Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Getting a Handle on the Ever Loving Laundry

If you are still in the process of raising children, be aware that the piles and piles of laundry will disappear all too soon and that you will, to your surprise, miss them profoundly. – Thomas S. Monson
Umm... nope. I will NOT MISS THEM. (The piles I mean. The kids? Sure. The piles?... NOPE.)

It seems that with each new family member you add, the number of dirty clothes grows exponentially. It's truly amazing how much laundry a family of five can produce in just a matter of days. I think back wistfully to the days when I had a "laundry day"... it came around every other week or so, I'd gather up the sheets and a couple of towels, and my clothes and start a load or two. No biggie.

Sigh.



Suffice to say, those days are long gone. For a while there we enjoyed the 'weekend laundry' schedule... Back when we just had one kid. (Isn't it amazing how much work one kid seems at the time, and then you have a couple more and realize how easy it really was??) Working outside the home during the week means a lot less time at home for running loads of laundry, which leaves the weekend -- but who wants to spend their entire weekend sorting, cleaning, folding...?

BUT... I will tell you, I think I have finally figured out a few secrets to getting it all done without too much fuss. As you know, I'm all about keeping things simple these days.

Without further ado: my tips for keeping on top of the laundry for a family of five with both parents working full time...
  1. Organize the laundry room. This might be a weekend project - get rid of anything that doesn't belong, have a place for baskets, space to fold, soap and stain-fighters within easy reach and well stocked. Also a spot to hang clothes, a spot to dry delicates, and something to collect contents of pockets.
  2. Each person gets their own laundry basket, all the same size and shape.
  3. Do 2-3 loads, twice/week: mid-week, and weekend. (Some say to do a load every day - wash in the morning, dry & put away at night. I find this harder to keep up, personally!)
  4. Mid-week: Gather laundry during the bedtime chaos, get it started when kids go to bed. Next morning: load 1 goes in the dryer, load 2 is started. End of day: Fluff Load 1, then Load 2 in dryer. Everything is folded and put in baskets after supper.
  5. Things needing to be hung are hung up right out of dryer. No ironing!
  6. Don't bother folding underwear. Also: 
  7. Sheets go straight back onto beds when done... no need to fold.
  8. Every family member over age 3 carries their own basket upstairs and puts their own laundry away.
  9. Weekend: same as mid-week but an additional load for sheets/towels/etc. Mom puts these away.
  10. Gather hangers at the same time you gather empty baskets to take back to laundry room, so there are always spares ready for the next load.
For a while I was keeping a mesh bag on hampers for socks and underwear, and they would go straight into the washing machine as-is, but I was spending time sorting through hampers to find things that were missed etc. so I nixed this. It could work in a household full of adults / big kids, and would help eliminate lost socks.

Also - I rarely buy things that can't go in the dryer, and we don't iron. Pants etc are wash-and-wear, wrinkle-free and hung up straight out of the dryer.

So far this is working for us... It took me a while to realize we HAD to do laundry twice a week in order to keep on top of it all...

The next step will be to get rid of half our clothing, so there's less to clean, and easier to put away!