Who's job to empty pockets?

Please help settle a debate: Who’s job is it to go through and empty pockets - the laundry-doer or the clothes-wearer?

The clothes wearer. Unless you’re a small child, you’re responsible for making sure your things that aren’t meant to be washed don’t end up in the washer.


It’s primarily the clothes-wearer’s duty, simply because the stuff is (presumably) theirs. However the laundry-doer, out of self-interest and a desire to protect the laundry facilities, is behooved to do a double-check for any oversights.

And if the laundry-doer is me, I keep whatever I want out of what I find. Scored myself $52.73 and a nifty marble doing laundry one day! Wheee!

Clothes wearer. Though the laundry doer ends up having to deal with ensuing soggy bits of kleenex or other bits of flotsam when they get missed prior to turning the washing machine on.


Then again, at present, I live alone and am responsible for doing my own laundry, so the laundry-doer and the clothes-wearer is the same person.

But as a general principle, I think the clothes-wearer should be responsible for the contents of his/her pockets, but the laundry-doer needs to be aware of whether that person is likely to do so consistently, and check pockets accordingly.

The clothes-wearer. Failure to empty pockets may result in ruined items for the clothes-wearer, so it is in his or her best interests to check first. More importantly, failure to empty pockets may result in the ruination of other peoples’ clothing (lipstick, anyone?) which, if the laundry-doer was my mom, resulted in the wrath of the laundry-doer landing on the clothes-wearer like a ton of bricks.

The rule in the house I grew up in was that anything left in pockets was forfeited to the laundry-doer. Candy would be eaten; notes would be read; money would be spent. After your mom waves around the first 10 dollars she’s not giving back to you, you start checking your pockets before tossing your jeans in the wash.

ETA: Apparently, I grew up in WhyNot’s house. :slight_smile:

In our house it depends on who is doing the laundry. If he is doing the laundry, he will chastise me if I leave anything in my pockets. If I am doing the laundry, he will chastise me if I fail to notice things he left in his pockets.

It seems that I am destined to never win in this particular issue.

Another vote for the clothes wearer.

We all do our own laundry so clothes wearer.

The only exception I made is when my kids were little but I stopped doing their laundry when they hit teenagers.

A few years ago my husband left his passport in his pocket and the maid put it through the wash, ruining it. He was furious, and chewed out the poor maid. I immediately apologized to her for his behavior; yes, she should check the pockets, so she made a mistake, but it wasn’t her fault he left his passport in his pants when he dumped them in the laundry basket.

While people get what they deserve if they leave stuff in their pockets and it gets laundered, I guess if you are paying someone to do your wash for you, as we always do (no, I’m not a rich bitch, it is just that I always live in developing countries where having a maid is standard), it is fair to expect them to check the pockets, because they are professionals. Dry cleaning services check pockets, don’t they?

But, whether the launderer is paid or free, I’d never yell at them for anything that went through the washing machine to ill effect. The clothes wearer is ultimately responsible.

wearer, with the acknowledgment of self-preservation on the doer’s part…

unless… the doer is in the habit of picking things up from non-standard locations. That is, anything that goes into the hamper should be cleaned by the wearer, but if the doer picks up from the doer’s ‘in use’ pile, then the doer should shoulder the responsibility. This assumes some level of parity between doer’s and wearer’s ‘in use’ pile habits.

Both. Redundancy in the system prevents accidents.

the clothes wearer, although I will freely admit I’m guilty of forgetting this on occasion, my wallet HAS ended up in the wash in the past.

In theory, the clothes-wearer should be taking care of this, presuming they’re a reasonably competent adult.

In reality, the launderer gets stuck with it, IME. Unless said launderer doesn’t mind having their own clothes ruined, paying for destroyed electronics, etc.

However, in my book, the launderer gets to keep anything they want that’s left in pockets. The only exceptions I make are wallet & cellphone. I keep all floating cash, goodies, trinkets, etc.

I do laundry for myself and one SO with whom I share clothes, because I’d rather do it all than have my clothes ruined. Plus communal laundry (kitchen, bath, etc.).

I also keep any and all items left in the washer or dryer from loads run by the other SO, who does separate laundry because we don’t share clothes and I’m not willing to do it all. Generally because the items and clothes are still in whichever machine was used last, since said clothes are never actually finished and put up. If you can’t be bothered to check your pockets, and can’t be bothered to get your laundry out (much less check the machine for lost items), then you must not want them very much.

Yes, I’m somewhat pissy about the whole thing, why do you ask? :stuck_out_tongue:

Yep. And, incidentally, that’s the major plot point of the musical Caroline, Or Change. The new stepmother tries to teach her stepson to check his pockets before putting his clothes in the hamper, and tells the maid Caroline that she can have anything she finds in Noah’s pockets. Although I mainly found the play annoying, it had interesting things to say about economic warfare.

So literature tells us that it’s the clothes-wearer’s responsibility…

It SHOULD be the clothes-wearer. I am the clothes-washer, however, and have learned by now to do a sweep before hand. I’ve given up the battle long ago (he’s not a dick, just extremely absent-minded). Otherwise I get exploded pens in my laundry.

And anyways, I score awesome change, which I add to the change hoard.

Husband washes his own damned clothes, so it all falls upon his head. The only thing I keep in my pocket is my mobile phone, which goes on my bedside table as my alarm clock, so I’m not going to be washing anything of any importance at any time.

My case, clothes wearer = the laundry doer, so both. But in any case, the wearer.

It is the job of whoever puts clothes into the washer. I don’t empty my pockets until it’s time to wash the clothes, so I don’t trust that others are likely to remember to as they put things in hampers, either.

The wearer empties; the doer rechecks and claims as his own anything left.