 items per person means that I have to do laundry more often and I simply don’t do laundry that often. In addition, I have a laundry system in which I do laundry several times a week, but I do each person’s separately. I wrote a whole post on this a long time ago, but I can’t find it to link to it at the moment. Anyway, each person has their own laundry hamper and when it’s full, I do their laundry. You see, this way, there’s no sorting involved, except for taking out the whites and doing those in a separate load. When that person’s laundry is clean & dry, they get it back in a heap and it’s up to them to fold it and put it away, with the exception of Elise & Becca. I do fold theirs into piles and they put it away. Anyhoo, with this clothing challenge, I was having to do laundry in a way that is very much inconvenient for life right now – either throwing everyone’s all together, or do very small loads of each person.

2. I failed at this challenge because of the weather. When I picked out my 15 items, it was warm. Now it is cold. I tried to justify adding layers underneath to keep myself warm by saying, “Well, it’s the clothes that people can see that count”, but it was still cheating. I also swapped out some of the warm weather clothes for cool weather clothes, but that too was cheating. I tried to excuse my behavior by saying, “The girls in Zambia don’t have to deal with these weather issues”, but it was still cheating.

3. I failed at this challenge because I was sick of the mess. Four of us in the house were participating in the challenge. We each took 15 items out of our drawers and closets and had them lying around in our bedrooms. It drove me crazy. That means 60 pieces of clothing, at a minimum, were not put away. I couldn’t stand it anymore.

4. I failed at this challenge because I’m a western girl who likes clothes. Brutal and painful as that is, it’s true.

The bright side of failing is that I still learned a lot. The girls learned a lot. We learned that we are abundantly blessed and have much more than we need. We learned that our GEMS sisters in Zambia don’t have the choices and options that we do every day and we felt a little bit of what their life might be like in having less clothing and more laundry.

I’m just thankful that our challenge didn’t include doing laundry down by the river like our GEMS sisters do in Zambia!


Tamara said...

but you were successful because you ATTEMPTED to take the challenge. i suggest you try it again in a few years when the girls are older and can do their own laundry (i bet sarah could do her own already). i'm proud of you for trying. i thought about it but didn't go for it.

Ed / Julie said...

Thanks for the encouragement! Also,Sarah has done her own laundry, but generally only in the summer when she has more time...maybe once XC season is over...before basketball starts. ;)

DeJongs said...

I'm with Tamara.I'm proud of you for trying. That's more than I would attempt. I only have to wash for 4 people and I only do laundry once a week on fridays.