Monday, January 24, 2011
This is the sign hanging about my laundry door. Isn't it the truth? Girls, who knew when we said, "I do" that laundry was going to consume our lives?? As I've mentioned in previous posts, I feel like I have "conquered" laundry. This has not always been the case. As I thought back over my old habits and what things changed to bring me to my present state of laundry bliss, I felt inspired to share with you.
Tip #1: Make a set laundry schedule. In the past, I did laundry "whenever". Well, sometimes "whenever" might be 2 weeks since the last "whenever". And we all know that 2 weeks is way too long to go without doing laundry, especially if you have children. In my house, I put in my first load on Friday night and continue first thing on Saturday morning and through the day. I usually have about 2 loads left on Sunday. So my scheduled time is the weekend. I can't go through the weekend and NOT do the laundry. It can't be an option. With that said, if we have a crazy weekend, maybe being out of town, then I would need to do a load (or 2) each day of the week. In this case I can't wait until the next weekend to do the laundry. But even putting in a load as you walk out the door can keep the laundry progressing. In the past, I used to do a load a day since I average about 7 loads a week. But it has worked out where I can get it all done on the weekend and have the other 4 or 5 days laundry-free.
Tip #2: Fold AND put away each load as soon as it comes out of the dryer. This will help avoid Mt. Laundry piled high on the couch. It only takes about 10 minutes to fold AND put away each load. Don't just fold it! PUT IT AWAY! This also helps with unnecessary wrinkled clothes, therefore saving you time ironing.
Tip #3: If you have children 7 or older they should be folding and putting away their own laundry. Of course, this is only my opinion. But in my house, I started my children putting their clothes away at about 5. I still fold Holly's laundry. But her 7th birthday is in May!! Yippee! I have been telling her since she was 6 that by 7 she would be folding and putting her laundry away all.by.herself. So she is mentally prepared for this. Now, brace yourself for this: all the clothes in their drawers are not perfectly folded, but the pajamas are in the pajama drawer and the socks in the sock drawer, etc. And that's fine with me. In my opinion, I am doing a disservice to them if I don't train them to contribute to our household. I am teaching them responsibility and hopefully raising them to contribute to their future households as adults. Also, I am a working mom. I cannot do it all. I need them to contribute. I always run their laundry first so they can get it folded and put away first thing Saturday morning and be done with it. And honestly, it only takes them about 30 minutes. So I'm not violating any child labor laws.
Tip #4: Keep empty hangers in a separate section of the closet. As you take a piece of clothing off the hanger, pull it from the closet or put it in a designated place. This saves me time by not having to dig through the closet to find empty hangers to hang up laundry. I also have my all of my clothes color coded which makes hanging things up easier because everything has a specific place.
Tip #5: Make sure everyone has a 5-7 day supply of socks, underwear, uniforms, etc. This is important if you're on a weekend schedule like I am. I generally don't do regular laundry during the week. So if I have to wash a favorite shirt or if there's not enough p.e. uniforms for the week, it's more time (that I don't have) spent.It throws off my schedule and results in clothes sitting in the dryer and/or small, incomplete loads. So if someone needs their favorite jeans washed on Wednesday...too bad, so sad. "You have to wait until Saturday. You have to choose another option."
Tip #6: Separate your loads. This is obvious with whites and darks. But it's more efficient when it comes to folding and putting away for me to separate loads. Here's how mine are separated:
whites (mine & Brian's)
darks (mine & Brian's)
Brian's work clothes
Normally I don't have issues with not having a full load, but on occasion, I can just combine the loads if one of the loads is a little too small.
Tip #7: Get caught up. If you have 47 loads of laundry backed up none of these above tips will help you. You have to get caught up first. If it means locking yourself in the laundry room for 3 days, only coming out for food and water then you must do it!
It really comes down to establishing new habits and purposing to not let the laundry pile up.ever.again. Wishing you lots of laundry love!!