Monday, January 19, 2009

Taming the laundry monster

I've been reinventing the way I do laundry lately. Trying to keep up with laundry for a family of five has been hard work. When I start thinking of the fact that we are about to add another little one to the family AND start using cloth diapers...well, let's just say it isn't pretty. My other chores were falling behind. Laundry would pile up and not get put away (isn't that really the hardest part anyway??). I knew I had to figure something out. So, when I read Blissful Home today, I was excited. This is exactly what I would have said if I had written it first. The tips are so good (and easy!) that I just have to share.

1. Do a load a day to keep the laundry monster at bay. If you have more than two people living in your house I would suggest doing a load of laundry every day. Pick a certain time and stick to it. For example: Wake up, do morning routine and throw in a load to wash. Feed kids, clean up and put clothes in dryer. Take 5-10 minutes after your lunch/dinner routine and fold clothes. (This was my biggest change. I now do one load a day and it is wonderful! It keeps me from getting overwhelmed and everything gets folded, hung and put away all in the same day. )

2. Fluff the dry clothes. When you are ready to fold laundry turn the dryer back on for 2 or 3 minutes to give the clothes a fluff and most of the wrinkles will be gone. I don’t run to the dryer the second it goes off, so this option works for me. (I usually try to get to the dryer pretty soon after it goes off, so I won't have to waste energy. But, if you can't for some reason, this is a great option.)

3. Hang em’ up as soon as they come out. Again we’re trying to lessen the wrinkles. 99% of my clothes are wrinkle free using these tips, however hubby’s dress shirts always have to be ironed. (I slack on this part. But, I have a friend who keeps her unused hangers in her laundry room and as soon as clothes come out she hangs them up. Smart!)

4. Only buy what you need. Don’t buy 30 pairs of socks or underwear for each family member when there are only seven days in a week. Remember, we’re washing a load a day now, your not going to run out. (So true. Since my children are so close in age they all share the same socks. I just buy plain white socks and keep them in a little bin inside their closet. This has worked much better than trying to figure out whose socks are whose.)

5. Reuse your towels. A towel is good for a few uses when you hang it out to dry after your shower. Number #4 can apply here as well. (Our children have 1 towel each that they use every time. John and I really need to get better in this area, though!)

6. Get the kids to help. Teach your children to be responsible for their things by having them put their clothes away. Don’t wait until they are ready to head off to college. Their roommate will not pick up after them. (Boy, oh boy, will this save you a lot of time! My children know that when it comes to be laundry time they need to fall in! My 22 month old already knows to put his laundry in his closet. He's also in charge of putting clean socks away after I put them together. Lilly knows which drawers all of Mommy and Daddy's clothing goes in and puts it away and Luke helps put the children's clothes away. Teach them now and you will be rewarded!)

7. Put the laundry away. It has to be done. Sorry there is no way around this one, but doesn’t it feel sooo good when all the laundry is done and it is all put away! ( my goal.)

So there are the tips that I think are, really, pretty easy. So far, my system has been saving me a lot of time. And I really enjoy not having these HUGE laundry days to deal with. Right now, it's 9:30 and I already have a load in the dryer and another one in the washer. I should be done by lunch time! Plus, ya know, everyone likes to have clean clothes. Hope your Monday's are off to a good start. Mine sure is! Be Blessed!

Running the race,



Marie said...

I think I figured out why it's so hard for me to get used to doing a load of laundry everyday (or every few days..we don't have quite enough to do some everyday). It's because when we lived in Manhattan I'd have to go to the laundromat once a week or every other week. The once a week habit is still ingrained in my brain.

Amanda said...

Yah. Me too. That's how I grew up. I started doing my own laundry when I was 12 years old and did it once a week-on the weekends. So, I realized that as my family grew my laundry days had to too. I tried doing it twice a week but even then it was too much. I like my new system much better!

Anonymous said...

This was great, Amanda! And yes...putting away the laundry is by far the hardest part.