Thursday, April 16, 2015

How I do laundry.

I know you have been wondering....... so today I will tell you how I do laundry.  Ha ha ha.

I have learned a lot over the past 20 years on what works and what doesn't work for us as a family.  We are a family of 5, with 3 teenagers.  We have big clothes.  Oh to have the days of tiny clothes again when you can do all your kids clothes in one or two loads.  Now we average about 10 loads a week and that doesn't include sheets or towels.  Towels will often take 3 loads a week.  So if we are doing sheets and towels (we do towels every week) it is a total of 15-17 loads a week!  That is a lot of laundry.

I am a bit of the busy type of mom. I work, I teach the kids, and I do housework.  I do get help from the kids.  That is a bonus.  My son actually likes doing laundry!  I tend to save laundry and do it all in one or two days.

In the past, I would wash and dry the clothes and then dump them on the couch to fold.  The folding never got done and the kids would push the clothes off the couch so they could sit.  The clean clothes would end up on the floor.  That method didn't work for us.

I eventually moved to putting the clean clothes back in the laundry baskets straight from the dryer.  The baskets never got folded and we would just root through the baskets to find the clothes we wanted to wear.  The clothes were wrinkled and not very attractive.  This method didn't work for us.

Then I would fold the clothes straight from the dryer and put the folded clothes back in the baskets to take up to the bedrooms to put away.  Inevitably the clothes never got put away.  They just stayed in the baskets and we rooted through the basket to find the clothes we wanted to wear, wrinkling all the others in the process. {sigh} This method didn't work for us.

Finally, I figured I would fold the laundry right out of the dryer and by this time the kids were old enough to put their own clothes away (5-8 years old in my house).  I would sort the clothes in piles of whose items it was along with sorting for the type of clothing it was.  All the pants went together, all the shirts together, all the underwear together, etc.  I would stack the piles in order of their drawers too.  Then the kids would get their piles (the 5 year old would get two types of items at a time) and take them up to put them away.  I would hang any hanging items and take them up myself. (we don't hang much of the kids items).  Finally a method that works!

This method allows us to have folded clothes that are put away.  If we don't get to the "put away" part, the pile sits neatly folded on top of the dryer.  All our socks go in a "sock bin" and I sort and match the socks while doing laundry but the singles go in the bin until a match can be found.  With socks I try to make it as easy as possible.  Most all socks are white and all the girls including me share socks.  All the boys also share socks.  Since we are all in "adult" sized shoes we all use the same sized socks.  There are a few fashion socks for the girls but not many.

Currently, we are living in a rental.  It is a "townhouse" style home and the laundry is in the basement.  We collect dirty clothes in laundry baskets in the bathrooms and in the bedrooms.  On laundry day we gather all the baskets and take them down to the laundry room to wash.  We have only one washer and one dryer.  Laundry never gets completely done.  When we were living in our own home with a large laundry room we had one washer and two dryers.  This was ideal on laundry day.  I could plow through the laundry quickly.  It takes twice as long to dry as it does to wash so the two dryers were so helpful!  I long for a second dryer now.  When the baskets are emptied they go back to the bedrooms and bathrooms empty. We have a hanging rack down in the laundry room too where we hang the hang up items immediately after drying to eliminate as much ironing as possible.

I would love to hang my laundry outside to air dry and get that fresh smells but we have allergies in the family and particularly during the spring and fall this would "kill" some of the members of our family if pollens and other allergens got into our clothes. So we don't hang outside.

When we traveled I loved using the laundromat when the clothes piled up.  While it was expensive, I could get 10 loads of laundry done in just a few hours!   So efficient having so many washers and dryers at once!  We did have a small washer/dryer unit in our travel trailer but it only took small loads and took 2 1/2 hours to wash and dry small loads.  It was great for underwear and socks and light weight items but not for jeans and towels.

I don't love laundry.  I save mine up for a marathon day or two.  I had a friend who did laundry every day of the week for her family.  She had three children as I do and she assigned each child a day.  On their assigned day she did their laundry and sheets.  At the end of 5 days she have everyone's laundry done and on Saturdays she did the towels and extras.  This method worked for her.  When she pulled the laundry out of the dryer she folded it and it went back in the baskets and back up to that person's room.  Done.  I can't get into that method because I don't want to be doing laundry everyday.  But this worked for her.

Everyone has a different method of tackling the neverending piles.  Each person will find their own way that works for them.  When tackling your piles look at what you have been doing and identify what works and what doesn't.  Then change the parts that don't work for you.  Keep the parts that do.

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